An example of an electric car via Wikimedia Commons.
An example of an electric car via Wikimedia Commons.

An electric car-sharing pilot program for disadvantaged neighborhoods and a significant move to reduce the carbon footprint of the city’s larger, older buildings became a reality Thursday for Los Angeles after Mayor Eric Garcetti signed into law two measures recently passed by the City Council.

The Existing Building Energy and Water Efficiency ordinance requires buildings 20,000 square feet or larger to report energy and water usage to the Department of Building and Safety each year. Every five years, these buildings – – along with ones 15,000 square feet or larger — will be required to take action to reduce their consumption.

“Reducing L.A.’s carbon footprint means looking at all angles, and buildings are the single greatest source of greenhouse gases in Los Angeles — which is why I set targets in my Sustainable City pLAn to reduce energy use in existing buildings by 14 percent by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030,” Garcetti said. “Today, we have accelerated the progress toward these goals by helping property owners cut consumption and costs. I thank Councilmembers Huizar and Blumenfield for leading on the issue and showing that cities can be a powerful force against climate change.”

A preliminary analysis by the California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA and the nonprofit City Energy project shows that half of the city’s electricity demand comes from just 4 percent of its buildings and that a strategy to help reduce energy consumption for these major users could provide proportionately high returns for the city’s conservation and sustainability goals.

“Throughout my career energy conservation has been a top priority and I am proud to have helped bring the City Energy Project to Los Angeles,” Blumenfield said. “By working collaboratively with our city’s largest consumers of resources we are creating a force multiplier that will reduce overall energy and water use while saving businesses and taxpayer money.”

Garcetti also approved a contract with BlueCalifornia to operate an electric car-sharing program in some disadvantaged neighborhoods in Westlake, Pico-Union, and neighborhoods north of USC, as well as portions of downtown, Hollywood and Koreatown. The company plans to put 100 electric cars and 200 charging stations on the city’s streets by the spring.

“Every community in Los Angeles deserves cleaner air, and the opportunity to make a difference in the fight against climate change,” Garcetti said.. “That is why we are so proud that we can now launch the nation’s first pilot program for electric vehicle sharing in disadvantaged communities. That is real progress.”

–City News Service 

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