Posted on April 6, 2017

VIDEO: PG&E and California Cities Surpass Energy-Saving Goals for Step Up and Power Down Initiative


By Ari Vanrenen

PG&E today (April 6) announced that the five cities participating in Step Up and Power Down surpassed their goals for the community initiative encouraging businesses and residents to save energy.

In San Francisco and San Jose, a combined 1,275 businesses participated in the energy-saving initiative. (Photos by James Green.)

The Step Up and Power Down initiative was built on the premise that small actions, like turning off and unplugging electronic devices, can add up to a big impact for California’s sustainable future.

For the 18-month initiative, PG&E partnered with the cities of San Francisco and San Jose to collaborate with businesses to inspire employees to adopt energy-saving actions in the workplace. Likewise, PG&E partnered with the cities of Redwood City, San Carlos and Woodland to help residents lower their home energy usage through simple strategies, tips and tools.

“Step Up and Power Down was one more way PG&E collaborates with our local communities in Northern and Central California to support sustainability and energy efficiency at home and work,” said Vincent Davis, senior director of energy efficiency at PG&E.

“By making simple changes in their everyday behaviors, residents and employees can reduce energy waste in an impactful way to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, meet California’s ambitious climate goals and create a healthier future for generations to come,” he added.

Encouraging employees to save energy at work

Commercial buildings across the United States consume roughly 20 percent of the nation’s energy. Partnering with San Francisco and San Jose, PG&E helped businesses reduce this figure locally by raising awareness around energy waste, encouraging behavioral change among employees, and taking bigger steps to save energy through building efficiencies. Participating businesses included offices, hotels, retail stores and food service companies in designated downtown areas.

The power of Step Up and Power Down is in the combined efforts of a community, organizers said.

Completed on December 31, San Francisco and San Jose surpassed their participation and energy-saving goals.

In San Francisco, employees at 827 companies participated in the initiative. The downtown area achieved energy savings of 23.5 gigawatt-hours, which is equivalent to the electricity to power more than 2,400 homes for one year.

San Jose employees at 448 companies participated in the initiative. The downtown area achieved energy savings of 27.6 gigawatt-hours, which is equivalent to the electricity to power more than 2,800 homes for one year.

“Step Up and Power Down’s significance lies in this belief in a community response,” said Debbie Raphael, director of the Department of Environment (SF Environment) for the City of San Francisco. “When all of our businesses are working together towards this common purpose, we can make big changes happen. San Francisco has very bold greenhouse-gas reduction goals and we understood that in order to achieve those goals, we’re going to need to harness the power of energy efficiency.”

Kerrie Romanow, director of environmental services for the City of San Jose, said the results were fantastic, with more than 400 businesses participating, reducing 25 gigawatt hours.

“But in addition to the results, we have much stronger relationships, and in order to create big results, we have to work together,” she said.

Making small actions to save energy at home

Through local events and door-to-door campaigns, Step Up and Power Down connected residents in Redwood City, San Carlos and Woodland to PG&E’s energy-saving programs such as Home Energy Checkup. Throughout the initiative, the cities and PG&E hosted workshops and attended local events to demonstrate both simple and deep ways to save energy at home.

Completed last Oct. 31, all three cities surpassed their initiative goals:

  • Redwood City: More than 750 households pledged to save energy at home by participating in Step Up and Power.
  • San Carlos: 760 households participated in the initiative, surpassing the initiative’s goal by nearly 200 households.
  • Woodland: More than 1,600 households participated in the initiative, surpassing the initiative’s goal by more than 1,200 households.

To learn more about the community initiative, visit stepupandpowerdown.com/

Email Currents at Currents@pge.com

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