City of Foster City "Green" Policies and Practices
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City of Foster City "Green" Policies and Practices

Policies and Strategies

  • Passed Resolution 2006-71, supporting efforts of all governments to develop policies and programs to reduce global warming.
  • Passed Resolution 2009-17, adopting the San Mateo County Energy Strategy to reduce the impact of global warming and the corresponding climate change.  (Previously adopted Resolution 2007-57, supporting the development of the strategy.)
  • Appointed an Ad Hoc Environmental Sustainability Task Force which developed a Recommended Sustainability Action Plan.  This work has been transferred to the Sustainable Foster City initiative which has an updated Sustainable Foster City Plan
  • Appointed a Transportation Committee which developed additional transportation recommendations.  This work has been transferred tot he Sustainable Foster City initiative which includes transportation initiatives in its Sustainable Foster City Plan.

Carbon Emissions

Emissions from City Operations

  • Conducted an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions from City operations in 2005 and 2010. These inventories are used to guide the City's efforts to reduce emissions. The City currently has a number of programs that reduce carbon emissions both from City operations and the community as a whole.
  • Preparing and expecting to complete a comprehensive Climate Action Plan in 2014.
  • Converted to a system by which water meters can be read remotely, eliminating the need to routinely access on-site meters around the city by automobile.
  • Benchmarked major City facilities so on-going energy use and be tracked and managed.

Promotion and Support of Mass Transportation

  • Works with the Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance and employers to ensure that trip-reducing alternatives are available, introduced to employees, and publicized on a regular basis.
  • Promotes the AC Transit transbay bus service.
  • Promotes employer-operated shuttles to and from the San Mateo Caltrain Station and the Millbrae Intermodal Station from three areas: Lincoln Centre, North Foster City, and Mariners Island.
  • Operates a Senior Express Shuttle to transport residents age 55 and older to events and activities in the region.

Bicycle Alternatives

  • Requires that bicycle racks be installed at all new commercial/office developments in town. Bicycle racks are also on all shuttles.
  • Maintains a bicycle/pedestrian path along the bay front—a leg of the Bay Trail that connects with trails maintained in neighboring cities and allows for an easy commute by bicycle between Foster City and a number of Peninsula cities.

Foster City Employee Trip Reduction

  • Implemented an alternative schedule for most employees, reducing employee commuter trips from a traditional schedule.
  • Implemented the option for certain employees to telecommute from home, keeping cars off the roadways while maintaining a productive workforce.
  • Participates in annual Great Race for Clean Air, sponsored by the Spare the Air Team at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

City Fleet Fuel Efficiency

  • Increasing the percentage of hybrids in the City fleet and reviewing other fuel-efficient alternatives as vehicles are replaced.
  • Replaced traditional vehicles with electric options for parks maintenance operations when appropriate.
  • Maintains vehicle fleet in peak condition in order to maximize performance and minimize carbon emissions.

Other Carbon-Reducing Policies

  • Reduced speed limits on most City streets to allow for use of Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEV) for intra-City transportation.
  • Adopted regulations prohibiting the installation or replacement of wood burning appliances unless certain conditions are met to protect air quality.

Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy

  • Eliminated permit fees for installation of solar panels.
  • Installed Light Emitting Diode (LED) streetlights on all public streets.  LED streetlights reduce energy use by up to 50% and require less maintenance and less frequent replacement. 
  • Converted all traffic and pedestrian signals to LED's; these lights use about 20 percent of the electricity of the older, halogen lights.
  • Implemented energy conservation practices in building maintenance supplies, parts and systems in City facilities.
  • Computer-controlled heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in some buildings make them more energy efficient, shutting off systems when work areas may not be inhabited.
  • Consolidated some existing desktop computers to zero clients, reducing energy use by 86% when active, and replaced certain servers with more energy efficient models.
  • Participates in the San Francisco Community Power Demand Response Program, reducing city-wide electricity use on peak demand days. 
  • Installed solar powered speed safety signs near Bowditch Middle School. 
  • Converted to energy efficient electronic ballasts in City lighting systems.
  • Joined Energy Upgrade California program to encourage energy efficiency retrofits by Foster City property owners.  To learn more, visit
  • Joined CaliforniaFIRST to enable commercial customers to access Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing.
  • Joined Regional Renewable Energy Partnership to study the installation of solar panels at the Library/Community Center.

Water Conservation

  • Established Water Sustainability Fund to fund a variety of water conservation rebates for residential and commercial EMID customers, including, but not limited to those for for low-flow toilets, high-efficiency clothes washers and lawn replacement as incentives for water conservation.
  • Provides "home water audit" kits and educational assemblies for local schools.
  • Offers free informational resources, such as Water-Wise Gardening in the Bay Area for water customers.
  • Installed low-flow toilets, state of the art irrigation systems and controllers, and drought tolerant plantings in order to reduce water usage in City facilities and parks.
  • Replaced turf grass in selected parks with synthetic turf which does not require irrigation.
  • Installed water fixtures in City buildings that work on a sensor system to conserve water.
  • Implemented conservation-based water rates to encourage water conservation in the community.


  • Administers programs to meet and sustain a minimum 50% diversion rate mandated by the state, promoting residential and commercial recycling efforts.
  • Provides provides curbside collection service to all customers that includes the option for compost collection and single-stream (no sorting) recycling. 
  • Provides residential curbside collection of batteries and cell phones in addition to providing a collection point at City Hall.
  • Sponsors community electronics recycling, paper shredding and compost give-away events
  • Recycles in all City facilities, including items like used lamps and ballasts from City lighting systems and used printer cartridges.
  • Purchases "in-unit" recycling containers for residents of multi-family dwellings.
  • All City facilities participate in compost service.
  • Passed an ordinance requiring a minimum of 50 percent of the debris generated from certain construction and demolition projects be diverted from landfills to recycling facilities.
  • Resurfaced streets using cold-in-place recycling of asphalt which reuses materials as well as reduces costs and reduces truck trips during construction.

Habitat Preservation and Protection

  • Maintains storm water system in compliance with National Pollution Discharge Elimination System requirements, reducing pollution of Bay waters.
  • Through Foster City Lagoon Management Plan, directs the use of environmentally-friendly products and processes, rather than chemical treatment, to manage lagoon water quality whenever possible.
  • With Audubon Society, created new seasonal wetlands for bird habitat as part of lagoon dredging project.


  • Adopted statewide CalGreen Building Standards for new construction.
  • Is an active member of the Joint Venture Silicon Valley Network Climate Protection Taskforce, Sustainable Silicon Valley and ICLEI-Local Governments For Sustainability, USA in order to pursue regional climate protection alternatives.
  • Ensures that janitorial supplies used in City facilities are environmentally friendly: low pH diluted cleaning concentrates and renewable resource paper products.
  • Maintains a "Go Green" webpage to provide education resources to the community. Follow this link to visit the "Go Green" page
  • Hosts community educational events on energy and water conservation and efficiency.  The Green Footprint video series is on-demand at

What else do you think Foster City should be doing?  E-mail us at

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