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: Experts from all branches of science meet monthly to discuss a wide variety of topics with interested community members at SRI International in Menlo Park.
When Roger Whiting and Nancy Peterson founded Café Scientifique Silicon Valley in 2004, science cafés were nearly unheard of in the U.S. For its first event, Café Scientifique invited Stanford physicist and Nobel Laureate Doug Osheroff to discuss "The Columbia Accident Investigation and the Future of Human Space Flight.”
Bottom Line: BAWSCA has the tools and know-how to help you save water by creating a beautiful backyard suitable to California’s climate.
Have you ever wondered how your garden might look if you switched to native species -- less care and water needed – or what it would take to compost your own mulch for soil amendment? How do you start thinking about these things? Who can help?
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: San Mateo County has an array of help centers for people in abusive households or relationships to turn to.
The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors recently made a joint statement: "There is no excuse for domestic violence. If you know of someone who is currently in an abusive relationship, please share this information with him or her. You may save a life."
Bottom Line: Local Environmental Education Programs offer students, teachers, and families a chance to explore their natural world, develop a deep appreciation for our local environment and an understanding of the importance of responsible stewardship.
There are many environmental education programs offered throughout San Mateo County. These incredible programs give students opportunities to observe natural ecosystems, engage in hands-on discovery activities, and receive knowledgeable scientific instruction. These valuable programs lead students to an appreciation of the natural world and an awareness of the importance of responsible environmental stewardship. There is a range of affordable or free environmental educational programs available for student groups, teachers, individuals, and families.
Bottom Line: The three colleges that make up the San Mateo County Community College District offer over 90 vocational-technical programs to help you get the job you want!
The San Mateo Community College District is a three-college district located between San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The College of San Mateo, Canada College in Redwood City, and Skyline College in San Bruno serve more than 40,000 students each year and offer the first two years of instruction in a wide variety of 4-year college transfer programs as well as more than 90 vocational-technical programs.
Bottom Line: With water fees rising more than 10% annually and water shortage in California it is prudent and economical to reduce your water usage. With a few simple changes, taking advantage of a number available incentives and rebates it is easy to reduce your water consumption significantly.
In the US the average person uses about 150 gallon per day according to the United Nations 2008 Development Report Update. This is more than twice as much as the average person in Germany, about 8 times more than the average person in China. Note that "an American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the typical person living in a developing country slum uses in a whole day ". The most recent measured data for San Mateo County show an average use of 87.1 gallon per day per person (gpd) , with significant differences between Water Districts, ranging from 267 gpd in Hillsborough to less than 50 gpd in South San Francisco. About 68% of the water in San Mateo County is consumed by residential use.
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: Incentives from California and the Federal Government for installing solar at your home or business make it a great time to GO SOLAR!
California is striving to create thousands of megawatts of new solar-generated electricity, moving the state towards a clean energy future. And you can help! Join the thousands of home and business owners who have earned cash back rebates by installing solar energy systems through the California Solar Initiative. Customers earn cash rebates for every watt of solar energy generated on homes, businesses, farms, schools, and government and non-profit organizations.
Bottom Line: There are local, free and low-cost health clinics available that offer a variety of services to meet all healthcare needs.
The San Mateo County Medical Center operates several outpatient clinics throughout San Mateo County that specialize in a range of services, such as STD screening and treatment, HIV or AIDS services, pediatrics and urgent care and much more. The San Mateo Medical Center is dedicated to serving the healthcare needs of all residents of San Mateo County, with an emphasis on education and prevention, and without regard for ability to pay. Their Mobile Health Clinic offers convenient medical care for low-income and homeless people and no one is denied service. If you don't have insurance, their Community Health Advocates will help you find affordable healthcare coverage.
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: Public utilities reimburse ratepayers for the extra cost of buying energy efficient products.
Because of an innovative "decoupling" revenue model, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) can actually make money by selling less of its product - energy! Lucky for you, this can save you lots of money and helps the environment! PG&E has a host of incentive programs and rebates to encourage its business and residential customers to conserve energy. The number of incentive programs and rebates are too many to list, but here are a few to get you started:
Bottom Line: Dee Harley is milking her way to success by showing her goat farm is good for the economy, environment and the community.
Harley Farms in Pescadero started 16 years ago with six goats and has since grown into a fully self-sustaining 267+ goat operation and the only dairy farm in San Mateo County. The nine-acre farm is a farmstead dairy, meaning the cheese produced comes directly from the farms animals. It has received six national cheese awards and was the recipient the 2008 Sustainable San Mateo County Award, and the 2008 San Mateo County Farmer of the Year award. It also was featured in a February 2007 New York Times article about agri-tourism (see Eco-Tourism Article), a concept in which small farms open up to curious visiting urbanites.
Bottom Line: Local community colleges are expanding vocational training in the growing clean energy fields to produce highly coveted employees.
The San Mateo County Community College District Vocational Programs train people to enter specific career fields upon completion of coursework. Vocational programs offer a wide variety of career choices including automotive technology, child development, graphic design and dental hygiene. Many community groups offer scholarships for particular fields and for individuals who have specific needs or backgrounds.
Bottom Line: No need to go to Costa Rica, Eco-tourism opportunities abound right here in San Mateo County
Visit the Half Moon Bay Coastside, 80 miles of coastal splendor filled with abundant natural, historical and cultural wonders. From some of the richest marine reserves and wetlands on the California coast, to small working farms where you can explore a barnyard and dine on farm-fresh organic produce; from shopping on historic Main Street in Half Moon Bay, to fishing for wild salmon or albacore tuna - the Half Moon Bay Eco-Tourism campaign has it all.
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: Gophers are smart and persistent animals, but with a few tricks you can protect your garden.
Gopher-free garden? Well, OK, not really.
If you live in parts of the west where pocket gophers are common and you are a gardener, you no doubt have watched plants disappear as gophers pull them underground.
While it is impossible to keep all gophers out of your garden, there are things you can do to control their ravages. Of these suggestions that follow, I've found predators, raised beds and traps solutions that allow me to enjoy productive gardening.
Bottom Line: Sequoia Healthcare District is working to meet the needs of a growing community through grants and innovative new programs.A new 2007 agreement between the Sequoia Healthcare District and Catholic Health Care West, gave the community's healthcare programs and services a facelift. Initiatives include upgrading and expanding the capabilities of Sequoia Hospital, the HeartSafe program, community grants, a nursing education partnership, and free medical clinics.