American Cities Climate Challenge

What is the American Cities Climate Challenge?

American Cities Climate Challenge logo

The American Cities Climate Challenge is an unprecedented opportunity for 25 ambitious cities to deepen and accelerate efforts to tackle climate change and promote a sustainable future for their residents. San Antonio was chosen out of a pool of 100 of the largest cities in America, and our successful application builds on our history of leadership in sustainability and current momentum promoting a resilient city.

The Climate Challenge provides the City with access to the country’s leading technical assistance providers around a variety of issues.

  1. Reducing building energy use
  2. Expanding renewable energy
  3. Reducing vehicle miles traveled
  4. Advancing transportation electrification

Here are the initiatives San Antonio is focused on in the Transportation and Buildings & Energy sectors:

VIA Bus Stop

Public Transit Speed, Reliability, & User Experience
Although transit services are often run by independent transit agencies rather than city governments, cities play the essential role of managing the street networks, sidewalks, traffic signals, and bus stops that allow transit vehicles to move through cities. In partnership with the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), the City of San Antonio and VIA are working cooperatively to identify certain street corridors for improvement to make the street more accommodating for pedestrians,bikes, scooters, and the disabled.

Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
Building a modern EV charging system can increase consumer confidence in electric vehicles. The City of San Antonio, working with CPS Energy, is analyzing ways to enhance publicly accessible and private charging infrastructure. In addition to analyzing opportunities to electrify the City's fleet, the EVSA program unifies programs, policies, education and infrastructure initiatives to make San Antonio a more EV-friendly city.

San Antonio Map

High-Frequency Public Transit Network
Increasing service frequency is critical to improving bus ridership. ConnectSA is building community support for investment in an Advanced Rapid Transit network, which uses dedicated transit lanes and technology to provide benefits of track-based transit with the flexibility of buses. Other regional investments will include higher bus frequency, new micro-mobility lanes, sidewalks, and some strategic roadway fixes.

Bike Lane

Enhanced Commuter Incentives
A large portion of vehicle travel is related to commuting in single-occupancy vehicles, so providing easy and accessible transportation choices is essential for reducing vehicle miles traveled. This can include walking, biking, taking transit, carpooling, flex scheduling or telecommuting. Initial programs include a pilot van pool program for City of San Antonio employees. For organizations and individuals seeking solutions, the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization has also launched Alamo Commutes, a tool that encourages and incentivizes commuters region-wide to make smart, multi-modal transportation choices.

Housse Under Construction

Meeting Municipal Electricity Demand with Renewable Energy
Fossil fuels used to generate electricity contribute to greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change and air pollution. Solar energy is cleaner and renewable. The City of San Antonio will lead by example by pursuing 100% renewable energy for municipalelectricity demand, including purchased and on-site generation, and work to identify opportunities to develop a Resilience Hub at a City facility to include solar power with battery back-up. The City will develop a phased plan to shift from purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to on-site renewable energy production.

Man putting in Solar Panels

EV & Solar Readiness
Having access to electric transportation and renewable energy through solar panels helps residents and the greater community save on energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. EV and Solar Ready building codes for new construction reduce infrastructure installation costs when compared with retrofits. Preparing homes and businesses to have the capability to utilize solar energy and charge electric vehicles keeps San Antonio competitive and resilient as consumer choices and shifts in the market occur.

CPS Energy Meters

Energy Benchmarking and Disclosure for Buildings
Energy benchmarking allows building owners and operators to track energy use and assess performance in comparison to others. The City will develop and pursue adoption of energy benchmarking and disclosure requirements for commercial and multi-family buildings 50,000 sq. ft. and greater. A Private Sector Challenge Program is an effective strategy for building support and developing knowledge around energy use, conservation and best practices. Partners include SA 2030 District, Build San Antonio Green, and Institute for Market Transformation. Find additional details about energy benchmarking here.

San Antonio Skyline

New Financing Programs
PACE, or Property Assessed Clean Energy, is a financial tool that incentivizes property owners to upgrade facility infrastructure with low capital outlay. PACE enables building owners to reduce operating costs and use the savings to pay for eligible water conservation, energy efficiency, resiliency, and distributed generation projects.Owners gain access to private, affordable, long-term (typically 10-20 years) financing.

Watch this quick overview video to learn more about the PACE program.

Please visit the Economic Development Department's website for additional information on PACE.

American Cities Climate Challenge logo