On March 23, for our third Happy Hour of the year, we welcomed sustainability managers from the Cities of Brisbane, Burlingame and Half Moon Bay, as well as a representative from the San Mateo County Office of Sustainability, to discuss sustainability efforts in our county.

Adrienne Etherton, sustainability manager for Brisbane, explained how the city adopted a strong reach code ordinance for new buildings in 2019, addressing electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, building electrification and on-site solar generation. Brisbane also passed an ordinance requiring most owners of commercial, industrial and residential buildings that are 10,000 square feet or larger to prepare an annual energy and water benchmarking report and submit it to the city, starting on May 15.

Brisbane is working on adopting the County’s disposable food ware ordinance and had unanimous approval for it on its first reading on March 18. Make sure to join Brisbane’s upcoming virtual Climate Jeopardy, hosted by Brisbane’s Open Space and Ecology Committee, to celebrate Earth Day on April 21!

Burlingame’s sustainability coordinator, Sigalle Michael, also explained her city’s reach code ordinance’s key requirements. Burlingame has started an induction cooktop loaner program for city residents to try out an electric cooktop before deciding to invest in one. Burlingame’s EV Action Plan has a goal of having 100 EV stations (ports) in operation in the city by 2030.

Veronika Vostinak, the city of Half Moon Bay’s sustainability analyst, detailed her city’s Climate Action and Adaption Plan, which is targeted for adoption later this year. Half Moon Bay is working toward adopting a reach code ordinance to encourage building electrification. It will be the first city in San Mateo County to implement the county’s disposable food ware ordinance, and it included some stricter provisions than the county’s ordinance, such as requiring “accessories” (e.g., condiment packets and utensils) to be distributed only upon request. Half Moon Bay’s ordinance will begin implementation and enforcement starting in July 2021. The city is also assisting Circular SMC to pilot a reusable take-out container program to evaluate the feasibility of the program.

Denise Lin of the County of San Mateo Office of Sustainability invited us to the Bay Area Regional Energy Network’s (BayREN) Earth Day Webinar on April 21 (Spanish) and April 22 (English), which will focus on ways to reduce your energy use at home. In addition, Denise highlighted an exciting program with local libraries that enables residents to check out a Home Energy and Water Saving Toolkit to help them conserve resources at home – and save some money at the same time. Interested? You can check out a kit here: https://tinyurl.com/smclibrarytoolkit.

Overall, San Mateo County and its cities are making great strides to improve our county’s sustainability! Keep your eyes out for your city’s progress on adopting a reach code, a disposable food ware ordinance and more. And don’t forget to join the various sustainability events happening all over in the county during Earth Day month – including our next Happy Hour on April 15, which will focus on Sustainable Transportation – click here for more info and to register!