Measures in the energy sector require the installation of energy-efficient water heater technologies in new and existing residences and the development of an incentive program to replace water heaters with more efficient models, and incentivize the installation of solar photovoltaic panels on residences in the unincorporated area. The County also generates renewable energy on-site through solar and renewable electricity installations on County property through power purchase agreements. Measures in this sector will help the County achieve reductions of 125,140 metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent in 2020 and 553,449 metric tons in 2030.


Strategy E-1: Increase Building Energy Efficiency

Strategy E-2: Increase Renewable Electricity Use


Electricity and natural gas used in buildings contribute 33% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the unincorporated county. The County works to incentivize solar photovoltaic systems and efficient water heater installations in existing homes, and incorporates new technologies and practices that increase energy savings, lower utility costs, and improve air quality in County buildings. The County also strives to increase the generation and use of renewable energy on-site at facilities and across the unincorporated county to reduce emissions from fossil fuel-generated electricity.

Looking to the future, the County plans to achieve 90% renewable electricity for the unincorporated area by 2030 through a renewable energy program, which could include community choice or a joint partnership effort with other jurisdictions. 


  • Recognized as the first local government in California and second in the nation to receive U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Communities Platinum certification
  • Over 20 LEED-certified County buildings, including parks and library facilities
  • Zero net energy design of Alpine Library and the Borrego Springs Library
  • USGBC San Diego awards including Sustainable Public Organization Award, LEED BD+C Honor Award and Zero Net Energy Honor Award for Alpine Library
  • County of San Diego SolSmart Gold-level designation for stellar solar permitting services
  • Processed 5,871 online residential solar permits, enough energy to power approximately 38,510 homes 
  • Achieved a 20% reduction in energy use intensity at County facilities in 2018