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Sustainability

The Sustainability team plans, evaluates and administers energy management and various sustainability programs within FAF operations. The goal is to increase the County’s renewable energy portfolio, implement energy efficiency projects, address transportation needs at County facilities, and properly monitor its energy and greenhouse emissions from County operations. These active steps allow the County of Santa Clara to move closer to meet their environmental stewardship goals, all while maintaining fiscal responsibility. 

View a Story Map to tour FAF’s sustainability projects​

For questions regarding Energy & Sustainability, please contact 408-993-4600.

Learn more about our Energy & Sustainability efforts:​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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1. Energy
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Energy
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Since FY 10-11, FAF has successfully secured over $60 million in low-cost financing, through programs like Clean Renewable Energy Bonds and Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds, for the implementation of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. These funds have been used for the installation of 14.3 megawatts of clean renewable energy producing solar photo-voltaic systems.

FAF has successfully negotiated and secured renewable and clean electricity via power purchase agreements which brought to the County an additional 2 MW of renewable solar PV produced electricity, as well as 2.6 MW of clean electricity producing Fuel Cells. The savings from these initiatives is estimated to be $11 million over 20 years.

The Renewables for Revenue (R4R) [MS1] Project consists of six ground-mounted and carport solar photovoltaic systems built at County-owned properties: Hellyer County Park; Holden Ranch; Malech Road; San Martin Airport; Reid Hillview Airport; and Guadalupe Parkway.  Together, the six systems have an electricity generating capacity of 11.24 megawatts and generate approximately 20 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable electricity per year (equivalent to the energy used by 1,164 homes).  Project construction has been completed and the project was accepted at the February 12, 2019 (Item 71) Board of Supervisors Meeting.  

The Board is committed to increasing the County’s percentage of renewable electricity used at County facilities to 100 percent by December 2019 and, thereby, fully achieve ESG #3.  To realize this goal, FAF and the Office of Sustainability collaborated to develop a renewable electricity purchasing plan that was proposed at the April 3, 2018[1] Board meeting.  The plan includes a mix of direct renewable electricity purchases from utility companies and the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (REC). 

The County’s current 75 percent reliance on clean renewable electricity sources is a dramatic 436 percent increase from its baseline of 14 percent in 2009.  The graph below outlines our success since adoption ESG #3.

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Transportation
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The County of Santa Clara offers employees a variety of alternative transportation programs meant to improve commuting to and from work. From promoting public transportation, active transportation, electric vehicles, and more, these alternative transportation programs demonstrate the County's strong commitment to protecting the environment and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while also reducing regional traffic congestion and parking constraints at County facilities. These programs also make the County an employer of choice, improve employee retention, and reduce commute-related stress for current employees.​​​​​
PUBLIC TRANSIT
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VTA SmartPass Program

The SmartPass Program is FREE for all County employees and allows for unlimited trips on all VTA-operated bus and light rail services, except VTA Express Bus service.

 

This service can be accessed using your Clipper Card, an all-in-one transit card for the Bay Area. For transit routes and schedules, visit vta.org. For additional information, check out the SmartPass Brochure or the SmartPass FAQ page.

       

Don't let this $990 value go to waste! 

Find out how your VTA route will change on December 28th, 2019: 

https://newservice.vta.org/changes​​

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bus train

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Pre-Tax Commuter Benefits
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Save on public transit costs! This voluntary benefit, offered through naviabenefits.com, allows employees to use pre-tax dollars for commuting expenses such as public transit, vanpooling, and work-related parking costs.  

 

You can elect up to $187.50 per month for transit or up to $270.00 per month for parking expenses. Deducting the cost of public transit or other qualified expenses before taxes are taken out of your paycheck saves an average of 25% per month!

       

For additional information, check out the Pre-Tax Commuter Brochure, steps for signing up for Pre-Tax, or the Pre-Tax Commuter Benefits FAQ page.

commuter by train

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Emergency Ride H​ome​
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Employees may obtain a voucher for a free taxi ride home should an illness, personal emergency or unplanned overtime event (approved by a supervisor) arise and the employee needs transportation home. During normal business hours, contact your Departmental Employee Service Center to obtain a voucher. After normal business hours, you may obtain a voucher by contacting the VMC Hospital Supervisor, at (669) 210 9390.​​​​​​​
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ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING STATIONS
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electric vehicle charging station

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors has approved an Electric Vehicle (EV) user fee for all the County’s charging stations. Prior to this decision, EV charging was free for all users at all County charging locations. As of Friday, June 5th, user fees have been implemented in accordance to the rate chart below: 

HOURS

FEE

First 3 hours 

$0.20/kWh while charging 

4th hour and subsequent hours (after 3 hours)

 

$0.20/kWh if vehicle is still charging  

plus $.083/minute overstay fee ($5/hr) 

Maximum overstay fee 

$50 

 

Reminders and Important Updates Regarding Parking Enforcement and Citations: 

Energy Fee:  The energy fee of $0.20/kWh will only be applied when a vehicle is actually charging and will be discontinued when a vehicle is fully charged or unplugged.

Overstay Fee:  The overstay fee of $5/hour is prorated by the minute and will only go into effect after a vehicle has been plugged in for 3 consecutive hours. Additionally, EV users will receive a notification 15 minutes prior to when the overstay fee goes into effect (at 2 hours and 45 minutes).

Parking Requirements:  

  1. The user fees apply to all County employees and the general public; only County Fleet vehicles are exempt.
  2. Only electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) can occupy an EV station parking stall.
  3. Vehicles must be plugged in at all times to avoid receiving a citation.
  4. EVs and PHEVs can back into an EV charging station stall so long as they are within the boundaries of one parking stall. 
  5. The 4-hour parking limit has been removed. Instead, the overstay fee of $5/hour will go into effect beginning after 3 hours of charging. 

Additionally, the EV user fees will be applied to all of the following County facilities:  

Charging Station Location

Number of Ports

Charging Station Status

Civic Center (950 N San Pedro & 70 W Hedding)

16

Active

Fleet Operations Center (2265 Junction Ave)

18

Active

VHC Downtown Clinic (777 E Santa Clara St)

16

Active

VMC at Bascom (751 S Bascom Ave & 2220 Moorpark Ave)

28

Active

Sheriff Headquarters (55 W Younger Ave)

6

Active

Berger (1553 Berger Dr)

18

Active

Julian Campus (373 W Julian St)

26

Active

Civic Center Parking Garage (171 W Hedding)

20

Active

Holden Ranch (19050 Malaguerra Ave)

5

Active

Charcot (2310 N 1st St)

19

Active

TOTAL

172

 

As a reminder, all users must register and have an account with ChargePoint in order to utilize the EV charging stations. For detailed instructions on how to use a charging station, please refer to this video provided by ChargePoint.

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Clean Cars for All Program
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Are you interested in purchasing an electric vehicle, but aren’t sure if you can afford it?


The Air District is inviting Bay Area residents to apply for the Clean Cars for All grant program which provides up to $9,500 for low-income members of communities disproportionately affected by air pollution to retire older vehicles and replace them with a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or electric vehicle, or get a Clipper Card for public transit. For more information, check out this link

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How Much Can You Save on Fueling an Electric Vehicle Versus a Non-Electric Vehicle?
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Did you know that, on average, it costs about half as much to drive an electric vehicle? Use this U.S. Department of Energy fuel calculator (Chrome browser is recommended) to compare the cost of fueling a vehicle with electricity compared to a similar vehicle that runs on gasoline.​​
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BICYCLING
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Electronic Bicycle Lockers

Electronic Bicycle Lockers – Securely park your bicycle using an electronic bicycle locker, available at the following County facilities:

  • Civic Center: 70 W Hedding St San Jose
  • Charcot: 2310 N First St San Jose
  • Berger: 1555 Berger Dr San Jose
  • Elmwood Correctional Complex: 701 S Abel St Milpitas
  • VMC at Bascom: 751 S Bascom Ave San Jose

The e-lockers are FREE for the first 9 hours daily and then $0.05/hour after. BikeLink operates and maintains the lockers. Order an access card through BikeLink to start parking your bike in one of these lockers. 

 

For more specific questions related to your Bike Link cards, please contact: https://www.bikelink.org/info/contact

 

Electronic Bicycle Lockers 

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Bicycle Racks
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There are numerous racks available near the main entrances of many County facilities.
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Bicycle Repair Stations
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Repair stations typically include a stand, pump, and tools for basic maintenance. Stations are currently located near the main entrance of 70 W. Hedding, San José, and the Gilroy Public Library, 350 W 6th St Gilroy.​
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Water
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FAF reports annually on facility water consumption. Overall, despite an increase in the County real estate portfolio which includes office buildings, detention facilities, and health clinics, water usage only slightly increased in 2018.  The year-end consumption of potable water in FAF serviced facilities was 192,951 centum cubic feet (CCF).[1]  This is a decrease of 40.7 percent compared to the 2009 baseline of 325,507 CCF, but an increase of 1.3 percent compared to 2017.  Recycled water use in 2018 increased by 1,062 CCF compared to the 2009 baseline. The figure below provides water use data since 2009. 

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[1] One CCF is equivalent to 748 gallons.​

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Zero Waste
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Republic Services, the contracted hauler responsible for County sites in San Jose and Milpitas, reported a 72 percent diversion rate in December of 2018 for both planned and unplanned services. Administration is also currently exploring “waste to energy”/ anaerobic digestion options in support of the Board of Supervisors environmental stewardship goals.​
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Climate Action Planning
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The recent completion of a Municipal Operations Greenhouse Inventory identified employee commutes as the largest emissions contributor for County operations. The figure below outlines the 2015 emissions by sector.​

The Board has adopted various Resolutions and policies for the County of Santa Clara’s commitment to achieve significant, measurable, and sustainable greenhouse GHG emissions reductions.  Although GHG emissions from County operations have recently increased, over a ten-year period (2005 to 2015) the County reduced GHG emissions by 10 percent, while simultaneously the County population increased by over 11 percent and the County workforce increased by 8 percent.

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Currently, FAF is working various projects that will contribute towards emissions reductions for County operations. These projects include a Greening County Fleet and Operations Study (fleet sector), a Transportation Demand Management Study for County Employees Study (employee commute sector), and an All-Electric County Facility feasibility study.​ 

County of Santa Clara 2015 GHG Inventory

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Sustainability in Capital Projects
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The FAF Energy and Sustainability group continues to participate in pre-design architectural programming to identify client space needs, design, and schematic design phases for four major new construction projects and two major recent campus purchases. These efforts are expected to achieve an integrated design that exceeds State and County sustainability goals for: the new construction of the Main Jail South, South County Animal Shelter, the Vietnamese American Service Center, and the Ambulatory Specialty Center; and for the two new Tasman and Silver Creek campuses. Because each facility has a different purpose and use, the sustainability strategies will differ for each building. However, all facilities are targeted to meet the County of Santa Clara’s Green Building Policy 7.14, which requires that all County-owned facilities achieve at least LEED Silver certification. The FAF Energy and Sustainability group is responsible for reviewing draft LEED scorecards and life cycle cost analyses to recommend strategies that ensure that a facility is designed, operated, and maintained in a sustainable manner.​
Last updated: 6/18/2020 11:39 AM