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San Mateo Climate Action Planning

County-wide emission reductions of 6.1% from 2005 to 2013

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Benjamin Butterworth Benjamin Butterworth
Consultant, Sustainable Buildings and Communities
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San Mateo Climate Action Planning

Customer
City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County, California

Challenge
From 2006 - 2008, the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County (C/CAG) and the County collaborated with cities to develop Climate Action Plans (CAPs). The project was eventually named the Regionally Integrated Climate Action Planning Suite (RICAPS). The overall concept is that cities and the County focus their efforts on measures tied to sectors of emissions for which they have control.

The reduction measures in each city’s CAP can help community members save money on utility and fuel bills, contribute to the local economy, promote a healthy and active lifestyle, and conserve and protect natural resources, among other advantages. The County emissions reduction goal is 15% below 2005 levels by 2020. RICAPS participants are regularly awarded for their achievements in energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions.

Services
Since 2010, DNV GL has served as the prime contractor to assist C/CAG in engaging the 21 jurisdictions in the County on community-wide energy and climate planning. The purpose of this project was to develop a set of tools that would assist cities within the County develop CAPs. Another goal for the project was to facilitate all the cities using common methodologies and to increase collaboration on shared emission reduction strategies county-wide.

DNV GL developed and maintains several user-friendly tools that include a template of an example CAP, a Menu of CAP Measures, and a detailed Manual of Calculations that supplies standard methodologies for calculating costs, benefits, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions for each CAP measure. Additionally, a user guide provides guidance to cities on how to effectively navigate all three tools. This Manual of Calculations provides a scoring system to enable cities to prioritize emission reduction measures. Together, these tools are known as the Regionally Integrated Climate Action Planning Suite (RICAPS). Our consultants conduct monthly meetings with staff from participating cities and other stakeholders. DNV GL has assisted in developing six new CAPs and led development of a regional transportation CAP.

Benefits
The benefits of the RICAPS program include the use of the same set of tools to create a higher level of regional consistency, where the CAPs are institutionalized and tracked over time. Cities learn from each other as they move through the process of developing a CAP, leading to increased collaboration and sharing of resources. RICAPS is flexible: the suite is helpful to cities whether they’re starting at square one or they already have a CAP. The project has already reported an overall decrease in county-wide emissions of 6.1% from 2005 to 2013.