San Jose city facilities as a development precedent

San Jose City Hall

The City of San Jose is located 48 miles south of San Francisco, in Northern California. San Jose is the third largest city in California and was the first State Capital. ( In the 1990s, the city earned the nickname “Capital of Silicon Valley”. This primarily had to do with the development of various software and technology companies in Santa Clara County. Although San Jose is much larger in acreage and population than Claremont, the cities relate to each other in similar demographics and sustainable efforts. This post will evaluate the two cities, and their efforts toward sustainable efforts and look at examples that may help the city of Claremont.

The Sustainable Claremont Plan  is a document outlined similar to the San Jose Green Vision program. However, the S.J. Green Vision program has ten ambitious goals that includes a focus on job creation, a clean city fleet, and renewable energy. The Claremont plan has seven goal areas which focuses on sustainability. The economy from the technology industry in Santa Clara County has help San Jose expand and fuel new development and reinvestment into their community.

Below encompassed in each city’s plan are goal areas that have sub categories, but for now we will focus on the main headings.


  1. Resource Conservation
  2. Environment and Public Health
  3. Transportation
  4. Sustainable Built Environment
  5. Open Space and Land Use
  6. Housing & Economic Sustainability
  7. Public Outreach and Implementation

San Jose

  1. Clean Tech Jobs
  2. Reduced Energy Use
  3. Renewable Energy
  4. Green Buildings
  5. Zero Waste
  6. Recycled Water
  7. Sustainable Development
  8. Clean Fleet Vehicles
  9. Trees & Zero Emission Streetlights
  10. Interconnected Trails
Roosevelt Community Center, San Jose, CA

Roosevelt Community Center, San Jose, CA

By comparison, the city of Claremont is looking toward their established educational institutions to lead the way in building LEED facilities. Ensuring sustainable construction and promoting green building practices are an essential component of San Jose’s Green Vision. An estimated 70 percent of cities total energy use and 16 percent of its water goes to buildings. San Jose is looking to retrofit all existing buildings to reduce energy and water use and incorporate sustainable construction materials. The city’s goal is laid out across a 15 year period, the expectation to have 50 million square feet of green buildings, is a long rang vision set forth by the city council. That is an estimated size of 100 buildings, the size of San José City Hall.
GOAL 4 Certified Green Building Space
The city’s efforts to retain historical significant buildings has led the the city to elevated new building construction that will meet high environmental standards. The  U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDTM) is used as the standard for most large scale development. These energy efficient buildings will provide a showcase for local Clean Tech products as well as innovations in green building materials, local commitment to sustainable practices, and the financial benefits of building to a standard that retains energy. The City of San José has its offices in the first LEED Platinum City Hall in the nation and has opened several LEED certified buildings including Happy Hollow Zoo and Park (the first LEED certified zoo in the nation) and the West Valley Branch Library (the first LEED Certified library in the world). Additionally the City has adopted aggressive green building policies for both, the public and private sector.

Green Buildings Pie Chart

In addition to facilitating new green construction, San Jose is working to reduce use and carbon emissions of existing buildings by encouraging owners to upgrade air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems, retrofit lighting systems, and adopt other environmental conscious operating practices. The city’s building and safety department is encouraging a wide range of building materials and systems technology that saves cost on projects and raise awareness of the benefits of green practices.

“This 15‐year plan, debuted in Oct. 2007 by Mayor Reed, envisions creating 25,000 Clean Tech jobs; building or retrofitting 50 million square feet of green buildings; installing 100,000 solar roofs accounting for 1/10 of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Million Solar Roofs Plan for California; reducing per capita electricity use by half; becoming a zero waste city; recycling and reusing 100 percent of the city’s water; and moving to 100 percent renewable energy.” (Steven Brewster, 2009)

Designated landmark of the founding of HP computer company.

Designated landmark of the founding of HP computer company.

Claremont and San Jose do share a common goal of investing into the education of  its citizens. San Jose has Stanford and San Jose State University and Claremont has the Claremont Colleges as well as Cal Poly Pomona. The diverse learning culture and inspiration to improve the world continues to draw students. As an example of a leader in the industry, San Jose focuses on clean energy and the green job sector to bring about sustainability in the region. I believe that the same can go for Claremont, even if majority of the city is residential, there might be room to allow sustainable industry to flourish from higher education in the city. Thus diversifying the choices that residents have to choose for work.


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