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Santa Clara County Wins Association of Bay Area Governments Growing Smarter Together Awards

County Recognized for Sustainability Projects
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – The County of Santa Clara recently won several awards from the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) for its innovative projects to help create sustainable communities and conserve energy.
“Santa Clara County strives to be a leader in environmental stewardship,” said Supervisor Ken Yeager, President, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “We appreciate the recognition ABAG has bestowed upon us and promise to do even more to reduce pollution and conserve our natural resources.”                         
“We have a responsibility, not only to the County’s 1.8 million residents living here today,” said Supervisor Dave Cortese, District 3. “Future generations will benefit from these projects by being able to enjoy diverse habitat and the availability of renewable energy.”         
The awards that the County received include the following:
Preserving and Protecting the Environment Award
On behalf of six local agencies, the County Planning Department applied for and won the Preserving and Protecting the Environment Award for the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Plan, which provides for the protection of approximately 47,000 acres of critical wildlife habitat in Santa Clara County over the next 50 years. The Santa Clara Valley Habitat Plan is recognized as the largest multi-species Habitat Plan in Northern California and one of the largest regional multi-species plans in the Western United States benefiting 18 important plant and wildlife species. A landmark collaboration between local jurisdictions and state and federal agencies, the plan provides a streamlined and consolidated method of endangered species permitting for local projects, creating a mechanism for streamlining and assisting important capital improvement and development projects, while ensuring that the most critical habitat areas are preserved in perpetuity.
Start It Up Award
Facilities & Fleet Department won the Start It Up Award for its Photovoltaic Project, which demonstrates leadership and commitment to making communities sustainable through technology and renewable energy. The County’s Photovoltaic Project is a model example of multi-agency procurement of renewable energy utilizing an innovative power purchase agreement. It also created a model for creating green communities and green energy jobs with installation of solar Photovoltaic systems at eight different County facilities. The project will save the County an estimated $18.8 million over the 25 year life of the systems and will help the County reach “zero net energy” status for two of its facilities.
Public Private Partnership Award
The County of Santa Clara and Stanford University won the Public Private Partnership Award. The milestone planning effort between the County and Stanford University/Palo Alto was designed to meet the County’s Green Building Ordinance using an alternate means and equivalency process for LEED Silver credits. It is a model of how collaboration and commitment to environmental sustainability can achieve effective streamlined planning, at the same time supporting Stanford’s more sustainable solutions campus wide rather than metrics for one building.
About ABAG Growing Smarter Together Awards
The annual ABAG Growing Smarter Together Awards was first given to Bay Area government agencies in 2007. This year, the awards include five categories: Urban Design Award , Public Private Partnership Award , Preserving and Protecting the Environment , Sharing the Benefits Award , and Start it Up Award.  Presented during ABAG's Spring General Assembly, the five 2013 awards highlighted innovative efforts in revitalization, planning, and sustainable energy that helped create complete healthy communities and promote conservation efforts protecting vital natural, scenic, and agricultural resource areas. For more information about the ABAG Growing Smarter Together Awards, go to:
Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Lingxia Meng, Office of Public Affairs (408) 299-5119
Posted: May 30, 2013