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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.

Goal: HP-2

Achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions consistent with State goals.

Continue to partner with San Mateo County’s Regionally Integrated Climate Action Planning Suite (RICAPS) to prepare annual Municipal Greenhouse Gas inventories. 

Agency Coordination Studies and Reports

Continue the partnership with the San Mateo County RICAPS to prepare annual community-wide greenhouse gas inventories. 

Agency Coordination Studies and Reports

Work to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions locally that are consistent with the targets established by AB 32 (California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006) and subsequent supporting legislation. 

Agency Coordination

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.

Master Plans Development Review

Maintain the policy of using 100% renewable energy for the City’s municipal accounts. Encourage residents and businesses to opt up to 100% renewable purchase for additional community-wide greenhouse gas reductions. Encourage and support opportunities for developing local solar power projects. 

Agency Coordination Public Information and Education

Encourage homeowners to install solar power systems. Provide information to homeowners on the benefits of solar power and funding opportunities. Promote Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs that finance renewable energy systems. Offer incentives for home solar power systems. 

Services and Operations Public Information and Education

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. 

Services and Operations Public Information and Education

Continue to enhance energy efficiency in City facilities. Conduct periodic energy audits to assess energy efficiency progress and needed improvements. 

Services and Operations

Aim for new construction and major renovations of City facilities to be zero net energy.

Services and Operations

Encourage the advancement of emerging technologies and innovations around energy, waste, water, and transportation. Support local green technology businesses. Explore demonstration project opportunities. 

Public Information and Education

Attract green technology businesses to Burlingame. Focus outreach on established and new green technology businesses along Rollins Road. Encourage existing businesses to integrate green practices by offering an annual green business award, workshops, and informational materials. 

Services and Operations Partnerships with the Private Sector

Expand composting services to multi-family residential buildings and commercial buildings. 

Services and Operations

Encourage the South Bayside Waste Management Authority (SBWMA) to explore and consider rate plans that support zero waste goals. Identify opportunities to support and implement zero waste goals and strategies for the City and community. 

Agency Coordination Services and Operations

Purchase electric or hybrid models of lawn and garden and construction equipment for City maintenance operations, as feasible. 

Services and Operations

Support the transition of yard and garden equipment from gasoline to electric fuel sources. 

Services and Operations

Support the transition from tank-based, natural gas water heaters to solar, or electrically-powered water heaters in residential development.

Public Information and Education

Goal: HP-3

Minimize exposure of residents and employees of local businesses to harmful air pollutants.

Support regional policies and efforts to improve air quality, and participate in regional planning efforts with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to meet or exceed air quality standards. 

Agency Coordination

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. 

Development Review Partnerships with the Private Sector

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. 

Development Review

Support regional efforts to improve air quality, reduce auto use, expand infrastructure for alternative transportation, and reduce traffic congestion. Focus efforts to reduce truck idling to two minutes or fewer in industrial and warehouse districts along Rollins Road and the Inner Bayshore. 

Agency Coordination Public Information and Education Services and Operations

Encourage residents to replace wood-burning fireplaces and stoves with cleaner electric heat pumps, natural gas, or propane stoves. Educate the public about financial assistance options through the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s fireplace and wood stove replacement incentive program.

Public Information and Education Agency Coordination

Encourage the electrification of Caltrain to eliminate emissions from the rail line.

Agency Coordination

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. 

Development Review Master Plans

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. 

Development Review Master Plans Services and Operations

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. 

Development Review Master Plans Services and Operations

Ensure projects that generate truck traffic and existing truck routes avoid sensitive land uses such as residences, schools, day care centers, senior facilities, and residences. 

Development Review Master Plans Services and Operations

Require dust abatement actions for all new construction and redevelopment projects. 

Development Review

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.

Development Review Services and Operations Agency Coordination