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  • RideSpring alternative commute incentive program for City of Santa Cruz employees. Win great prizes for riding your bike, taking the bus, walking, carpooling or vanpooling to work!
  • Bus passes for City of Santa Cruz employees. The City shares the cost of discounted bus passes for City employees to commute to work.
  • CNG (compressed natural gas) van for south county City employee vanpool to the City Corporation Yard.
  • 0% Bike Loan Program for City employees. Borrow up to $750 to purchase a bike and accessories (helmet, light, etc.) and pay back out of your paychecks over one year.
  • Emergency Ride Home Program. Back up "insurance" taxi vouchers for City employee alternative commuters.
  • Over 100 secure public bicycle lockers are available in Downtown Santa Cruz with the use of a Santa Cruz ParkCard--for only 5 cents per hour.
  • Bike racks for local businesses. Upon request, the City will install a bike rack on the sidewalk where appropriate.
  • Valet bike parking is provided at many local public events.
  • Downtown-Beach shuttle--ditch the car and ride the cable car shuttle during the busy summer season.
  • ZipCars are available to rent by the hour or by the day at several locations in Santa Cruz.
  • Electric vehicle charging stations in the Downtown area are free to charge your plug-in car and free parking, too!
Energy Use (with 2013 updates)
  • Fuel efficiency and low-carbon fuel vehicles. The city’s fleet inventory is comprised of approximately 400 units in its rolling stock of which there are 174 units that are using low-carbon fuel alternatives (B-20 diesel, CNG, LPG, all electric vehicles and Hybrid combinations). As a result, of this measure 44% of the total city fleet is using low-carbon fuels and we anticipate that number to grow.
  • Energy Watch. In 2008 the City of Santa Cruz participated in an Energy Watch program for Municipal Facility benchmarking of 20 City of Santa Cruz facilities. A baseline energy use was established and several system improvements were made like energy efficient lighting and room occupancy light sensors and automated “sleep” mode on computers. Based on the January 2012 energy watch report the city has reduced its energy consumption by 10.6 %. As we look at system upgrades or replacements we are exploring all options to conserve energy and reduce the city’s carbon footprint. 
  • LEDs. Phase Three of our streetlight LED conversion is completed. Currently there are 2,988 total street lights in the City of Santa Cruz and approximately 2,000 of these street lights are city-owned, with the remainder being owned and operated by Pacific Gas and Electric. The city has completed its third phase of street light retrofits which brings our total converted LED street lights to 1,198 (over half way to our 100% goal!). Converting these lights to LED bulbs has reduced our energy use by 502,469 kilowatts annually and reduces the greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 263,293 lbs or 81.59 tons per year.
  • Buy Efficiency Resolution. On November 24, 1998 the City Council passed a Buy Efficiency Resolution directing staff that all energy consuming equipment purchased be energy efficient.
  • Energy efficient building lighting. Energy efficient lighting and room occupancy light sensors have been installed in many city buildings.
  • Solar Power. A 14 kilowatt AC photovoltaic cell system has been installed on the roof of the City Hall Annex Building. The solar power system generates 25,000 kilowatt hours per year, providing about 7% of the power used in the building. A similar, larger 55 kilowatt system has been installed on the Corporation Yard building on River Street which will produce 70,000 kilowatt hours per year. Yet another photovoltaic system has been installed at the Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, this 50.7 kilowatt system is expected to produce about 76,000 kilowatt hours per year, saving the city in excess of $15,000 per year in energy costs. When these systems produce more electricity than is consumed, the City's utility meter will run backwards giving the City credit for that energy produced.
  • Water Conservancy. The City of Santa Cruz Water Department promotes the use of water- and energy-efficient toilets, clothes washing machines and other products and as a result has saved 120 million gallons of water annually and a total of more than 122,000 kWhs since 2000.
  • The City of Santa Cruz has shown support for the Senate Bill 1 "The Million Solar Roofs Initiative," the goal of which is to place one million solar energy systems on new and existing residential and commercial buildings, establishing a self-sufficient solar industry in California in as little as ten years.

Resource Recovery Facility Landfill Gas Collection System and Gas-To-Energy Plant

  • Since 1989, the City’s Resource Recovery Facility (RRF) has had a landfill gas control and collection system that consists of a network of approximately 25 vertical gas collection wells, lateral collector pipes, and header pipes which terminate at a Gas-to-Energy plant equipped with a single 933 kW/h turbine.The vertical gas collection wells were drilled into the landfill’s refuse layers to collect the gas that is generated by the buried decomposing waste.
  • A variety of compounds may be found in landfill gas but the primary concern is methane. This is because, in addition to being flammable under certain conditions, methane gas is a regulated greenhouse gas.
  • The RRF gas control and collection system is important because it captures landfill gas buried within the refuse, which minimizes both the underground off-site migration of gas and surface emissions of gas from the ground into the air.
  • In addition, the Gas-to-Energy plant converts the collected landfill gas into electricity which is then sold to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. The City receives royalties from these power sales.
Waste Reduction and Recycling
  • Universal refuse service. Residents are required to have refuse collection at least weekly.
  • Zero Waste Task Force. A Zero Waste Task Force has been established and is mandated with developing a long range plan to increase waste reduction and recycling.
  • Variable refuse rate structure. The customer rate increases with the volume of refuse collected and recycling is provided for no cost.
  • Landfill methane gas recovery systems. A system has been installed that captures 75% of methane emitted from the landfill and burns it to create energy.
  • Smart shopping seminars program. Promotes Source Reduction.
  • Home composting. Home composting is promoted through low-cost bin distributions, workshops and information.
  • Divided recycling. All single-family residential customers provided with a divided recycling cart for mixed paper and containers (glass, metal, plastic). Used oil filters and used motor oil is also accepted curbside.
  • Business recycling Services. Carts or bins for cardboard, office paper, and containers (glass, metal, plastic) are provided and collected from business refuse customers at no extra charge.
  • Reuse. Thrift shops accept and pick-up usable salable items.
  • Household hazardous waste drop-off. Drop-off points at county centers.
  • Christmas tree collection. Trees are collected seasonally for recycling.
  • City of Santa Cruz Landfill recycling center. Full service, drop-off recycling center.
  • Greenwaste recycling. Separated greenwaste may be taken to the Santa Cruz Municipal Landfill, where it will be hauled to Gilroy and processed into compost.
  • Annual Resource Conservation Fair. Provides information and free drop-off of reusables, recyclables and greenwaste.
Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility
  • Cogeneration system. A system which uses methane gas to produce energy and waste heat for heating purposes.
  • Efficient motors for pumps. Pumps were replaced with energy efficient motors in 1991 and were replaced in 1998.
  • Process tank insulation. Process tanks are insulated so as to minimize heat loss.
  • Reuse. The plant reuses its own treated effluent for wash-down water and process water applications.
  • UV Disinfection System lowered intensity. The Ultraviolet Disinfection system bulbs have had their intensity turned down, while still meeting National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System discharge requirements.
  • Comprehensive lighting measures. Lighting measures have been taken without compromising safety. Implemented a lighting blackout at night and when rooms are not in use, timers and dimmers have been installed, and some outside lights have been removed.
  • Digester gas mixing compressor reduced use. Gas mixing compressors on digesters have reduced use. Two have reduced use from 24 hours per day to two hours per day. A third has reduced 24 hour per day usage to 12 hours per day.
  • City water recycling. City water is recycled so that distribution pumps do not have to be used so much.
  • Off peak centrifuging. All centrifuging has been moved to off peak energy usage hours.



MC Solar Bay Area Solar Co:


BP Solar:


AKeena Solar:


GE Solar:


Green Mountain Renewable Energy Co.


Solar Energy Industries Association:


California Solar Energy Industries Association:


NorCal Solar:

For more information please contact:
Mary Arman
Public Works Operations Manager
809 Center Street, Room 201
Santa Cruz, California 95060
Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Fax: 831-420-5161 

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Last updated: 10/18/2013 7:24:47 AM