News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


PRESS RELEASE 09/05/2014
Subject :

City of Palo Alto Wins Statewide Award for Efforts to Address Climate Change
Contact : Karalee Browne, Institute for Local Government    (916) 658-8208
Palo Alto — In front of a crowd of hundreds of local elected leaders from throughout California, Mayor Nancy Shepherd accepted the prestigious Beacon Award at this year's League of Cities Annual Conference for Palo Alto’s efforts and leadership in addressing Climate Change. 

Palo Alto is only the second city to ever achieve the Beacon Award, which recognizes cities and counties that implement and document voluntary sustainability policies and programs that result in measurable greenhouse gas reductions and energy savings. The Institute for Local Government, in partnership with the Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative, honored Palo Alto with a silver-level award for the following achievements: 

  • 9 percent electricity savings in agency buildings;
  • 35 percent natural gas savings;
  • 20 percent community greenhouse gas reductions;
  • 53 percent agency greenhouse gas reductions; and
  • 60 Sustainability best practice activities.
By implementing conservation measures in the city operations, Palo Alto strives to create a community where sustainability is a way of life. The City of Palo Alto Utilities department relies on cleaner energy. In fact, since 2013, the utility has delivered 100 percent carbon neutral electricity to its customers. Across city services, greenhouse gas reduction is a priority. The city’s zero waste programs and changes at the city’s Regional Water Quality Control Plant are revolutionary. 

"City of Palo Alto is a national leader in sustainability," said League of California Cities Executive Director Chris McKenzie who presented the award. “The city has found creative ways to engage residents and improve the efficiency of city services by making climate change strategies a top priority. Palo Alto’s achievements set the bar for other communities in California and throughout the entire country.” 

"Palo Alto's long standing commitment to the environment, as well as its focus on innovation come together within our sustainability initiatives," said City Manager James Keene. "As a city, we have accomplished a lot over the past decade, and as we continue to push the envelope, we will reach new milestones over the next 10 years that we never thought possible.” 

About the Institute for Local Government
The Institute for Local Government is the nonprofit research and education affiliate of the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties.  The Institute’s mission is to promote good government at the local level with practical, impartial and easy-to-use resources for California communities. Visit for more information.

About the Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative & the Beacon Program
The Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative (SEEC) is an alliance to help cities and counties reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save energy. SEEC is a collaboration between three statewide nonprofit organizations, including the Institute for Local Government and California’s four Investor Owned Utilities. Visit for more information.

The Beacon Award program was created by the Institute for Local Government in 2009. It is funded by California utility ratepayers and administered by Southern California Gas Company, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, Pacific Gas and Electric Company and Southern California Edison, under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.  Visit for more information.