Pacific Gas and Electric challenging communities to power down

June 22, 2015 | By Barbara Vergetis Lundin

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) knows that some of the best ways to impact greenhouse gas emissions is by reducing energy use and highlighting energy efficiency. That is why the utility launched Step Up and Power Down — an energy savings movement that will empower businesses to encourage smart energy choices by individuals — which is being joined by some big city mayor.

A collaborative initiative between PG&E and cities, Step Up and Power Down is inspiring local companies to adopt behavioral changes in the workplace. Energy-efficiency programs and simple behavioral changes can be some of the most cost-effective measures to reduce energy waste and drive greenhouse gas emissions down.

“Cutting back energy use and emphasizing energy efficiency across our communities are some of the most impactful ways we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, meet California’s ambitious climate goals and create a healthier future for generations to come,” said Laurie Giammona, senior vice president and chief customer officer for PG&E. “We ask that business leaders of all sizes pledge their support and set an example for other cities and communities nationwide.”

Sign up for our FREE newsletter for more news like this sent to your inbox!San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo have joined PG&E’s new energy-saving pledge to encourage energy efficiency in their cities — and will get the chance to earn up to $2 million in funds for local businesses to reinvest in sustainability programs.

Over the course of the 18-month initiative, Step Up and Power Down is projected to help San Francisco achieve 20 million kilowatt hours (kWh) in energy savings and San Jose to earn 25 million kWh in energy savings — the equivalent of powering two downtown city blocks for a full year. If the energy savings goals are achieved, each city will receive a community award of $1 million donated by PG&E shareholders to reinvest in city-approved efforts focused on increasing sustainability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“As a city deeply rooted in innovation and home to some of the largest technology leaders in the world, we have a responsibility to ensure a sustainable future,” said Mayor Liccardo. “By pledging to Step Up and Power Down, we are taking another move toward achieving part of our Green Vision goals to cut our per capita energy use in half by 2022.”

Targeted at businesses and organizations within designated downtown sections of San Francisco and San Jose, the Step Up and Power Down initiative will work with offices, hotels, retail stores and food service organizations, among other sectors. As commercial buildings across the United States consume roughly 20 percent of the nation’s energy, the Natural Resources Defense Council will serve as an advisor in the smarter use of such energy.

Each business participating in the initiative will be supported by a targeted education and outreach program intended to drive energy savings through learning sustainable behaviors and increasing participation in PG&E’s portfolio of energy-efficiency offerings and inspire employees to adopt simple no-cost changes that add up to bigger energy savings.

Project Link: