Green Building, CO2 Reduction, Sustainability and other Environmental Programs and Policies

Jurisdictions across the country and world have adopted policies and implemented programs to lessen the environmental – and financial – impacts from private and public building projects. This list is just a snapshot in time of the best examples we know about.

Local Programs

In addition to our San Mateo Countywide Green Building Guidelines, an educational effort within the county, several cities and towns are stepping up with their own ways of encouraging or requiring green building.

  • San Mateo County has a Sustainable Building Policy, which requires that County buildings over 5000 square feet attain the highest practicable LEED rating.
  • The Board enacted an ordinance in 2008 banning the use of Styrofoam food service ware in County facilities. Biodegradable, compostable, reusable or recyclable plastic food service ware must be used instead.
  • On March 27, 2008, the Board of Supervisors passed a new Green Building Ordinance that applies to San Mateo County unincorporated areas. After a 6 month pilot study period, recommendations were presented to the Board of Supervisors and revisions were made that went into effect on November 6, 2008.
Concrete made with flyash
  • The City of San Mateo passed a policy in the Rail Corridor Plan (Policy 6.35) that encourages sustainable development and for future projects within the TOD areas to submit the County's Sustainable Green Building Checklist with their applications. One such project is the new LEED Silver rated, City of San Mateo Public Library.
    Sustainable Development Policy
    San Mateo Info on Library
    RW Info on Library

  • Portola Valley built a Town Center, opened in 2008, using multiple green building practices. It is one of only a handful of municipal projects in the nation to have won Platinum certification under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards of the U.S. Green Building Council. The Center has also won numerous other awards. Portola Valley Info

  • Most of the cities and towns in San Mateo County have C&D ordinances.

Other Policies in San Mateo County

  • Wood burning ordinances help both outdoor and indoor air quality. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has a model ordinance used by many cities in the county.

  • CO2 Emissions Reduction:
    San Mateo County made a commitment to work with Sustainable Silicon Valley to reduce CO2 emissions. The Board of Supervisors passed a resolution setting goals for County facilities.

Programs in the Bay Area

Several cities and counties have some kind of green building program. Marin County has the most forward thinking policies.

Other Great Programs

Aspen, CO has been innovative and proactive in promoting renewable energy, efficiency and green building. The first program was REMP, the Renewable Energy Mitigation Program and now they have CORE, Community Office for Resource Efficiency. Aspen Info

Other leaders: