One of my many passions has been working to make recycling more convenient for our residents. Long before I began serving on the Novato City Council, I led the expansion of our curbside recycling program to include cardboard. Since I have been serving on the City Council, I have worked with our Novato Sanitary District and Disposal Company to increase our curbside recycling program to include the popular “blue can” which collects glass, plastic, paper and cardboard; and, our popular green waste can. Also, I helped expand our electronic and household hazardous waste collection programs at our popular Recycling Center on Redwood Blvd. Recognizing that we have no safe place for disposing of our medical wastes in Novato, we recently added collection of medical wastes at our Novato Police Department.
After hearing from other communities about their efforts to save electrical costs by converting high pressure sodium (HPS) streetlights, I led our effort to convert 4,500 existing high pressure sodium (HPS) streetlights to Light‐Emitting Diode fixtures (LED) streetlight fixtures after extensive public involvement. The city’s installations were partially funded by a $352,000 grant from the US Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program and a zero percent interest financing agreement with energy provider, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). All of our streetlights have now been converted to LED fixtures and some of them have been equipped with programmable photocells to increase energy conservation. The photocells combine the typical photocells that turn streetlights on and off with ambient light changes using a common household timer. The result allows the streetlights to turn on at dusk, off at midnight, back on at 5:30 a.m. and off again at dawn.
By converting our streetlights to LED and programmable photocells, the city will reduce energy usage and will save more than $100,000 annually. In short: The city’s power bill will be cut in half. In addition to the fiscal benefits, this project also provides environmental benefits through the reduction of 247,500 lbs of carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) per year.
Many years ago, I initiated the development of our Green Building Ordinance, Construction Demolition Debris Ordinance and others which have been highlighted in our Climate Change Action Plan adopted by the Council in December 2009. There are many more programs and efforts to help protect our environment, reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and improve our quality of life that are included in the Climate Change Action Plan that will be incorporated into our General Plan in 2017.