Salem’s Community Energy Strategy

​Salem’s Community Energy Strategy serves as a road map for energy saving efforts community‐wide, now and in the future.

It includes short and long term goals, objectives, and actions that the City, individuals, and businesses can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency, and incorporate renewable energy into Salem area projects.

In addition to the actions identified within the Strategy, the City has embarked on $1.2 million in projects to reduce energy use in City buildings. These investments include HVAC, lighting, window, insulation improvements and establishing a Resource Conservation Management program to monitor and maintain energy performance.


The strategy includes two components.


Approximately 20% of the funding will support projects to improve energy efficiency, conservation and cost savings in industrial, commercial, transportation and residential sectors, and promote sustainable industry, jobs and related activities.

Energy Efficiency Funding - $150,000

  • Develop and capitalize a loan fund to provide up front financing for energy efficient lighting
    upgrades in existing commercial buildings after completing energy audits

Diverse Transportation Network Funding - $90,000

  • Support a community-wide plan for locating electric vehicle charging infrastructure
  • Implement recommendations identified in the Willamette River Crossing Alternative Modes Study to improve access to bicycle, pedestrian and transit connections

Public Awareness and Commitment Funding - $65,000

  • Develop an energy efficiency awareness campaign to promote energy savings programs and
    disseminate information about Salem’s energy use
  • Develop a website to serve as a clearinghouse of information about energy programs, projects,
    policy and incentives
  • Complete the final Community Energy Strategy report and conduct outreach to raise
    awareness (includes hosting annual event) 


Approximately 80% of the funding will focus on improving energy efficiency, conservation and cost savings in City facilities. The City of Salem, as a municipal corporation, uses a significant amount of energy to operate its facilities and provide services. The primary sources of energy consumed by City of Salem operations are electricity, natural gas, gasoline and diesel fuel. To reduce it energy use, the City developed a list of high priority capital projects to make immediate reductions and a lasting impact on its energy use.

Increase Energy Efficiency in City Buildings Funding - $1,171,000

  • Upgrade and retrofit HVAC in City buildings ($504,000)
  • Upgrade lighting systems and controls ($367,000)
  • Improve building envelopes ($38,000)
  • Create a Resource Conservation Management Program to monitor and maintain building
    performance, including energy tracking, waste management, preventative maintenance
    scheduling, asset replacement planning, savings reinvestment and development of “green
    teams” ($125,000)
  • Use trash compactors in high demand areas ($137,000) 

Additional actions

In addition to the priorities identified for 2010-11 for US DOE funding, several additional short- and long- term actions have been identified, including:

  • Improve energy efficiency in buildings community-wide
    • Establish policy to construct City buildings to green building standards (LEED or equivalent)
    • Collaborate to fund energy manager position or similar
    • Establish incentives to reduce permit fees for buildings that exceed state energy code and/or incorporate renewable energy generation
  • Increase renewable energy used or produced by Salem residents and businesses, while decreasing total energy consumption
    • Partner with community organizations to incorporate renewable energy and energy efficiency innovation into projects
    • Explore opportunities to expand Salem’s low-head hydroelectric turbines
    • Pursue powering City Parks with renewable energy
  • Create and support a viable and diverse transportation network that focuses on moving people
    • Increase access to car sharing programs (i.e. Zip car)
    • Promote pilot programs for electric bicycles, bike sharing and solar charging, in tandem with Willamette University and other public institutions
    • Add bicycle/pedestrian amenities to transit stops and stations including bike sharing and storage
  • Position Salem as a leader in sustainable industry
    • Brand and market Salem as an energy efficient capital city
    • Encourage partnerships with high schools and universities to train students in math and science
  • Conduct a public participation program that engages the community and communicates the value of energy savings and greenhouse gas reduction community‐wide
    • Develop clearinghouse of energy resources for businesses and residents; launch an educational campaign to alter behaviors about energy use
    • Develop an inventory of community-wide energy data that can be updated/reported on annually
    • Pursue student (university and K-12) involvement in community projects; get involved in Salem-Keizer schools “Green Schools Program”


In August 2009, the City of Salem received notice of a $1.5 million award from US Department of Energy’s (US DOE) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program. The EECBG Program aims to reduce fossil fuel emissions, total energy consumption, and create jobs. It also requires communities to develop an energy strategy to meet these objectives. In December 2009, US DOE approved Salem’s Energy Strategy. The strategy was developed with input from the community and with assistance from representatives of Salem‐Keizer Transit, Willamette University, State of Oregon Department of Administrative Services, SEDCOR, Oregon Energy Trust, Portland General Electric, and some of Salem’s largest employers. Implementation of the energy strategy is informed by an Energy Inventory Report which gathered data indicators for 2004-2009.

Contact us

Annie GorskiEconomic Development ManagerUrban Development Department
Mailing address:
350 Commercial ST NE
Salem OR 97301