Bottom Line: Green Teams can make organizations more sustainable and businesses more profitable.
Some employees respond to our current sustainability challenges and opportunities by becoming intrapreneurs, regardless of their role or positions. These intrapreneurs start green teams in their organizations to make them more sustainable and--for businesses--more profitable.
Bottom Line: The Alliance’s commuter shuttle service offers conveniently scheduled vehicles to carry commuters in comfort from BART and Caltrain stations to within easy walking distance of many major San Mateo County employers..
Lots of people would like to take transit to work, but for many, the distance between their work and the nearest Caltrain or SamTrans station is too far to walk. A recent survey by the Alliance found that distance from work to transit station was the second most cited reason for not taking transit for a commute.
Bottom Line: Ecology Action’s RightLights Program provides subsidized energy efficiency upgrades of business lighting and refrigeration systems, with free professional assistance to help you lower your energy bills and boost your cash flow.
Is your business’ utility bill too high? An innovative non-profit offers a great opportunity to businesses to reduce their energy bills, save money, and boost productivity.
Bottom Line: GreenPoint Rated is a system which rewards building professionals and homeowners who create green homes by allowing them to brand their products with a recognizable, trustworthy seal of approval.
How important is energy/environmental friendliness in the sale or purchase of a home? Environmentally friendly homes not only save resources and money, they can last longer, be healthier and more comfortable, and hold their value better than similarly priced homes. But how can you tell if a home really is green?
Bottom Line: Use this font for all your reports, charts, and other word processing needs. It uses 20% less ink, saves you money, and generates less waste from printer cartridges.
The prints we make for our 'daily use' not only use paper, but also ink. Plastic printer cartridges, if not recycled, generate waste and fill our landfills. With millions upon millions of printers in the world, imagine the impact of reducing, if only by a little, the amount of ink used in our printing process.
Bottom Line: Vampire power usage (also called “stand-by” power usage) can be eliminated by following a few simple steps
Your home electronics use a lot of electricity when they are turned on, but did you know that many electronics and computer equipment, go into stand-by and continue to consume electricity, even after you've turned them off?
Bottom Line: The College of San Mateo is offering two innovative new classes that will help advance your career in the alternative and renewable energy field.
Dependence on fossil fuel energy sources is a continued threat to the long-term sustainability of our community. While most people know that wind, geothermal, and solar energy are fast growing industries in California, few have the knowledge or background in these areas to make a career in alternative energy. In fact, with a stagnant economy and high unemployment, renewable and alternative energy careers (so called “green tech” jobs) are one of the few areas of job growth in the country.
Bottom Line: The City of San Mateo and Shelter Network team up to renovate a city-owned single occupancy hotel to help get chronically homeless people off the street.
In 2007, the City of San Mateo and Shelter Network, launched a new program to help meet the needs of the chronically homeless population in the city (those who typically do not benefit from traditional shelter services due to multiple barriers including mental health or addiction). The centerpiece of the program is the newly rehabilitated Vendome Hotel. This single-occupancy hotel, owned by the City of San Mateo, was renovated with the help of local community members and businesses, and is now operated by the Shelter Network.
Bottom Line: City governments make it easy for residents and businesses to stop the flow of junk mail to our mailboxes.
Junk Mail is a big problem. We all get it, and 9 times out of 10, that piece of junk mail goes right to the recycle bin. Every year about 42 billion pieces of unsolicited mail are sent to unwilling recipients in the US. This plethora of unwanted mail has immense costs. It robs our forests of over 100 million trees every year. Then it costs us $320 million annually nationwide to dispose of it all. According to San Francisco Department of the Environment’s calculations, it costs each American about 234 minutes a year to sort through the junk.
PUNCHLINE: The “SMC Ready” Program offers a wealth of prudent tips and resources to help our County prepare for the unexpected emergency.
The "SMC Ready" program is part of the County’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) which is funded through a Joint Powers Agreement between the 20 incorporated cities and the County of San Mateo. The SMC Ready program has a great website that provides tips and resources for businesses, households and communities in the event of an emergency.
Bottom Line: At the heart of industrial waste prevention is the idea that every product, service, and manufacturing process can benefit from a Life-Cycle Assessment.
By now, most of us are probably familiar with the iconic 3 R’s of early environmental and waste prevention slogans: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The 3 R’s have provided a simple, yet solid foundation on which consumers can base their purchasing and disposal-related decisions. However, when the focus of waste prevention shifts upstream to the world of design, manufacturing, and industry, the 3 R’s often fall short of achieving their mission.
Bottom Line: Fill your car with high quality biodiesel at Autpoia Biofuels, a Biodiesel Filling Station and Eco Store located in downtown San Mateo.
Austin Mader-Clark, an avid walker, cyclist, airplane pilot and passionate advocate for alternative, non-petroleum-based fuels, challenges others to "fill their tank and save the world" with her innovative new approach to making alternative fuel available in a centralized and convenient location. On Earth Day 2008 she opened Autopia Biofuels located at 1025 South Railroad Avenue in downtown San Mateo.
Bottom Line: Using polystyrene food packaging is bad for the environment and the associated marine debris is expensive for local governments. Be one of the many local governments across the nation to enact a Polystyrene Ban.
Local governments across the nation are prohibiting the use of non-recyclable plastics such as foamed polystyrene in takeout disposable food packaging because they are frustrated with the increasing amount of non-recyclable food packaging waste in our marine environment, streets, storm drains and landfills. Studies have shown that in the some areas of the Pacific plastic outweighs plankton by a factor of 46! Polystyrene is impractical to recycle due to its light weight, takes thousands of years to decompose and is the most common form of marine debris. Managing the debris costs local governments millions in storm drain clean up costs.
Bottom Line: Commuter tax benefit program saves employees on federal income taxes and saves employers on payroll related taxes.
As of February 2009, the Federal tax code allows employers and employees to set aside pre-tax income to pay for transit commuting and parking costs. The tax code allows tax-free transportation fringe benefits of up to $230 per month per employee for transit expenses and up to $230 per month for qualified parking (includes BART stations). Qualified parking must be near an employer's worksite or at a facility from which an employee commutes. Commuters can receive both the transit and parking benefits - up to $460 per month.
Bottom Line: San Mateo County Farm Bureau, Visitors Bureau and Harbor District Team Up to Encourage Use of Locally Grown (and Caught) Products.
We are fortunate to live in California with so many fresh food options, grown right here in our backyard. So why should be purchase food grown out of state (or country) that has to be trucked or shipped thousands of miles? Purchasing locally grown foods benefits the local economy, saves energy, preserves the environment and reduces CO2 emissions. The "San Mateo County: As Fresh as it Gets" Awards program recognizes local restaurants, hotels and caterers that make it a point to buy and serve produce from local San Mateo County growers, seafood caught off of San Mateo County's coastline, local goat cheese and beer and wine made in the county. A corporate category was added this year to recognize companies making an effort to serve their employees or students the freshest local fare.
Bottom Line: Green business certification is a marketing asset, cost cutting measure, energy saver, workforce morale booster and overall smart business strategy.The Bay Area Green Business Program is a successful partnership between cities, counties, environmental agencies, and utility companies that assist businesses in transitioning to practices that are environmentally friendly. There is often an upfront time and dollar investment in gaining green business certification, but almost all businesses agree the savings are worth it after a short payback period. The largest cost saving efforts usually include waste reduction and recycling, lighting upgrades, water conservation, and sourcing recycled products. Local colleges and universities may have graduate level students that are willing to help with energy audits and compliance reviews. Once a business satisfies the requirements on the green business checklist, including visits by PG&E and the water agency, the Green Business Coordinator verifies the results.
Bottom Line: San Mateo County provides free, comprehensive workforce development services to job seekers, laid-off workers, and employers.
In San Mateo County, the PeninsulaWorks One-Stop Career System, an initiative of the Workforce Investment Board (WIB), spearheads an integrated approach to workforce development.
Bottom Line: Green-Collar Jobs provide a prosperous pathway out of poverty for our people and our planet.
"Let's take the people who most need work, connect them with the work that most needs to be done, and fight pollution and poverty at the same time." Van Jones, Founder, Green For All
Green-collar jobs are like blue-collar jobs with a sustainable, community-building twist. Green-collar jobs are meaningful, pay family wages, and provide opportunities for advancement along a career track of increasing skills and wages. Green-collar jobs are in growing industries that are helping us kick the fossil fuel habit, curbing greenhouse-gas emissions, eliminating toxins, and protecting natural systems. Green-collar workers are already installing solar panels, retrofitting buildings to make them more energy efficient, constructing transit lines, refining waste vegetable oil into biodiesel, erecting wind farms, repairing hybrid cars, installing green rooftops, planting trees, and so much more.
Bottom Line: Composting your kitchen waste and yard trimmings helps divert waste from landfills, saves you money on trash collection, and reconnects you to the natural cycle of nutrients.
Each week, when the time comes to dispose of (or recycle) yard trimmings and food waste, we all have two main options: 1) combine food scraps, soiled paper, and other biodegradable materials with yard waste to be composted; or, 2) put everything in the garbage bin, ensuring high trash collection costs, an increasing reliance on landfills, and a disconnection from the natural cycle of nutrients. We think #1 sounds better, don't you?
Yard and food waste make up roughly 30% of the waste stream. Composting your kitchen waste and yard trimmings helps divert that waste from the landfill, waterways and water treatment facilities, and is a natural process that recycles decomposed organic materials into a rich soil.
Bottom Line: Transit Oriented Development is a smart approach to accommodate future growth in San Mateo County, and reduce our communities' environmental impact.
Transit Oriented Development (TOD), sometimes called "Smart Growth" or the "New Urbanism" is an approach to planning communities which concentrates more dense, mixed-use development along transit corridors and near transit hubs. Mixed-use is usually interpreted as developing housing above commercial/retail space, but can also include residential/office use or offices combined with retail shops. On the peninsula, TOD is most appropriate when built near CalTrain stations, but TOD can also be included along major bus routes such as El Camino Real.