Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Reduction
Since the 1970s, air quality throughout the Bay Area has improved significantly as a result of federal clean air regulations and vigorous efforts of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to implement air quality improvement goals. However, the twentieth century brought forward new concerns about pollutant emissions in the form of greenhouse gases, which climate scientists indicate are a major source of global climate change. And while greenhouse gas reduction remains a regional and global issue, each jurisdiction in the Bay Area (and California) is obligated to define and implement strategies to reduce localized greenhouse gas emissions, with the aim to achieve the statewide reductions established by the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 and related legislation.
Burlingame first addressed greenhouse gas emission in its 2009 Climate Action Plan (CAP). The CAP set a framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and the City has made considerable progress over the years in climate actions and sustainability. This General Plan serves as an opportunity to assess the City’s greenhouse gas reduction progress and update the CAP. The General Plan is built upon a strong sustainable development foundation that will move Burlingame forward in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and meet updated reduction targets. The CAP compiles all the climate action related goals and policies found throughout these chapters into a one-stop climate action plan. The CAP also incorporates the climate change environmental analysis from the General Plan’s environmental impact report (EIR), including Burlingame’s greenhouse gas emission inventory and quantified emission reduction measures.
The following goals and policies will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants.
Achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions consistent with State goals.
Prepare an Electric Vehicle Strategic Plan to support and expand Burlingame’s electric vehicle network and public charging stations. Establish parking standards that prioritize electric vehicle spaces. Require new residential developments to install or be pre-wired for electric vehicle charging stations.
Support energy efficiency improvements in the aging building stock citywide. Encourage energy efficiency audits and upgrades at the time of sale for existing homes and buildings. Host energy efficiency workshops, and distribute information to property owners, tenants, and residents. Publicize available programs such as PACE financing and San Mateo Energy Watch programs. Incentivize low-cost retrofits to residents and businesses.
Minimize exposure of residents and employees of local businesses to harmful air pollutants.
Work with local businesses, industries, and developers to reduce the impact of stationary and mobile sources of pollution. Ensure that new development does not create cumulative net increases in air pollution, and require Transportation Demand Management Techniques (TDM) when air quality impacts are unavoidable.
Require that developers mitigate impacts on indoor air quality for new residential and commercial developments, particularly along higher-density corridors, near industrial uses, and along the freeway and rail line, such as in North Burlingame, along Rollins Road, and in Downtown. Potential mitigation strategies include installing air filters (MERV 13 or higher), building sound walls, and planting vegetation and trees as pollution buffers.
Avoid locating stationary and mobile sources of air pollution near sensitive uses such as residences, schools, childcare facilities, healthcare facilities, and senior living facilities. Where adjacencies exist, include site planning and building features that minimize potential conflicts and impacts.
Avoid locating residential developments and other sensitive uses near significant pollution sources such as freeways and large stationary source emitters. Require Bay Area Air Quality Management District recommended procedures for air modeling and health risk assessment for new sensitive land uses located near sources of toxic air contaminants.
Place sensitive uses within development projects (e.g. residences, daycares, medical clinics) as far away from emission sources (including loading docks, busy roads, stationary sources) as possible. Design open space, commercial buildings, or parking garages between sensitive land uses and air pollution sources as a buffer. Locate operable windows, balconies, and building air intakes far away from emission sources.
Require construction projects to implement the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s Best Practices for Construction to reduce pollution from dust and exhaust as feasible; require construction projects to transition to electrically-powered construction equipment as it becomes available; and seek construction contractors who use alternative fuels in their equipment fleet.