Building a Sustainable Sacramento

Image of the Sacramento skyline in the evening. Learn more about plans to build a more sustainable Sacramento.

Building a Sustainable Sacramento

July 30, 2019 | By The Railyards

Sacramento is working toward a sustainable future.

Integrating policy and programming that encourage accountability and action on the part of both the city and its citizens, Sacramento’s sustainability plans are focused on meeting present-day needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own.

Sacramento supports a healthy environment, a strong economy, and the social well-being of Sacramento residents.

Sacramento Plans for Sustainability

The City of Sacramento's 2035 General Plan sets policy guidelines for everything from physical development and economic growth to the physical boundaries of the city.

It exists to guide the city in both the preservation of resources and responsible future development.

Preserving Environmental Resources

Sacramento is a city committed to protecting all of its valuable resources, realizing that the preservation of environmental resources is essential for the welfare of future generations.

Citywide goals and policies include plans to preserve:

  • Water resources
  • Biological resources
  • Urban forest
  • Agriculture
  • Mineral resources
  • Air quality and climate change
  • Aesthetic resources

Policies are in place to protect and preserve natural resources while also monitoring aesthetic elements of new developments in Sacramento.

Adapting to Climate Change

Incorporated into the 2035 General Plan is the Sacramento Climate Action Plan, which identifies how both the city and outlying communities can reduce greenhouse emissions by identifying of reduction targets and strategies while planning specific actions to take.

The City’s action plan for adapting to climate change and reducing greenhouse emissions includes: 

  • Use of public transit, “green building” practices
  • Mixed-use development that encourages walking and biking
  • Use of solar energy systems
  • Architectural design to reduce heat gain
  • Recycled construction materials
  • Water conservation measures


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Sustainable Development in Sacramento

Economic development is and always will be at the forefront of every city's goals, both for the betterment of government facilities and for the good of its citizens.

While a robust economy is important to the fiscal health of any metropolis, it is not beneficial to put monetary gain above a city's environmental health and sustainability.  

Major developments in the Sacramento area that have recently been completed – and those that are underway – are planned with careful consideration to preserve natural resources while minimizing their carbon footprint.

Here are two examples of sustainable development in action in Sacramento:

Golden One Center

Built with sustainability as its leading tenant, Sacramento's Golden One Center has earned high praise for its small carbon footprint and big resource savings.

The Golden One Center is the first indoor arena to be powered 100% by solar energy. The arena achieved the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum status.

  • Among its accomplishments in sustainable development are:
  • 30% energy use reduction above California Title 24 code requirement
  • 45% reduction in use over stringent California code
  • an excess of 12,000 pounds of usable food diverted to local food banks
  • fan donated shoes recycled into the team’s court
  • 99% of demolition materials – nearly 101,000 tons – recycled and diverted from landfills

The Golden One Center’s commitment to sustainability isn’t going to be the exception in Sacramento development, but rather the rule.

The Railyards

Aligned with the greater goals for a Sustainable Sacramento and the city’s action plan for reducing greenhouse emissions and adapting to climate change, The Railyards has made sustainable development a priority.

One of the nation’s largest infill projects, The Railyards is transforming 244-acres of historically significant land into a thriving, mixed-use urban community that will double the size of downtown Sacramento and redefine the region.

The Railyards specific plan outlines its intention to become a leader of sustainable development on a national level.

The Railyards specific plan includes policies and regulations that facilitate and support both pedestrian and bicycle transportation and support area transit while minimizing the need for automobiles.  

The Railyards specific plan promotes a reduction in energy, water, and waste. It also addresses the negative effects on environmental resources through the mitigation of stormwater runoff, air pollution, and wastewater generation.

Embracing policies and goals that will lead the region into a more responsible future, The Railyards is maximizing the use of sustainable development practices with smart growth planning that meets the needs of Sacramento both today and in the future.

Through policy, planning, and development, Sacramento is creating a sustainable city that will benefit us all now and for generations to come.

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