Providing a roadmap for cities.

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Here in the Coachella Valley we have nine cities (and several tribes) that refuse to work together.  Most reinvent the wheel, or have wasteful redundancies.  We have found this hampers our progress toward incorporating sustainability into city policies.

As a result, we would like to unveil our City Dashboard, which will be used to rank the Coachella Valley cities on their sustainability achievements.  The purpose of the dashboard is to provide a roadmap for the cities to follow, and encourage them to work together to meet these important goals.

We are asking all nine cities to do three simple things:

You can download the latest version of the City Sustainability Dashboard here.

This is something we are all very excited about and feel it will generate real positive change.  We look forward to your comments.

About the Dashboard
  • Background
  • Methodology
  • Usage

The Dashboard was developed and launched in December 2011. It has been presented to the City Councils of all nine Coachella Valley cities. It was developed in response to the overlapping (and often competitive) sustainability policies of the various cities. We saw an opportunity to get the nine cities to work together, share their best practices, and streamline decisions based on their shared experiences.

How the categories were developed

Categories were initially based on the LEED Green Building Rating System. Additional input came from SustainLane City Rankings, College Sustainability Report Card and the California League of Conservation Voters Scorecard. Categories were then refined, combined and adapted to the unique conditions of the Coachella Valley.


How the points were chosen

The list of individual points were initially compiled from "Green Building & Remodeling for Dummies," the Build It Green Government Roadmap and the Alameda County Waste Management Authority Guidelines. They were refined, simplified and adjusted for the unique opportunities in the Coachella Valley. Points were targeted at City policy rather than individual resident consumption. The goal of this scorecard is to assist cities in developing a roadmap to attainable and sustainable policies.


How the weightings were determined

Given that we live in a desert, we initially placed the greatest weight on two obvious areas: water and energy. However this did not solve a larger issue: each city acting separately despite this being one Valley. So, additional points and weighting will go to cities that support these efforts and share information and resources with other cities. Alone, we reinvent the wheel and duplicate each others efforts. Together, we can accomplish great things quickly.


Excluded Categories

Due to the natural resources shared within the Coachella Valley, several important aspects of environmental quality were excluded from this dashboard. The following criteria was excluded since it is assumed it would be the same throughout the Coachella Valley, or is regulated by an over-arching agency:
• Air Quality • Tap Water Quality • Water Supply • School District Policies

The Oasis Dashboard is presented by the US Green Building Council - Coachella Valley Branch (USGBC-CV) and licensed under the Creative Commons. It may be distributed or copied in whole, without edits and with proper credit. Neither the US Green Building Council nor any of the authors warrant the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of any information published by this document, nor endorses any content, viewpoints, products, or services linked from this document, and shall not be held liable for any losses caused by reliance on the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of such information. Any person or entity that relies on any information obtained from this document does so at his, her or its own risk.


Special Thanks

A hearty thank you to the USGBC steering committee members who helped develop this scorecard:

Dashboard Categories

(click to expand)

CO2 & Climate

Sign the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement
Conduct a Baseline Emissions Inventory for municipal operations, or track progress with annual inventories
Perform ICLEI Cities for Climate Protection milestones
% of municipal energy from renewable sources
% of residents energy from renewables
Adopt a Climate Action Plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20%


Retrofit/upgrade city lighting to high efficiency lamps
Provide incentives for solar PV equipment to residents
Establish a PACE financing program
Create a lighting ordinance to conserve energy
Residential solar permitted with reduced or no fee
Residential solar permits are expedited
Offer renewable energy credits to businesses

Environmental Governance

Number of part-time sustainability City Staff
Dedicated sustainability manager/director
Environmentally Preferable Purchasing program
Establish a Sustainability Committee/Commission
Partnership with local utility or nonprofit to conserve energy or water
Train relevant city staff on green building measures
Provide educational resources to residents on your sustainability goals and activities


Mandatory recycling for businesses
City-wide residential composting program
Collection of used cooking oil for biodiesel
Mandatory construction waste recycling 65% or more
City collection of e-waste & other hazardous materials
Plastic Bag & Take Out Container ban


Allow rainwater for non-potable use inside & outdoors
Allow graywater for non-potable use inside & outdoors
Partner with Water District for turf buy back program
Mandatory drip irrigation or desert-scaping on commercial development


Total number of LEED Certified or Registered Buildings
Require LEED (or other) of new commercial buildings
Provide permitting incentives for green buildings
Establish energy efficiency or green building standards for municipal buildings and facilities
Establish and implement energy efficiency or green building standards for all buildings
Adopt Tier I or II in the CalGreen Building Code

Land Use

% of city land devoted to open space?
Provide zoning or incentives for mixed-use buildings
Planning incentives for grey/brownfield redevelopment
Min. 30% permeable paving on commercial projects
Mandatory cool roof requirement on new buildings
Reduce parking requirements for affordable housing and mixed-use projects

Transport & Circulation

Number of SunLine Transit bus stops
% municipal fleet that’s clean air (ULEV or ZEV)
Number of electric vehicle parking & charging stations
Provide dedicated bike lanes and HEV lanes
Car-sharing or bike-sharing program in City
City carpooling coordination program
Maximum, not minimum, parking requirements
Park & Ride Shuttle around commercial areas


Send City representative to regular USGBC meeting
Work with School District to develop green curriculum
Provide community gardens in development process
Weekly farmers market or edible schoolyard within city
City is member of: USGBC, ICLEI, U.S. Mayors, Carbon War Room Cities Challenge, Clinton 40

City Innovation

Extra credit for innovative city policies outside of the other credits

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