Sustainability Actions and Accomplishments Archives


  • City of Palo Alto Utilities launched PaloAltoGreen Gas, a gas offset program that pairs Green-e® Climate certified carbon offsets with customers’ natural gas use. PaloAltoGreen Gas is the first Green-e Climate certified gas offset program offered by a municipal-level utility, and the first-ever Green-e Climate certified gas offset program offered to residential customers by a municipal utility.
  • City and community GHG emissions declined an estimated 36% below 1990 levels. 
  • City natural gas emissions dropped 37% since 2014.
  • Per capita water consumption dropped nearly 33% since 2005.
  • Achieved a Renewable Portfolio Standard of 26%.
  • Reduced the potable water use in parks and open space areas by 35% (based on 2013 base year).
  • Established a “default to green” policy for City procurement.
  • Established an “EV first” policy for City fleet.




  • Palo Alto became the first city in America to have a 100 percent carbon-neutral electricity supply with the adoption of the Carbon Neutral Electricity Plan.
  • City and Community combined GHG emissions declined an estimated 29% below 2005 levels.
  • Community GHG emissions declined an estimated 41% below 1990 levels.
  • Total water consumption declined 9% from 2007 to 2013.


  • The City reduced municipal GHG emissions an estimated 53% below 2005 levels, far exceeding City Council’s goal to reduce these emissions by 20% by 2012.
  • City and Community combined GHG emissions declined an estimated 22% below 2005 levels, exceeding the Council goal of 15% reduction below 2005 levels by 2020.
  • Community GHG emissions declined an estimated 28% below 1990 levels.
  • The Department of Energy and EPA awarded the City of Palo Alto the Green Power Leadership Club for demonstrating exemplary environmental stewardship.



  • The City reduced municipal emissions 12% below the 2005 baseline.
  • City Council set a target of reducing municipal emissions by 20% below the 2005 baseline by 2012.
  • City Council approved an updated Ten-Year Electric Energy Efficiency Plan for 2011-2020, with new annual energy efficiency goals that were more than double those approved in the 2007 plan.
  • Palo Alto’s Green Purchasing Program received the Green California Summit and Exposition Award for Leadership in Green Purchasing.


  • Electric supply from renewable resources reached 19%, up from 17% in 2008.
  • City Council approved an electric efficiency financing program for small businesses.
  • The City started a commercial compostable collection program. 
  • The City launched an employee bike share program.


  • City Council approved an Environmentally Preferred Purchasing Policy (Adopted as part of the 2007 Climate Action Plan) 


  • Palo Alto adopted the Climate Protection Plan - one of the first municipal climate action plans in the U.S. – which set a short-term goal of reducing municipal GHGs 5% from 2005 levels by 2009 and a long-term goal of reducing City and Community GHGs 15% from 2005 levels by 2020.
  • City Council approved a Ten-Year Energy Efficiency (EE) Plan in April 2007


  • City Council approved a Zero Waste Policy.


  • The City launched the PaloAltoGreen program, which became the nation's top-ranked voluntary renewable energy program until it was suspended in 2013.