The Department of General Services (DGS) Office of Sustainability (OS) supports state agencies in sustainability initiatives including policies, strategies, programs and projects for state buildings. Key program areas to meet customer needs include: renewable clean energy generation (solar and wind), energy retrofits in existing facilities, zero net energy (ZNE) building policy development, electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) infrastructure, benchmarking, and recycling.

Executive Order B-18-12 requires state agencies reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on grid based energy purchases. State law requires new and existing State building or parking garage projects include solar energy equipment when feasible.  The law defines it to be feasible when adequate space on or adjacent to a building is available, if the solar-energy equipment is cost-effective to install, and if funds are available from the state or another source.


In response to these mandates, the Department of General Services (DGS) Executive Office of Sustainability provides services to state agencies interested in taking advantage of economical solar and wind energy at their existing facilities.


Under the authority of California Public Utility Code Section 388, DGS establishes a pool of qualified solar - energy companies capable of entering into a third party financed power purchase agreement with the state of California.  Working with the Department of Finance and the State Public Works Board, DGS has created a standard set of documents and stands ready to help state agencies take advantage of the benefits provided by these solar projects. 


PPA benefits include:

  • No up-front costs to the interested Host agency – all costs are rolled into the PPA pricing over the term of the fixed price contract.
  • The price for energy purchased through a PPA have typically been less than the price paid to the Utility and result in significant savings to the Host over the term of the agreement.
  • Energy price is locked/guaranteed for the term of the contract which is a 20 to 25 year fixed price contract.
  • The Energy Contractor is responsible for the financing, construction, operation, and maintenance of the system and the Host agency remains removed from these costs.


The DGS Clean Energy Unit will evaluate and recommend the appropriate size of a potential solar or wind energy project for the facility and also manage the project from release of the Request for Proposal until the system is constructed and operational.


Contracts for these projects run for 20 to 25 years and all energy produced by the system is consumed onsite by the state facility.  Most solar projects have been ground mounted installations when land is available, but there are also vehicle canopy systems for surface parking areas, roof mounted systems, and wind turbines.


The goal of 50% renewables by 2030 will be achieved, in part, through a trailblazing agreement with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) to purchase 34 megawatts (MW) of solar power via a long-term power purchase agreement. Not only will this bring many of our state facilities to zero net energy, it will also save the state over $20 million over the 20-year agreement term.

AB-32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, requires a sharp reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  Executive Order B-18-12 outlines requirements for state agencies to reduce environmental impacts of state operations including GHG emissions, energy, and water use, as well as improving indoor air quality, onsite renewable energy, and developing the infrastructure for electric vehicle charging stations at state facilities.

In response to AB 32 and EO B-18-12, DGS developed the Statewide Energy Retrofit Program to assist state agencies in meeting the reduction requirements for greenhouse emissions and grid-based electricity purchases. This budget-neutral program was designed to develop and implement energy conservation measures with no upfront capital expenditure required of the participating state agency.

One example is an energy retrofit project that was completed at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) headquarters with an annual energy savings of 920,000 kWh, reducing utility costs by over $115,000 annually. LED lamps replaced fluorescent lamps, occupancy sensors were installed to reduce energy use when areas are not occupied, and upgraded HVAC controls now provide occupancy-based heating and cooling.

In another energy retrofit project at the DGS-owned Caltrans District 11 building in San Diego, annual energy savings of 941,298 kWh were achieved, resulting in cost savings of over $165,000 annually. This was accomplished with an upgraded energy management system, interior lighting and lighting controls, and HVAC improvements (replacement of cooling tower and two chillers).

It is anticipated that in 2018, a goal of saving 20 percent of the electricity used in state buildings will be reached. 

EO B-16-12 sets aggressive goals for acquisition of Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) in state fleets. Currently, DGS is on track to reach its goal of a light duty fleet comprised of 50% ZEVs by 2025. In order to reach these targets, the supporting infrastructure to charge these vehicles is required. The governor’s ZEV Action Plans sets specific targets for fleet and workplace charging infrastructure. Specifically, all ZEVs in State fleets should have access to charging infrastructure, and 5% of all workplace parking should have access to charging.

The sustainable transportation program at DGS is committed to developing charging infrastructure for both fleet and workplace ZEVs. In addition to staff, expertise, and spending authority for ZEV infrastructure, DGS’s transportation program has limited funding to help departments and agencies offset some of costs with their charging infrastructure plans. 

The State Administrative Manual (SAM) Section 1815.31 defines Zero Net Energy for state buildings as follows:

“ZNE Source – Energy efficient building that produces as much clean renewable energy as it consumes over the course of a year, when accounted for at the energy generation source.”

Executive Order B-18-12 ordered state agencies to take action toward zero net energy of state buildings:

“IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that all new State buildings and major renovations beginning design after 2025 be constructed as Zero Net Energy facilities with an interim target for 50% of new facilities beginning design after 2020 to be Zero Net Energy. State agencies shall also take measures toward achieving Zero Net Energy for 50% of the square footage of existing state-owned building area by 2025."

SAM Section 1813.31 moved up the requirement for new and major renovated state buildings and build-to-suit leases beginning design after October 23, 2017, to be ZNE.

The ZNE MM accelerated that date to October 23, 2017. This will ensure a continuing focus on cost-effective ZNE design. The ZNE policy issued State Administrative Manual Section 1815.31, and established energy efficiency targets for state buildings achieving ZNE. A ZNE program webpage was developed including several tools and resources to help state departments assess and work toward ZNE on state buildings.

Follow the link to the Zero Net Energy Program page for ZNE calculators, guides, and resources to help state agencies achieve ZNE.

  • Energy and water benchmarking

Executive Order B-18-12 requires state agencies to benchmark their energy and water use at state facilities and DGS to manage and report on the process. In 2014, the tool to capture the data was switched to Energy Star Portfolio Manager (ESPM) for the data capture and in 2015 departments worked to automate as much of the data entry as possible through the utilities.  For more information on the State's progress toward the goals in executive order B-18-12 please follow the link to the Green Building website.


  • Organic Wastes and Recycling

In October 2014 Governor Brown signed AB 1826 Chesbro (Chapter 727, Statutes of 2014), requiring businesses to recycle their organic waste on and after April 1, 2016, depending on the amount of waste they generate per week.   California disposes approximately 30 million tons of waste in landfills each year, of which more than 30 percent could be used for compost or mulch.


  • Water Conservation

The General fund in July 2015 provided $10M for funding water conservation projects in state facilities other than DGS. DGS had separate funding for their buildings. DGS worked with GovOps to manage the grant funding process. For more information please follow the following link to DGS Water Conservation Efforts homepage.


  • Bike Share

The Office of Sustainability (OS) in collaboration with other state departments promotes and advances health, equity and sustainability by way of active transportation. OS is the initial point of contact for the regional and employee managed bikeshare and provides continuous oversight on managing bicycle programs, parking and education with a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, continuously improve sustainable transportation, and employee health, which is in line with advancing the Governor’s goals.  The employee bikeshare program provides a convenient option to travel to nearby meetings and run errands on a bicycle as a timesaving opportunity.  For more information please contact us at


Lindsey Rowell, Deputy Director

Department of General Services
Office of Sustainability

707 3rd Street,
West Sacramento,, CA 95605

Contact Information: 

☎ (916) 402-1622


Divisional Video: Sustainability