Building Decarbonization

Nancy recognizes that in order to effectively counteract the consequences of climate change, Sunnyvale must be ambitious in its emission reduction goals and tactics. With buildings responsible for approximately one-third of local greenhouse gas emissions, Nancy believes Sunnyvale can do more to decarbonize existing facilities and ensure new constructions are environmentally friendly.

As Vice Chair of the Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) Board of Directors, Nancy represents Sunnyvale in regional climate policy discussions to create recommendations for Santa Clara County communities. The SVCE Building Decarbonization Joint Action Plan identifies opportunities for communities to drastically reduce the emissions caused by the built environment. Nancy, in her capacity as Sunnyvale Mayor, will work to implement the SVCE policy guidelines in Sunnyvale – pushing the city towards a greener, more sustainable future.

Nancy recognizes that the path to change begins with analyzing past actions for areas of improvement. As such, she will continue to advocate for reviews on the impact of Sunnyvale’s existing reach codes – mandatory building codes that “reach” beyond minimum state requirements for efficient energy use in building design and construction – and work to close the gaps identified. When the 2022 building codes are released, Nancy will work with her colleagues to evaluate opportunities for new reach codes. Furthermore, she will seek model policies and supply background information to support designers, contractors, and the general public in meeting the updated reach codes.

With regards to existing buildings, Nancy and SVCE believe local efforts should aim for a complete natural gas service phaseout by 2045. In conjunction with SVCE, Nancy will direct the City to identify the potential barriers in meeting this goal and craft policy to overcome them through measures such as a differential utility users tax, energy benchmarks, energy audits, and emission caps. 

Creating a sustainable Sunnyvale requires the participation of all Sunnyvale citizens, and while economical in the long run, it requires investment up-front. Nancy knows this may pose a significant barrier for low-income communities, and that’s why she will support financing frameworks that make participation in a greener Sunnyvale accessible for all citizens. In the acknowledgement that everyone must work together to combat climate change, Nancy will continue to push for strong regional coordination through SVCE and stakeholders – such as other cities, local building industry professionals, the business community, BAAQMD, BayREN, other CCAs, PG&E, healthcare agencies, educational institutions, and non-governmental organizations – to lower costs, build more awareness, and subsequently more demand, for electrification.