Image source does not exist News Release: 2014-01-30 Cities statewide are invited to cut carbon footprint in second CoolCalifornia City Challenge

Release #:14-07

ARB PIO: (916) 322-2990

Melanie Turner
(916) 322-2990

Cities statewide are invited to cut carbon footprint in second CoolCalifornia City Challenge

$100,000 in incentive and prize money offered


Cities throughout California are invited to sign up now through March 30 to participate in the statewide CoolCalifornia City Challenge, a community-based competition to cut carbon emissions.

The California Air Resources Board announced today that the CoolCalifornia City Challenge will run from April 1 through August 31. The competition is designed to engage households and community groups in cities across the state to use less energy, reduce their carbon footprints and build more vibrant and sustainable communities. Participants in each city log their actions to reduce greenhouse gases onto an online carbon calculator which determines how much carbon is being cut in each municipality.

The winner is crowned the “Coolest California City,” earning bragging rights and recognition, while helping to curb the state’s carbon footprint and foster green economic development. The program is designed to integrate with cities’ existing sustainability initiatives and support their greenhouse gas reduction goals.

“I encourage all California cities to join the City Challenge,” ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols said. “It’s a fun way to unleash civic pride and engage both households and community groups in simple, everyday efforts to cut greenhouse gases. It helps spread the word that it’s cool to cut carbon, and invites Californians from all walks of life to become partners in the state’s efforts to fight climate change and move toward a clean energy economy.”

This year, $100,000 in incentive and prize money will be given to cities participating in the CoolCalifornia City Challenge, with Energy Upgrade California™ joining as a new partner and sponsor.

The ARB-generated challenge combines social media, community organizing and sophisticated online tools developed at the University of California, Berkeley, to reduce California’s carbon emissions at the local level. The challenge encourages individuals to make better energy-related choices at home, at the store and on the road.

Last year’s inaugural competition enrolled close to 3,000 individuals in eight participating cities. Despite a tough fight, in the end the city of Davis was crowned the 2013 “Coolest California City” and Chula Vista and Tracy each earned the title, “Cool California City.”
Cash prizes again will be given to cities that meet certain milestones. Cities participating in the CoolCalifornia City Challenge will receive prize money based on how many people they have signed up and — for the first time — based on how many points they have earned at the end of the contest.

Points are earned a number of ways, including by reducing household energy use and tailpipe emissions. For example, participants may choose to ride a bike instead of driving, or to hang laundry out to dry instead of using a dryer. Points are easily tracked using the City Challenge online software.

Key dates for this year’s competition:
To support voluntary actions to reduce carbon emissions, ARB has developed a variety of tools and resources that are available at

The CoolCaliforna City Challenge is a collaborative effort between state government, university and nonprofit organizations with support from program sponsors. A dedicated team at UC Berkeley’s Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory administers the program in partnership with ARB.

Energy Upgrade California™ is a state initiative to educate residents and small business consumers about energy management. The initiative helps Californians take action to save energy and conserve natural resources, reduce demand on the electricity grid, and make informed energy management choices at home and at work. It is supported by an alliance of the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Energy Commission, utilities, regional energy networks, local governments, businesses, and nonprofits to help communities meet state and local energy and climate action goals. Funding comes from investor-owned utility customers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. ©2013 Energy Upgrade California. Trademarks are property of their respective owners. All rights reserved. 

ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.