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Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Founding Partners of Los Angeles Better Buildings Challenge sign commitments to reduce energy use in their buildings. | Photo courtesy of the City of Los Angeles.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Founding Partners of Los Angeles Better Buildings Challenge sign commitments to reduce energy use in their buildings. | Photo courtesy of the City of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles -- a city known as the “Entertainment Capital of the World” -- now has its spotlight on energy efficiency. Last week, the City of Los Angeles held a press event to wrap up the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant (EECBG) program and launch its commitment to the Department’s Better Buildings Challenge.

The City of Los Angeles creatively leveraged EECBG funds to reduce energy consumption in public buildings, multi-family affordable housing, and commercial buildings. The city also used part of the funds to tackle regional climate change.

In partnership with the Department and the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability (LARC), the Los Angeles EECBG program funded a UCLA supercomputer climate model that helps the city and the regional stakeholders plan for future temperature changes, diminishing water resources, and increased fire risk. The model is unique in that it provides detailed, community scale data and is comprehensive, involving 10 quintillion calculations. All of the data was processed during a nine-month period to produce information so detailed that the city can now review the impact of emissions at the scale of a 2 kilometer-wide neighborhood. The first report, which focused on temperature, was released in June and shows that by 2050 there will be 91 days each year with temperatures exceeding 95 degrees in Bakersfield and 119 days exceeding 95 degrees in Palm Springs. The valley areas of Los Angeles will see its annual number of extreme heat days increase four-fold.

In addition to tracking emissions through the supercomputer climate model, the City of Los Angeles took major steps with the Energy Department to reduce emissions and improve energy efficiency. As one of the first cities to join the Department's Better Buildings Challenge as a Community Partner, Los Angeles is striving for at least 20 percent overall savings from 30 million combined square feet of projects. The city will work with and recognize private sector property owners who make energy reduction commitments of at least 20 percent by 2020.

Last Monday, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce hosted the Los Angeles Energy Leadership Summit to kick off the L.A. Better Buildings Program and showcase innovative ways to maximize energy efficiency in existing buildings. In addition to the city’s commitment, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power joined the Challenge as a Utility Partner, pledging to provide customers with streamlined access to consumption data and to offer multi-measure energy efficiency programs to its commercial customers. The L.A. Better Buildings Challenge program represents a true public-private partnership between the Chamber of Commerce, the city, utilities, and the real estate community that will drive market transformation.

With the Department of Energy’s EECBG funds supporting projects that address our energy and climate change issues and with the Department’s Better Buildings Challenge program forging collaborative partnerships committed to saving energy, the City of Los Angeles is looking more like the “Energy Efficient Capital of the World.”

For more on the Energy Department's Better Buildings Challenge, click here.

Learn more about the UCLA supercomputer climate model and how to take action via http://c-change.la/, the website developed specifically to inform the L.A. regional community about climate change.