Sacramento’s key to economic growth: Leading way as a Green City

150 150 Cheryl Getuiza

As California’s capital city, Sacramento is never short of political stories. However, this is not one of them. This is a story on a city that’s trying making a new name for itself—the “Emerald Valley.” It in its mission to go green, Sac-Town is also pumping life back into the local economy.

The U.S. Green Building Council recently awarded Mayor Kevin Johnson with a prestigious award—2012 Richard M. Daley Legacy Award for Global Leadership in Creating Sustainable Cities. The USGBC recognized Mayor Johnson for his outstanding vision, leadership and commitment to creating green buildings and communities.

“Mayor Johnson has accomplished an unbelievable amount during his time in office, advancing green schools, building retrofits, and numerous other sustainable initiatives in the City of Sacramento,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and founding chair of USGBC.

“As mayor, I have dedicated myself to making the Sacramento region the greenest in the country and a hub for clean technology,” said the mayor.

Mayor Johnson was first elected into office in 2008 and was re-elected in June of this year. As a native Sacramentan, he has a big vision for the city, included in that vision is to take bold steps to become a greener community. 

Since taking office, the mayor has:

  • Launched Greenwise Joint Venture – a regional nonprofit dedicated to the transforming the city into the greenest in the country
  • Developed the comprehensive Greenwise Regional Action Plan – a sustainability plan for the region
  • Participated in the Greening of America’s Schools Summit
  • Committed to retrofitting 12 million square feet of commercial property as one of first five cities invited to participate in President Obama’s Better Buildings Challenge
  • Partnered with Ygrene Energy Fund to make $100 million available for energy upgrades to property owners within Sacramento
  • Partnered with the Center for Green Schools to advance sustainability best practices for city schools
  • Reduced the city’s carbon footprint by ending the practice of transporting waste out of the state
  • Helped to secure $280 million in federal funding for clean energy 
  • Launched “Blue Thumb” – a public education campaign to promote landscape water efficiency

With a current unemployment rate of 11.9 percent in Sacramento, higher than the state’s 10.2 percent, jobs in the cleantech sector should give the city a boost. 

“Green cities put people back to work and are the key to economic growth. I am honored to receive this award and look forward to continuing our efforts to show that good environmental policy can also be good economic policy,” added Johnson.

Mayor Johnson will be presented with the award, this week, at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in San Francisco.

“We are fortunate to have leaders like Mayor Johnson bringing our cities toward efficiency and equality, and we are honored to present him with this well-deserved award,” said Fedrizzi.


Cheryl Getuiza

All stories by: Cheryl Getuiza