SUSTAINABILITY PROJECTS BY SILICON VALLEY AGENCIES
Joint Venture works closely with dozens of regional and local agencies, municipalities and other civic organizations to set the guidelines and develop action plans for Silicon Valley's response to climate change. In addition to collaboration with Joint Venture on regional projects, agencies in the Valley are doing much to combat climate change, use energy more efficiently, and become more sustainable on their own. The following list showcases just one environmentally-beneficial project per jurisdiction that has been carried out successfully.
San Mateo County
County of San Mateo
The County of San Mateo in coordination with City and County Association of Government (C/CAG) has developed a San Mateo County Energy Strategy. The strategy addresses energy, water, and collaboration between cities; leadership from the top; and economic development. You can see the Draft Report here.
With support from C/CAG and the BAAQMD, the County has completed community GHG inventories for all the cities in San Mateo County that had not previously completed them.
Unincorporated County of San Mateo
Unincorporated San Mateo County has a new Green Building ordinance that address new residential and commercial construction, as well as 50%-and-larger remodels using the Build It Green point and LEED rating systems. The ordinance is mandatory with incentives such as faster planning and building review and 48 hour turn around time on inspections. You can see the ordinance here.
Town of Atherton
Atherton has devised incentives to convince its inhabitants to be more environmentally responsible. The Environmental Programs Committee offers Green Building Awards for new buildings or homes that made good use of green techniques and sustainability practices. The town also has an annual E-Waste Recycling Event for residents to drop off old batteries, electronics, and pharmaceuticals. You can see Atherton's environmental website here.
City of Belmont
Belmont is encouraging solar energy use by eliminating fees and simplifying the permit process for installation of photovoltaic cells. Learn more here.
City of Brisbane
The City of Brisbane has completed a GHG inventory for Government operations and a communitywide GHG inventory. While Brisbane has not formally adopted a Climate Action Plan, the City is undertaking a variety of measures to reduce its carbon footprint. These include:
- Strengthening and updating the Green Building Ordinance (which was the first in San Mateo County)
- Updating the General Plan to include sections on climate and clean energy
- Implementing solar thermal heating system at the community pool
- Installing LED streetlights
- Promoting home energy retrofits through Energy Upgrade California
- Replacing City Hall lighting, windows, and computer monitors with energy efficient technologies
- Promoting public transportation by supporting the shuttle service, and enhanced pedestrian and bicycle access
- Upgrading water and sewer facilities with high efficiency pumps
Brisbane continues to adopt and implement policies and programs that promote sustainable land use, reduce energy and water consuption, and enhance open space. In September 2009, Assembly member Jerry Hill presented the City of Brisbane with an Environmental Leadership Award in appreciation of its efforts in pursuit of environmental sustainability.
For more information on the city's sustainability initiatives, see here.
City of Burlingame
Burlingame's wastewater treatment plant has a co-generation system that produces energy onsite by using methane gas from the wastewater. This provides the plant with 20 percent of its power needs, which is estimated to save the city $8,000 to $10,000 each month.
Town of Colma
Colma is using infill development to encourage mass transit use. This involves finding new uses for land that has already been developed for another purpose like manufacturing. Colma is using this principle to create high density housing and pedestrian-friendly shopping on El Camino Real, near the BART station. This system has a double advantage of reducing traffic as well as developing new housing without spreading to more land. Learn more here.
City of Daly City
Daly City has helped cut their carbon footprint by participating in San Francisco Community Power's Demand Response Program. With this system, the city gets paid to reduce their energy demands during the highest usage hours. They have also been retrofitting government buildings with lower energy lighting, heating, and ventilation updates. Learn more here.
City of East Palo Alto
East Palo Alto is working to reduce vehicle emissions. They encourage bicycle use by having several parks and trails connect up with the Bay Trail. The city also offers a free shuttle service to Sam Trans and Caltrain. The Ravenswood Business District will utilize smart land use principles: it will be transit-oriented as well as bike and pedestrian friendly.
City of Foster City
Foster City has several practices to help reduce carbon emissions from vehicles. One strategy Foster City has implemented is to lower speed limits throughout the City to better allow for travel in Neighborhood Electric Vehicles. They have also installed fully-actuated traffic signals to maximize traffic flow and minimize idling at intersections.
City of Half Moon Bay
To encourage sustainability and take advantage of their natural beauty, Half Moon Bay has established "Coastside Eco-Cultural Tourism." Some of their eco-tourism practices include requiring businesses to comply with strict environmental standards to be listed, and encouraging visitors to explore the natural habitats of the coast. There are also programs set up for tourists to experience sustainable farms, fishing harbors, and inns.
Town of Hillsborough
Hillsborough has some excellent recycling programs in place. Almost 70 percent of its residential waste gets recycled, and about 90 percent of construction and demolition debris are diverted away from landfills.
City of Menlo Park
Clarum Homes is building a new housing development in Menlo Park called Hamilton Park that offers affordable, environmentally friendly homes. The houses are being marketed to teachers and are located off Willow Road by Highway 101. These "Green-Built" Idea Homes include recycled building materials, efficient lighting and heating systems, and water-conserving features like tankless water heaters and moisture sensors for the landscaping. Additionally, 90 percent of the construction and demolition debris is being recycled, keeping it out of landfills. Menlo Park currently requires 60 percent of all construction debris to be recycled.
City of Millbrae
As of January 1, 2008, food vendors in Millbrae are no longer allowed to use food service ware made out of foam or solid polystyrene. All containers must now be biodegradable, compostable, reusable, or recyclable. This new ordinance applies to all types of vendors, including restaurants, cafes, delis, fast-food chains, and street vendors.
City of Pacifica
Pacifica has a system in place which combines alternative energy with water conservation. The city installed photovoltaic solar panels on its Calera Creek Water Recycling Plant, and the panels have been operating since 2006. The plant saves about 4 million gallons of water every day, which can then be recycled for the Pacifica's grass needs. The solar energy installations generate about 350 kilowatts per day, and reduces the yearly power costs by 10-15 percent.
Town of Portola Valley
In September 2008, Portola Valley opened its new Town Center designed and built to LEED green building standards. The Town Center, including the Town Hall, Library and Community Hall, functions as a model for outreach to the community on green building and exemplifies the Town’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As a result of the innovative measures taken to deconstruct the existing buildings, approximately 90% of the materials were recovered and reused in the new buildings. Wherever possible, reclaimed wood was used, saving old-growth forests and 32 tons of CO2, the use of slag concrete in place of traditional concrete saved 124 tons of CO2 and the 75 kW solar photovoltaic system is expected to save an additional 33 tons of CO2 per year. Portola Valley Town Center
Portola Valley contains a housing development of 205 homes called Portola Valley Ranch, which was designed using several environmentally responsible techniques. The development is dedicated to natural landscaping, to preserve the native environment as much as possible and use space wisely. Native plants and drip irrigation are used throughout the development, which along with the water saving devices installed in the homes cuts back on water usage by two-thirds of the area averages. Portola Valley Ranch
City of Redwood City
In 2007 Redwood City's Recycled Water Project was able to reuse 30 million gallons of water for irrigation and industrial purposes. The city has been making water conservation a key goal, through methods like giving rebates for high efficiency washing machines, to replacing over 8,000 toilets with models requiring less water use. They have also turned several grass playing fields into artificial turf to reduce their watering needs. These efforts will enable Redwood City to stay below their water usage quota.
City of San Bruno
San Bruno Garbage Co., Inc. has put together a comprehensive waste collection and recycling system. They also offer free recycling services for commercial customers to encourage recycling of paper, glass, plastic, and aluminum. All of their garbage trucks even run on alternative fuels.
City of San Carlos
In addition to eliminating solar panel registration fees, San Carlos launched a community purchase program with Solar City, which 18 homes took advantage of to convert to solar energy. This program enabled San Carlos to exceed its goal for carbon emission reduction. Over the next 30 years this will prevent 1.7 million pounds of carbon from being emitted into the atmosphere.
City of San Mateo
San Mateo has been greening their fleet of city vehicles. About one-third of the fleet now uses alternative fuels, and the city has purchased five hybrid and four electric vehicles.
City of South San Francisco
South San Francisco is participating in the Commercial Laundry Program which offers rebates to commercial laundry services for replacing old washing machines with more efficient models. Efficient washers use less water, and therefore less gas for heating the water; they also reduce the amount of electricity needed. Rebates are funded by the California Public Utilities Commission.
Town of Woodside
Woodside is updating its Town Hall with green building innovations. Some of the retrofits include adding energy-efficient lighting fixtures, replacing double-paned windows, and installing a solar energy system. The town library is also set to get solar panels installed.
Santa Clara County
City of Campbell
Campbell adopted the Tier 1 Green Building Recommendations of the Santa Clara Cities Association in December 2007. Some of the recommendations include adopting Build It Green and LEED as the green building standards for new construction, requiring a green building checklist to be filled out for all residential and commercial additions over 500 square feet, and requiring all new city facilities over 5,000 square feet to be certified as LEED Silver.
City of Cupertino
The City of Cupertino is committed to a coordinated sustainability effort realized through the design and implementation of specific programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote conservation throughout our city. The city recently completed its ICLEI municipal greenhouse gas emissions inventory, which was followed by a detailed energy audit working with an independent consultant. Also underway is the city’s business and home energy and water audit programs paired with a Go Green Grant and Tree4Free program for home and business owners as well as schools. The city is also a signatory to the Bay Area Climate Compact and will soon initiate an Environmental Stewardship Task Force to oversee the creation of a citywide sustainability plan, following the completion of our community greenhouse gas emissions inventory.
City of Gilroy
Gilroy offers its residents and businesses free showerheads and aerators in an effort to conserve water. Aerators can help reduce the amount of water coming through a faucet by 60 percent, while still allowing a strong flow. Water-efficient showerheads use only 2.5 gallons-per-minute, while the standard showerhead uses 4.5 gallons-per-minute. This replacement could allow a family of four to save around 20,000 gallons of water in a year.
City of Los Altos
Los Altos, along with Los Altos Hills, has taken advantage of SolarCity's Community Solar Program which allows for a discouted rate on solar panels when group purchases are made. Twenty-three homes participated in 2007, which will result in over 2.3 million pounds of carbon emissions being offset over the next thirty years.
Town of Los Altos Hills
Los Altos Hills has taken several actions towards implementing renewable energy. In 2005 they became the first community in the Bay area to eliminate solar panel permit fees. They have since seen a wave of solar panel installations: thirty-one homes in 2006 and fifty-one in 2007.
Town of Los Gatos
The Town of Los Gatos has been certified as a Green Business through ABAG's Bay Area Green Business Program. To comply with the certification, town employees are asked to maintain the "Green Business Commitments" that accompany the program. Every month, Los Gatos launches a new environmental campaign, highlighting what people can do to reduce greenhouse gases and be more energy efficient. To learn more about the "Growing Green Together" program, contact Monica Renn, (408) 354-682,
City of Milpitas
Milpitas is taking action to prepare for future population growth in a sustainable way. Their Midtown Specific Plan will develop high density housing around mass transit in the city's oldest area. There will also be a focus on making Main Street more pedestrian-friendly.
City of Monte Sereno
Monte Sereno, together with Los Gatos and Saratoga, make up the West Valley Green Leaf Committee, with Monte Sereno Vice Mayor Erin Garner serving as a committee member. This group does a lot to encourage community involvement in environmental issues; for example, in the winter of 2007 Green Leaf organized a competition to see which community could have the highest conversion, per capita, to LED holiday lights.
City of Morgan Hill
Morgan Hill has done a lot of work to conserve water. They offer rebates of $1.50 per square inch up to $2000 for residents who tear out their regular lawn and replacing it with more water-efficient alternatives. They also require all new buildings to install low-flow toilets. Morgan Hill gives out free showerheads and aerators that conserve water, as well as free Water Conservation Kits and Water Wise Garden Information Packets.
City of Mountain View
Mountain View offers numerous rebates for installing water-saving devices. Individual homes can get rebates for washing machines, toilets, irrigation systems, water softener, and landscaping. Businesses can get rebates for commercial versions of those same things, as well as an irrigation controller and financial incentives for reducing water use.
City of Palo Alto
Three council members in Palo Alto are doing their part to reduce carbon emissions. Mayor Klein, Council Member Barton, and Council Member Burt set "low-carbon diet" goals at the 2007 Earth Week. They each pledged to reduce their personal carbon output by 1,000 pounds over the next year.
City of San Jose
In October 2007, San Jose Council adopted the Green Vision, an ambitious fifteen-year strategy to protect the environment and continue on the path toward becoming a sustainable community. Success of the Green Vision will be measured by a triple bottom line: a strengthened regional economy, creation of a more environmentally conscious community, and enhanced quality of life for residents.
The Green Vision’s ten aggressive goals, to be achieved by 2022, will be accomplished by the City working in partnership with residents and businesses. By pursuing these goals, San José has resolved to help lead the nation out of the current economic recession by inspiring new careers and industries to develop the technologies that will ensure reliable, clean energy sources, reduce carbon emissions, minimize the use of non-renewable power, and mitigate harmful impacts on the environment. Through the Green Vision San José will also become more energy efficient, produce and use electricity from clean renewable sources, create green buildings, divert waste from landfills, create greener street systems, expand delivery of recycled water, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To read more of this program, go to http://www.sanjoseca.gov/greenvision.
As part of it’s Green Vision efforts, in October 2008, San José passed a private sector green building policy. The accompanying ordinance establishes mandatory green building certification for certain sizes and types of buildings. For more information: http://www.sanjoseca.gov/planning/green_building/default.asp
San José has several leading waste diversion programs in place. San José’s Construction & Demolition Diversion Deposit Program, the first of its type, has significantly reduced the amount of construction waste that reaches the landfill. Through its civic waste program, San José diverts more than 80% of municipal waste from the landfill.
City of Santa Clara
Silicon Valley Power (SVP) is enabling Santa Clara to use more renewable energy through its Neighborhood Solar Program, which installs solar energy systems at non-profit buildings. These efforts are funded by sponsorships and donations, as well as SVP's own dollar-for-dollar match policy. This program has resulted in solar panel installations at Haman Elementary School and the Valley Village Retirement Center; a third site, the Bill Wilson Center, is scheduled to start adding solar panels in 2009.
City of Saratoga
Saratoga, along with Monte Sereno and Los Gatos, created the West Valley Green Leaf Committee, with Saratoga Vice Mayor Ann Waltonsmith serving on the committee. In April 2008 they hosted a green fair called Get Your Green On, to help inform the community about environmental issues. The fair featured exhibits on alternative transportation, green homes and buildings, solar power, and organic farming, to name a few.
City of Sunnyvale
Since 2004 Sunnyvale has had several policies that encourage green building and sustainable development. Some of the policies include using green building for new developments, adding staff training and education to encourage green building, and giving an additional 5 percent Floor Area Ratio for buildings in the industrial zoning district that get LEED certified.
City of Newark
Thanks to a grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the City recently completed two reports to assist the City in quantifying current carbon emission reduction measures and researching potential future carbon emission reduction projects. The first report, Lighting Fixture Replacement and Aquatic Center Energy Saving Analysis, discusses the progress of two lighting retrofit projects and researches energy source alternatives and efficiency measures for the Silliman Family Aquatic Center. The second report, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Summary Report, details the feasibility of converting the City's fleet to CNG or other alternative fuel vehicles. The information contained in both of these reports is frequently reviewed and updated as the City learns of new technologies and opportunities to save money, increase energy efficiency, and reduce the effects of harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Additional information can be found at http://www.newark.org/residents/going-green/
City of Fremont
Through the Association of Bay Area Governments' Energy Watch program, the City of Fremont recently completed a lighting retrofit of its Development Services Center that will save the city approximately $22,000/year in electricity and eliminate 30 tons of greenhouse gases annually. The City also installed an innovative new "cool roof" at its Senior Center, reducing ghg emissions by an additional 20 tons.
City of Union City
In 2007 Union City, along with BART and AC Transit, started construction on a new transportation hub called the Intermodal Station District. This station will feature solar panels, along with other green building standards. By connecting BART, passenger rail, and bus, this facility will allow for easier transfers between modes of public transportation, thus encouraging its use.
Santa Cruz County
City of Santa Cruz
In Santa Cruz renewable energy is responsible for about 40 percent of all the energy used in City facilities. One way they have achieved this is by installing solar panels on government buildings, like the City Hall Annex Building, the Corporation Yard building, and the Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility. The solar panels on just these three buildings generate over 170,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.
The City of Santa Cruz has completed their 2005 and 2008 greenhouse gas emissions inventories, and a draft Climate Action Plan is in review.
Santa Clara Valley Water District
In 2007 the Santa Clara Valley Water District received the EPA's Water Efficiency Leader Award for their achievements in water conservation. They have been able to save 18 billion gallons of water per year, thanks to measures like offering rebates for more water-efficient appliances, recycling water, and educating people on water conservation techniques. The Water Wise House Call Program is a free service that the Santa Clara Valley Water District offers to survey a home's water system and increase water efficiency.
South Bayside Waste Management Authority
The South Bayside Waste Management Authority is building a new Shoreway Environmental Center, set to open in 2010. This recycling plant is intended to be carbon neutral, by installing solar panels and purchasing carbon offsets from PG&E for all the power they buy from them. The plant will feature single-stream recycling, which allows residents to put all recyclable materials in one bin. It is hoped that this will encourage more people to recycle. The facility will also feature an educational center as well as a larger capacity for the amount of material that can be processed.