Climate Action Plan - Measure E-1.4

Reduce Energy Use Intensity
at County Facilities

The County is reducing the amount of electricity and natural gas used to power County facilities per square foot by improving energy efficiency within the design and operations of County facilities.
  • 2020 Target: 10% reduction in energy use intensity
  • 2030 Target: 20% reduction in energy use intensity

Facility Energy Use Intensity

Footnote: Data for 2015-2017 were extrapolated from 2014 baseline and 2018 actual data.

How are we doing?

In 2022, the County reduced its total facility energy use intensity—the electricity and natural gas needed to operate a building per square foot— 46% below 2014 levels. The County carries out energy efficiency retrofit projects, analyzes data through a Building Automation System to maximize equipment efficiencies, and continuously evaluates and employs new technologies to reduce energy consumption. Automation sensors in buildings monitor the performance of lighting, heating, humidity, and ventilation systems to make remote adjustments. 
Building automation systems have been installed at 75 County facilities. As a result, County facilities were more energy efficient overall in 2022 than in 2014, consuming less electricity even as the County’s buildings and facilities footprint increased over that time period by over 1,500,000 square feet!
The County has received certification in ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’ (LEED) for 29 County facilities through 2022, equating to 1,720,015 square feet of built resource efficiency. LEED-certified buildings use sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices in their design, construction, and operation to reduce energy consumption and operating costs, improve health, and reduce carbon emissions.

How is this measured?

Energy use intensity at County facilities is calculated by dividing the total electricity and natural gas usage, measured in megawatt hours and therms on utility bills, by the total square footage of County facilities. This measurement helps to gauge how efficient the County’s energy use is. Lowering the County’s energy use intensity since 2014 indicates that County-owned and leased facilities operate more energy efficiently now than ever before.

Why is this important?

By consuming less energy, County buildings avoid greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel extraction and use in electricity generation. Additionally, if the building is powered by renewable energy such as solar panels or wind, it produces little to no emissions. As the region grows, the County of San Diego continues to expand facilities to provide health and human services, community spaces, parks, and operations while doing so energy efficiently and cost effectively.

Where are we going?

The County aims to reduce energy use intensity at County facilities 10% below 2014 levels by 2020 and 20% below 2014 levels by 2030. The Department of General Services (DGS) assesses operational efficiencies of buildings and manages the planning, design, construction, and inspection of County Buildings. DGS will continue to update its strategy to reduce energy and water consumption in County operations. The Board of Supervisors also passed a policy to ensure that all newly constructed facilities meet at least the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standard to contribute to enterprise-wide energy efficiency and sustainability efforts while providing award-winning community service.
New Alpine Library Boasts Zero-Net Energy
Borrego Springs Celebrates New Library, Park and Sheriff's Office