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Mill Valley's Sustainability Policies and Practices

PSB Solar ArrayEnergy:

  • Installation of a solar array at the Public Safety Building (PSB), energy efficiency upgrades at the Library and PSB, and participation in Marin Clean Energy for all City facilities.
  • Installation of a new public Electric Vehicle Charging Station in Mill Valley and the acquisition of four all-electric Mitsubishi i-MiEVs.
  • Mill Valley is the first city in Marin to test new light-emitting diode (LED) streetlights by installing four different types of LED fixtures at a few sites around town.  Those sites include 26 Buena Vista Ave., 21 Oakdale Ave., Camino Alto at Miller Avenue and Blithedale Avenue at Alta Vista Avenue.  The City plans to examine the effectiveness of the lights over several months and assess for energy reductions. LED lights last far longer than conventional lamps and do not generate as much wasteful heat.  The program, spearheaded by Public Works Director Wayne Bush, could, by some estimates, save the City 60 percent in energy savings.

Waste Reduction:

  • The adoption of a Zero Waste Ordinance, a ban on Styrofoam carry-out packaging, paperless public meeting packets, a ban on plastic bottles purchased with City funds, a green building program, and a household battery recycling program.
  • Food packagingOn June 3rd, 2008, then City Manager Anne Montgomery issued a directive that requires the phase-out of the use of City funds for single-serve plastic water bottles and requires that dispensers be changed to bottle-less dispensers that are connected to Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) water. The high quality of MMWD water, the use of 47 million gallons of oil to manufacture and transport plastic water bottles, and the devastating impacts of plastics on marine life were all cited as reasons for the directive. It is estimated that the City will save $5000 a year as a result of this directive. Click on the following links for all documents related to the bottle ban: directivepress release, and educational flyer about alternatives to bottled water.
  • In September 2008, the City Manager issued a directive authored by City Green that mandates a reduction in overall paper use in the City, and that all paper purchased by the City be 100% recycled. Click on the following links for all documents related to the paper directive: directivepress release and informational flyer on best practices to reduce paper use.

Habitat Restoration:

  • The Aramburu Island restoration project and Earth Day projects throughout Mill Valley in which hundreds of volunteers conduct marsh and creek clean-ups, removal of invasive species and the planting of native plants.

Ripples of water v150.jpgWater Quality:

  • The City has taken several recent measures to protect water quality by conducting important infrastructure improvements to the City’s sewer system, the Wastewater Treatment Plant, and essential drainage systems.
  • The City also uses reclaimed water in irrigation, conducts a mercury-filling disposal and education program and conducts wastewater public education programs to over 300 students annually. Regarding climate change, the City has hosted several public meetings on the topic, including discussions about sea level rise and the Climate Action Plan and updated its greenhouse gas inventory and published the update online.

Climate Change:

  • The City is a participant in the Sustainable Communities Strategy process and has recently released a Draft General Plan which has detailed sections on the Natural Environment and Climate Action giving City policymakers direction on a number of important environmental concerns.

Bike on MillerMulti-Modal Transportation:

  • The City has implemented numerous cyclist and pedestrian safety improvements throughout town, especially around schools to encourage walking and biking to school. The City has enacted a Complete Streets policy in January of this year, which requires the City design transportation networks that permit safe and convenient travel along and across streets for all users, including pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • In 2012, implementation of the pedestrian and bike improvements included road repairs and new asphalt paving on Hamilton Drive, Edgewood and Mountain View Avenues to name a few. This year’s project includes the current East Blithedale improvement project along with improvements on Vasco Drive from Camino Alto to Underhill Road and Azalea Drive from Camino Alto to Vasco Drive.
  • Employee commutes comprise a substantial portion of Mill Valley’s climate changing greenhouse gas emissions. To reduce emissions from that source, members of City Green are developing recommendations for the City Manager to consider on how to promote carpooling and other alternate modes of transportation. The Alternative Transportation Incentive Program is scheduled for completion by June 2009. In the meantime, City Green prepared an informational flyer for employees to help them find potential carpool partners by using the 511.org program. That flyer can be found here.

Building and sky thumbnailGreen Building:

  • On December 1, 2008, the City Council unanimously adopted a Green Building Ordinance, authored and advanced by City Green, that establishes green building requirements for residential and commercial development in the City. “Buildings are responsible for almost 40% of total energy use, 12% of water use, and 40% of all raw materials used,” said then-Mayor Shawn Marshall. “By adopting this Ordinance, Mill Valley joins other municipalities in the Bay area and across the world in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and our overall ecological footprint.” For all documents related to the Green Building ordinance, including the ordinance, resolution, compliance form, press release and process information, go to the Mill Valley’s Planning Forms & Resources page.

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Last updated: 9/26/2013 10:30:48 AM