The city of Davis was named the “Coolest California City” on June 27 by the California Air Resources Board for its success in reducing households’ carbon footprints. ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols said that Davis, runners-up Chula Vista and Tracy, and five other competing cities collectively reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 220 metric tons.

The eight cities were asked to motivate residents to take every day actions, such as biking instead of driving, that would reduce overall energy use and carbon emissions in order to earn points, which represented how much carbon emissions were reduced. Participants were also able to monitor their energy usage through the website, developed by researchers at the ARB, the nonprofit Next 10, and UC Berkeley.

This challenge, launched and funded by the ARB to “inform future efforts to promote and quantify carbon footprint reductions and help establish best practices for citizen engagement,” allowed researchers to examine how best to engage city residents in reducing energy usage and carbon emissions.

According to an ARB spokesperson, “Davis successfully engaged hundreds of residents to track and reduce their energy use and miles driven — to collectively reduce the city’s carbon footprint. Davis has set a goal to engage 75 percent of its households in voluntary greenhouse gas reduction activities by 2015.” Over 439 households in Davis participated to reduce 59 metric tons of carbon emissions.

An event on Sept. 5 will be held to honor the participants in the CoolCalifornia Challenge, and a second round will be announced as well.

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