Credit: Jack Sann | Mustang News

San Luis Obispo has been ranked No. 1 in small clean energy leaders by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).  

The city earned the top spot earning points for the Clean Energy Choice Program for New Buildings and for joining Central Coast Community Energy (3CE). 

San Luis Obispo competed in the clean energy challenge for this award alongside small cities in California and beyond. San Luis Obispo earned this ranking by leading the way environmentally by beginning to reduce energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, adopting green building standards and working to decarbonize the electric grid, according to the city website. 

Now all new buildings in San Luis Obispo are encouraged to go clean, efficient, cost effective and all-electric, according to the city website.

Councilmember Jan Marx was a main facilitator of the Clean Energy Choice Program for New Buildings. Jan Marx was on the council in 2010 to spearhead the climate action plan, and worked on implementing the plan while mayor from 2010-2016. Marx initiated implementing a Community Choice Organization, which allows certain jurisdictions to choose the sources of their energy, and the city finished the plan, according to San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon.

“It is really satisfying to see something that is so important to fighting climate change implemented,” Marx said.

Marx said that the government works slowly to achieve success and that it feels even better when something real is achieved.

“It’s a real treat for me to be able to help the effort and see the city receive this award,” Marx said.

The City Climate Coalition has been “central to bringing a lot of that forward,” according to Harmon.  

Councilmember Andy Pease worked on building decarbonization, as well as City Attorney Christine Dietrick, who did a lot of work “behind the scenes” due to legal complexities, especially with building decarbonization, according to Harmon. Building decarbonization is buildings using little to no carbon, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions website

“I’m really proud of the city and the board for the forward thinking work we’ve been doing,” Pease said. 

City Manager Derek Johnson was also necessary to this accomplishment for the city, according to Harmon. 

“I feel incredibly grateful to have a city manager that cares about this issue and that has an academic background in environmental science,” Harmon said. 

Harmon said how thankful she is to the city’s workers and organizations in a Jan. 19 San Luis Obispo City Council meeting. 

“We have a lot to be proud of,” Harmon said. “So thank you to everyone that made those accolades come to life, as you know that topic is near and dear to me so it’s exciting to see that happen.”

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