Environmental Sustainability Initiatives

ADOPT-A-HIGHWAY PROGRAM

The Town of Los Gatos sponsors the Adopt-A-Highway Clean Up Program in order to help protect the environment and keep the Town entrances pristine.  This program consists of monthly clean up days located at the Highway 17 exit 20B on and off circle ramps. For more information on upcoming training sessions click here.


ADOPT-A-PLANTER PROGRAM

Started in 2003, this program allows residents and businesses to “adopt” one of the 28 raised planting beds located along North Santa Cruz Avenue in the Downtown area.  Planter “adopters” are responsible for purchasing, planting, and maintaining plant materials in their planter. 

BICYCLE REWARDS PROGRAM
Held on a pilot basis in 2005, this program rewarded residents for replacing car trips with bicycle trips by awarding gift certificates for public transit passes and bicycle equipment.


BIKE
TO WORK WEEK

The Town annually celebrates National Bike to Work Week, a great way to save on travel expenses and reduce impact on the environment while promoting a healthy lifestyle.  Additionally, the Town has a number of employees who regularly bike to work on a year-round basis.


CaliforniaFIRST

This statewide program provides a new way for property owners to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for their homes and businesses.


CITY
SOLAR AWARD

In 2007, the Town was honored with 2nd place by the NorCal Solar Energy Association for the number of solar projects installed in a medium-sized city.  The innovative solar recognition program, called the City Solar Awards, recognizes municipalities for the amount of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology installed on homes, businesses and municipal buildings.


CIVIC CENTER HVAC SYSTEM

Upgraded in 2006, it incorporates state-of-the-art technology, including variable frequency drives for the electric motors, which reduce energy consumption.


COMMERCIAL ORGANICS RECYCLING (AB1826)
In April 1, 2016, the State of California's Assembly Bill 1826 requires commercial customers that generate 8 cubic yards or more of organic waste per week to establish organic waste recycling services.  The purpose of AB1826 is to divert organics from landfills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


DEMOLISHED BUILDINGS

The Los Gatos Town Code requires developers to provide an opportunity for the public to salvage building materials from demolished structures.  Developers must advertise in a newspaper when a structure is available for salvaging.  All wood, metal, glass, and aluminum materials generated from a demolished structure must be recycled.


DOWNTOWN RECYCLING CONTAINERS

Recycling containers have been installed next to garbage containers in the Downtown area.  This provides residents and visitors with an easy option to recycle their waste rather than to throw it away. 

E-WASTE COLLECTION EVENTS
The Town of Los Gatos partners with Santa Clara County’s Household Hazardous Waste Program to allow residents to correctly dispose of electronic waste, also known as e-waste.  If disposed of improperly, e-waste has the potential to cause severe human and environmental health impacts. 

E-WASTE RECYCLING
The Town of Los Gatos recycles and tracks all internal electronic waste disposal. Improper disposal of e-waste is both illegal and poses a potential threat to people and the environment.

ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING STATIONS
Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations help provide a diversity of fuel options to residents while helping to greatly reducing COemissions.  The Town currently has 9 EV Charging Stations located downtown.  The locations of the current EV Charging Stations can be found here.

EMPLOYEE COMMUTE

The Employee Commute Emissions Reduction Program (ECERP) includes bicycle accommodations, telecommuting opportunities, a carpool program, and public transportation alternatives to help reduce the level of emission generated when Town employees commute to and from work.  Additionally, the Town actively encourages its employees to use alternative modes of transportation, such as bicycles or public transportation, when staff travels during the work day on official business.

ENVIRONMENTAL EVENTS
The Town of Los Gatos, a participating community in the West Valley Clean Water Program (WVCWP), works directly with WVCWP in providing and hosting environmental events.  The purpose of these events are to educate the public on stormwater pollution prevention.

ENVIRONMENTAL OUTREACH SIGNAGE
The Town of Los Gatos will be installing five environmental outreach stations along the Los Gatos Creek Trail.  These stations will include a trash receptacle, a recycling receptacle, and a dog waste receptacle along with environmental signage on the importance of preventing creek pollution.

EXISTING LIBRARY RETROFIT
Federal stimulus funds were used to retrofit the existing library into energy efficient municipal offices and a community meeting space.

EXTENDED PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY

In 2006, the Town Council adopted a resolution that promotes the integration of environmental costs associated with products throughout their life cycles into their market price, thus requiring businesses to be financially or physically responsible for such products after their useful life.

GENERAL PLAN UPDATE

The 2020 General Plan update will include an identification of the Town’s impact on the environment, and goals and policies to help reduce the overall climate impact and to articulate a commitment to sustainability.

GREEN BUSINESS CERTIFICATION

Since 2007, the Town organization has been certified as a Green Business by Santa Clara County.  To be certified “green,” the Town must be in compliance with all regulations and meet program standards for conserving resources, preventing pollution, and minimizing waste.  The key goals of the program are to promote resource conservation and pollution prevention.

GREENHOUSE GAS INVENTORY

The Town contracted with the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) to conduct a greenhouse gas inventory, a measurement of the sources and quantities of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from government operations.  The inventory includes greenhouse gas emissions for the base year of 2005.  The inventory will provide a benchmark against which to measure future progress in reducing emissions.

GROWING GREENER CAMPAIGN

The Los Gatos: Growing Greener Together Campaign provides Town employees and community members with a seasonal newsletter featuring green tips and best practices for home and at work.  As part of the Town’s Green Business Certification, this campaign promotes resource conservation and pollution prevention.

HAZARDOUS WASTE PROGRAM

The Town partners with the Santa Clara County Household Hazardous Waste program to ensure that Los Gatos residents may correctly dispose of their household hazardous wastes.  Improper storage and disposal of household hazardous waste, such as paint, solvents, and insecticides, is associated with accidental poisonings, collection worker safety risks, and environmental contamination of surface water and groundwater.

HILLSIDE DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES

Adopted by the Town Council in 2004, the Hillside Development Standards and Guidelines are a set of standards with which all new hillside homes must comply.  They contain voluntary green building standards, including taking maximum advantage of passive solar heating, natural cooling, and natural light; and encouraging the use of salvaged, recycled, or reused building materials.

HOLIDAY TREE RECYCLING

Every holiday season, the Town partners with West Valley Collection and Recycling to arrange for the pickup of holiday trees curbside as a part of their regular collection schedule.

HOME ENERGY SAVING TOOLKITS

As of 2018, the Los Gatos Library has partnered with Silicon Valley Energy Watch (SVEW) to offer Home Energy Saving Toolkits to residents.  Each toolkit contains a variety of energy measurement tools along with free conservation items such as LED light bulbs and door and window sealing foam. 

 
HYBRID VEHICLES
As of April 2010, the Town has 6 hybrid vehicles in its fleet.  The Town also has a large fleet of CNG (compressed natural gas) vehicles, which have extremely low CO2 emissions and lower fuel costs.

INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT (IPM) TRAINING
Town staff receive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) training to learn the most efficient less-toxic approaches to pest management.

KEEP LOS GATOS BEAUTIFUL MONTH

Each April, the Town sponsors a series of events and programs to celebrate National Earth Day, National Arbor Day, and National Volunteer Recognition Week, with the goal of raising awareness about the environment and making a positive change on individual behavior.

LEED GOLD STANDARDS

The Library facility meets high LEED Gold standards.  LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system that measures features such as energy savings, water efficiency, COemissions, indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources.  In addition, the Library continues to contribute to the overall environmental awareness of the community by providing educational materials on sustainable practices.

LED STREET & TRAFFIC LIGHTS

All of the red and green traffic lights in Los Gatos, and the majority of pedestrian signals, street lights, and yellow traffic lights, use light emitting diodes (LEDs) instead of High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps.  LEDs use about 40% to 50% of the energy of HPS lamps, reducing energy costs – and last about five times as long, reducing replacement costs.

LED TOWN FACILITY LIGHTS
Town facilities have been upgraded to light emitting diodes (LEDs) replacing traditional fluorescent lighting that used mercury and phosphorous.  This transition results in energy savings and the elimination of mercury use.

LIBRARY

The Los Gatos Library hosts a variety of books and guest speakers on the topic of environmental sustainability.  This effort will continue to grow with the construction of the new Library building where the facility’s LEED-certified features will be showcased.

LIBRARY LEED GOLD STANDARDS

The Library facility meets high LEED Gold standards.  LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system that measures features such as energy savings, water efficiency, COemissions, indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources.  In addition, the Library continues to contribute to the overall environmental awareness of the community by providing educational materials on sustainable practices.

MAYOR’S CLIMATE PROTECTION AGREEMENT

In 2007, the Town formalized its commitment to take action to significantly reduce global warming pollution by signing the “U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.”  This Agreement, passed unanimously by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, calls for taking action to meet or beat the greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 7% below 1990 levels by 2012.

MEDICATION DISPOSAL

 As of 2018, the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department now provides residents with a kiosk to dispose of unwanted and expired medications.  The purpose of proper disposal is to keep pollutants out of our waterways.


PG&E’s ClimateSmart PROGRAM

In October 2008, the Town became the first municipality in Santa Clara County to offset its greenhouse gas emissions by enrolling in PG&E’s ClimateSmart Program.  Through its voluntary participation in the program, the Town organization is able to offset all of its identified carbon emissions from both electricity and gas usage at all municipal facilities.  The offsets consist of forest plantings and preservations in both the Santa Cruz Mountains and Humboldt area forests.

PRINTERS, COPIERS & FAXES

All of the printers, copiers, and fax machines formerly used by the Town organization have been consolidated into single multifunction devices which are Energy Star compliant, require less maintenance and less electricity, and default to 2-sided printing.

RENEWABLE DIESEL

All of the Town’s heavy-duty diesel-fueled trucks and equipment, including street sweepers and dump trucks, run on biodiesel.  Biodiesel is a renewable fuel; in the United States, most biodiesel is made from soybean oil, though canola oil, sunflower oil, recycled cooking oil, and animal fats are also used.  According to the U.S. EPA, switching an existing vehicle fleet to biodiesel reduces emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter, sulfates, hydrocarbons, and air toxics.

SECOND SATURDAYS

During the summer months, the Town and the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce sponsor the Second Saturdays program, which helps support local business by encouraging residents to shop locally.  The program also has environmental benefits, as residents can avoid driving extended distances to shop, and also enjoy a pedi-cab ride through Downtown.

SOLAR POWER PURCHASING AGREEMENT

The Town is currently pursuing a long-term contract to buy renewable energy through a competitive process, at rates less than or equal to those for traditional power.

SPARE THE AIR

When a “Spare the Air” day is identified by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the Town actively places updates on its website encouraging residents to refrain from potentially harmful activities such as burning wood.  The Spare the Air program asks residents to reduce pollution by making clean air choices every day.

STREET SWEEPERS

Town street sweeping equipment is compliant with Rule 1186 requirements for PM10-efficient sweepers.  This certification ensures that the street sweepers will pick up particulate matter with a diameter of 10 microns or less from the roadway; the goal is to reduce contribution to particulate air pollution.  The standard was established for Southern California municipalities, and has not yet been required of Bay Area communities, but the Town has voluntarily adopted the more stringent standard.

TREE
CITY USA

In 2010, the Town was named a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation for the 39th consecutive year, honoring its commitment to its community forest.  In order to become a Tree City USA, a community must have a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a comprehensive community forestry program, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.  Each year, the Town coordinates a community celebration and plants trees in honor of Arbor Day.  The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation, in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service.

WASTE DIVERSION (AB939)

CalRecycle, the state agency tasked with regulating solid waste in California, requires that every municipality divert at least 50% of its solid waste from the landfill.  In its last certification, Los Gatos exceeded the state goal by diverting 56% of its solid waste from landfill disposal.

WATER EFFICIENCY LANDSCAPE ORDINANCE

The Water Efficiency Landscape Ordinance was adopted by the Town Council in 1992 to promote conservation and efficient use of water.  All new commercial developments and residential developments of five or more units are subject to this ordinance, which requires developers to calculate the water allowance permitted for the site and estimated water usage.  The ordinance encourages the use of recycled water irrigation.

WATER SAVINGS DISTRIBUTION CENTER
The Town of Los Gatos has teamed up with the Santa Clara Valley Water District to offer a Water Savings Distribution Center at the Town's Parks & Public Works Corporation Yard.  Residents can now get their water conservation gear locally.

WOOD BURNING ORDINANCE

Town Ordinance No. 1905, the Wood Burning Ordinance, restricts the sale and use of fireplaces and other wood-burning appliances that do not meet federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.  According to the EPA, residential wood burning contributes significantly to particulate air pollution.