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City of Santa Cruz

Beacon Participant Profile

“Through measures already implemented, the City of Santa Cruz generates energy from renewable sources that do not contribute to global warming through the emission of greenhouse gases equivalent to 33% of energy used by the City; combined with 13% renewable energy purchased from PG&E, this jumps to over 40%. As more measures are implemented, the City of Santa Cruz will become less dependent on energy sources that cause environmental degradation.” -City of Santa Cruz Website

About Santa Cruz

  • Incorporated: March 31, 1866
  • Population: 56,124 (2008)
  • Location: 72 miles south of San Francisco on the northern edge of Monterey Bay in Santa Cruz County
  • Elevation: 36 feet
  • Area: 15.6 square miles

Climate Action Activities

Climate Action Resources


Silver Beacon Award (2019)

Agency Energy Savings

  • Gold Level, 18% (2017)
  • Silver Level, 9% (2014)

Agency Natural Gas Savings

  • Silver Level, 7% (2019)

Agency Greenhouse Gas Reductions

  • Gold Level, 15% (2015)

Community Greenhouse Gas Reductions

  • Platinum Level, 23% (2017)

Sustainability Best Practices

  • Platinum Level (2015)
  • Silver Level (2014)

Santa Cruz Offers Water School

Santa Cruz is known for its easy-going lifestyle, but the city is taking a tough stance on water use and it seems to be working. Thanks to some strict regulations and innovative programs, the average resident in the City of Santa Cruz uses about half as much water as those in the rest of the state.

Case Story

Santa Cruz Implements “Granny Flat” Program

Like many small cities across the country, Santa Cruz is struggling to maintain its small-town character despite enormous growth pressures.With few new development sites left, the city has turned to its primary asset for help – its single-family neighborhoods, where it is allowing property owners to develop accessory dwelling units, commonly known as a “granny flat.

Case Story

City of Santa Cruz – Green Building Program to Address Climate Change

In order to receive a building permit, all new construction and most remodeling projects in Santa Cruz are required to earn a minimum number of green points from the city’s customized green building program.


Santa Cruz Rebuilds After Earthquake

The Community Before

In 15 short seconds during the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake the 23800_SantaCruz3.gifdowntown area of Santa Cruz was transformed from the City’s commercial core to a series of destroyed and severely damaged buildings.

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