Rancho Mirage Environmental Programs are focused on providing sustainable tips, resources & information regarding city programs, requirements & updates for helping the community move towards a more sustainable eco-friendly city.

Air Quality

  • Rancho Mirage purchases CNG (compressed natural gas) or ELEV (extremely low emitting vehicles) vehicles in order to reduce vehicle emissions. In addition, through a grant, Rancho Mirage has purchased two hybrid vehicles which are used for travel around the Palm Springs Valley.
  • The City promotes energy management and conservation efforts of the Sunline Transit Authority and encourages the expanded use of compressed natural gas and hydrogen, buses with bike racks, and other system improvements that enhance overall energy efficiency and conservation. (Bus stops with solar panels).
  • Rancho Mirage promotes the development of pedestrian-oriented retail centers, as well as community-wide multi-use trails, bike paths and other desirable alternatives to motor vehicles. The City maintains a network of equestrian and pedestrian trails as well as bike and cart paths which provide the infrastructure for alternate methods of transportation to motor vehicles (Map on the website). Rancho Mirage has 23 miles of Class I meandering bike paths behind curb paths and nine miles of striped Class II on street bike lanes. All major arterials will someday have both Class I paths and Class II bike lanes.
  • The City is mandated by State law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate warming.  One of the programs the City has implemented to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions is a flexible work schedule at City Hall.  City Hall remains open Monday-Friday for our residents’ convenience, but employees can work longer hours (9 hour days) during the week with one day off every two weeks. Employees still work 80 hours every two weeks but with the 9/80 schedule, that’s one less day of driving per employee.  Other greenhouse gas emission reduction programs include turf conversion, relamping City facilities to low-energy bulbs and similar programs.  These all add up to the City’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gases and complying with state law.
  • Rancho Mirage enforces compliance with all applicable SCAQMD (South Coast Air Quality Management District) requirements throughout the City. Additionally, the City utilizes its water truck to maintain PM10 (airborne particulate matter smaller than 10 micrometers in diameter) compliance on all public properties.
  • All proposed projects are reviewed by the City for potential adverse effects on air quality.

Energy Conservation

  • Consultants constantly monitor and adjust, via the internet, both City Hall and Library HVAC (heating/ventilating/air conditioning) systems in order to save energy and operate efficiently. All City facilities have been upgraded with energy efficient lighting and upgrades to building HVAC equipment and software.
  • Rancho Mirage promotes energy efficiency and conservation in all areas of community development, including transportation, development planning, and public and private sector construction and operation, as well as in the full range of residential and non-residential projects.
  • Rancho Mirage’s use of 26 watt fluorescent lighting fixtures as opposed to 150 watt incandescent bulbs in Citywide landscaping lighting has reduced energy consumption. The City also uses fluorescent lighting in all City facilities to further reduce energy consumption.
  • Rancho Mirage was the first City in the Coachella Valley to convert its traffic signals from incandescent lamps to LED lamps, which was done in 1999. The City’s use of LED (light emitting diode) traffic and pedestrian signal indicators as opposed to incandescent lighting has reduced energy consumption by 66%.
  • The City supports public and private efforts to develop and operate alternative systems of solar and electric production that take advantage of local renewable resources.
  • Rancho Mirage evaluates all new proposed projects for solar protection in order to reduce heat gain and promote energy conservation (overhangs on window and doors).
  • Rancho Mirage was the first City in the Palm Springs Valley to be a Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP) jurisdiction.
  • The City of Rancho Mirage Public Library, which opened in 2006, was designed with an HVAC (heating/ventilating/ air conditioning) system that uses four air handlers to efficiently balance the energy requirements for the building to conserve energy. A new “chiller” for the HVAC system (funded by a grant) was installed in 2010 and increased energy savings at the library.
  • In July of 2012, the City of Rancho Mirage became the first Coachella Valley jurisdiction to adopt CVAG’s Green for Life Green Building Program, and take up the program’s motto of “Leading the Way in Energy Efficiency.”
  • In May 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) awarded the City its Energy Star award, the first jurisdiction in the Coachella Valley to receive such recognition.  The Energy Star award recognizes the City’s energy saving efforts.  To be certified, a building must meet strict energy performance standards set by the EPA. Government buildings that earn the EPA’s Energy Star certification use an average of 35 percent less energy than typical buildings and also release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Environmental Conservation

  • Use of rubberized asphalt as overlay material on City streets makes use of recycled used tires per AB 939 regulations.
  • The City’s library utilizes recycled rubber tiles in the Children’s Room as opposed to carpeting or some other surface material.
  • City Street Maintenance staff collects debris on and along the City’s streets. Trash is properly disposed of, and tires or recyclable items, such as wood, metal or green waste, are transported to permitted recycling facilities for processing.
  • The City encourages the reduction and recycling of household and business waste by incorporating conditions of approval that require recycling during project construction and recycling facilities be designed into all proposed projects.
  • The City supports Riverside County’s Backyard Composting Programs.
  • The City operates a Business Waste Reduction Program. City staff or its consultants are available to assist businesses in utilizing internal source reduction practices, such as reusing packaging material (i.e. pallets and shipping crates).
  • The City has a “Buy Recycled Procurement Policy” and a “Government Source Reduction Program” which require the use of vendors that offer supplies with recycled content and the use of two sided copies, durable plates, mugs and electronic file storage.
  • In 2006, the City passed an ordinance requiring all construction and demolition sites to recycle all recyclable materials on-site. Ordinance #918 (Title 7 of the RMMC) has resulted in approximately 22,000 tons per year of materials being recycled.
  • The City requires all new commercial and residential projects to provide sufficient space within and outside any proposed building to properly accommodate recycling containers in conjunction with our service provide Burrtec Waste and Recycling.
  • The City operates a residential curbside commingled (metal, plastic, aluminum, paper, cardboard) recycling program. Residential neighborhoods, through the use of wheeled carts, recycle commingled items.
  • The City requires Burrtec to provide a commercial on-site recycling program. Cardboard, organic waste, and commingled recyclables are collected and recycled.
  • The City operates commingled and cardboard recycling programs at all City facilities including City Hall, Library, Fire Stations, Public Works Yard, all Rancho Mirage owned senior housing facilities, and all City parks.
  • The City ensures that all special events within the City recycle to the greatest extent possible. The ANA Inspiration, for example, recycles about 4 tons of cardboard and tens of thousands of beverage containers every year. Recycling containers for beverage containers are provided by the City through grant funds.
  • During the holiday season, the City conditions Burrtec to provide holiday greenery recycling. All residents can have their Christmas trees or other greenery picked up on their normal solid waste service day. All greenery is recycled.
  • The City regulates and monitors green waste hauled by commercial haulers from Rancho Mirage.
  • In Fiscal Year 2011-12, the City and Burrtec kicked off a no-charge curbside pickup of bulky items to its residents. Residents with an individual account with Burrtec, may schedule an appointment with Burrtec to have bulky items picked up on their regular recycling/trash day at no charge.
  • The City provides children’s programs designed to increase recycling awareness. An example of this is the attendance of the “Rad Hatter” at the Art Affaire. The Rad Hatter raises children’s recycling awareness by allowing children to construct hats from recycled materials.
  • The City continues to make available free technical recycling services to all businesses, schools and homeowner associations in Rancho Mirage. The City also contracts with a consultant to monitor construction and demolition recycling activities.
  • The City produces various recycling promotional pieces throughout the year that are available at City facilities (City Hall and Library) and/or mailed to residents and businesses. Examples include recycling wheels (which detail what can go in a commingled container), Construction and Demolition Handbooks (booklets that inform contractors what local facilities are available for construction and demolition recycling) and various other commercial and residential brochures promoting recycling.
  • The City has a household hazardous waste (HHW) program which is free for City residents by calling (800) 449-7587. The HHW program covers the following:
    • Sharps or needle disposal service via U.S. Mail
    • Free pick up at your residence of household hazardous waste such as household batteries, fluorescent tubes, paint, insecticides, car batteries, oil, etc. If you have a pick-up of HHW scheduled and have e-waste (electronic) to dispose of, it can be picked up for free.
  • Large bulky e-waste (e.g. televisions, computer monitors) can also be picked up for free by scheduling a bulky item pick up with Burrtec.
  • The City holds 3-4 document shredding events annually for its residents. All collected documents are shredded and the resulting material is recycled. These events also allow residents to drop off e-waste (electronic) at the same time. The shredding events are held at the west end of the Library parking lot.

General Conservation

  • Rancho Mirage has approved at least five (5) LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings, including office buildings, apartment buildings, and the first LEED certified retail commercial center to be built in the Coachella Valley.
  • Rancho Mirage’s Conservation and Open Space Element of the General Plan promotes the conservation, efficient use and thoughtful management of energy sources and mineral deposits as well as the long-term viability of limited and non-renewable resources.
  • Rancho Mirage’s Draft Section 19 Specific Plan includes Green Builder guidelines and development incentives.
  • The City features environmental information and recycling opportunities in its quarterly newsletter, R/M Insider.
  • Approximately 33 restaurants are participating in the City’s food waste program. This program is diverting tonnage that would otherwise go to the landfill. The food waste is mixed with green waste at Burrtec’s site in Coachella and recycled into agricultural products.
  • Recycling at Rancho Mirage special events has increased. The City provides and places recycling containers at all special events in order to capture beverage container recycling.

Funding Sources for Energy Related Conservation Measures

The Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE) is an innovative way for property owners to finance energy efficiency projects. PACE allows an eligible property owner to obtain private financing through self-assessing the financing on their own property.  The PACE program is available in Rancho Mirage.

There are a number of programs through PACE which are administered by the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG).  Please contact CVAG at 760-340-5949 for further information about the PACE program. The City of Rancho Mirage does not administer nor finance the PACE program.      

Water Conservation

  • The Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) offers free Weather-Based Irrigation Controllers, allowing residents to participate in water savings program.

Wildlife Conservation

  • The City encourages the use of naturally occurring desert plant materials and discourages the use of non-native plant materials that are harmful to local plant and animal species in landscaping for development projects to the greatest extent possible.
  • The City built (1999-2000) and maintains the Bighorn Sheep Habitat Safety Fence which has resulted in the complete elimination of endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep deaths due to urbanization.
  • The City contracts with the Bighorn Institute (BI) annually to provide input to the City as to how best assist the endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep that reside in the mountains adjacent to Rancho Mirage. The BI inspects the bighorn sheep fence on a monthly basis and does minor maintenance. They also provide a quarterly report to the City on the health of the bighorn sheep.
  • The City built and maintains a “guzzler” (artificial spring) for the bighorn sheep and other wildlife in the Preserve area in the hills south of Highway 111 near City Hall.