Best Practices

Here are some of the best practices our participating agencies have chosen to highlight. Many of these practices have been implemented by other Marin cities and towns as well.

Belvedere: 100% Renewable Energy from MCE


Since 2010, Belvedere has been purchasing 100% renewable electricity from the Marin Clean Energy Authority to power all of its buildings, streetlights, and water pumps. At a cost of just 1 cent per kilowatt hour, purchasing Marin Clean Energy Deep Green electricity is a very easy way to do your part to reduce your carbon footprint. This single action is expected to cut Belvedere’s emissions from government operations by 17%.

Larkspur: Food to Energy Program


In 2013, the City of Larkspur partnered with Marin Sanitary Service and the Central Marin Sanitation Agency to transform commercial food waste into energy. The commercial Food to Energy (F2E) program will enroll approximately 250 restaurants, grocery stores, and other businesses through 2016 and is expected to divert 10 to 15 tons of waste per day, five days per week. Marin Sanitary Service collects food waste from participating businesses and delivers decontaminated materials to the Central Marin Sanitation Agency, where it is processed by anaerobic biodigestion. During biodigestion methane gas is released, captured and converted to energy.

Mill Valley: Zero Emission Vehicles

Mill Valley

The City of Mill Valley continues to phase out older vehicles with new hybrid and zero emission vehicles. The City’s electric vehicle pictured here gets about 100 miles for every 30 kilowatt hours – which is equivalent to 112 miles per gallon of gasoline. You might see it “filling up” at the public electric vehicle charging station near Hauke Park.

Novato: Installing Energy-Efficient LED Street Lights


Novato converted approximately 35% of the City’s 3,900 streetlights to more energy-efficient LED fixtures and installed approximately 300 programmable photo cells that turn streetlights off at midnight and back on at 5:30 a.m. if it is still dark outside. LED fixtures can cut the electricity needed to power streetlights by more than half.

County of Marin: Solar PV for County Operations

In its 2007 Countywide Plan Update, the County set a goal for increased renewable energy usage both countywide and in its own operations. Targets were set of 500 kW of solar PV on County-owned buildings by 2010 and 1 MW by 2015. As of 2013, the County has installed solar arrays at five locations totaling 528 kW. Locations include the General Services Building, Throckmorton Fire Station, Marin Center Fairgrounds, Health & Human Services Building, and the Health and Wellness Campus. More information is available at

Fairfax: Solar Energy


Fairfax, known for its green initiatives and progressive values, was one of the first Marin municipalities to install a solar energy system. The 25 kilowatt solar system, installed on a single roof, distributes the renewable energy to three separate facilities: the Town Hall/Police Station, the Fire Station and the Fairfax Pavilion. The system generates more than 43,520 kilowatt hours of clean, renewable energy every year.

San Anselmo: Rain Garden

San Anselmo

The Town of San Anselmo’s Public Library Rain Garden is a highly visible demonstration project that thousands of people walk past annually. The project consists of a 305 gallon cistern that collects water from approximately 675 square feet of the library's roof on one side of the building, and two rain gardens flanking the library's front steps. There is also an interpretive sign at the site to educate visitors.

Ross: Curbside Pick-Up for Food Waste


Ross has teamed up with Marin Sanitary Service to offer curbside pick-up and composting of all food waste. The service is a very convenient way to compost food waste, and it accepts all kinds of food that a homeowner would not put into a backyard compost pile, including leftovers, meat, and bones. If every resident, school and business in Ross put their food waste in the green can, Ross’ emissions would drop by 1%.

San Rafael: Community Engagement

San Rafael

San Rafael understands that to meet California’s greenhouse gas emissions targets, everyone needs to be on board. The City’s climate action plan and GHG Reduction Strategy are the results of a team effort between residents, business and nonprofit representatives, and City staff. The City hosts quarterly implementation plan update meetings so that all members can share information on their activities. One of the main areas of engagement is the Resilient Neighborhoods program, which organizes household eco-teams to reduce their carbon dioxide by 5,000 pounds each. The initial pilot program alone reduced residential emissions by over one million pounds of carbon dioxide!

Tiburon: Solar at Town Hall


Tiburon became the first governmental building in Marin County to install solar panels on the roof.  The Town Hall offsets about 27 percent of its electricity consumption with the help of 140 rooftop panels.  This system can generate up to 39,000 kilowatt hours per year.   Residents, visitors and employees have the opportunity to enjoy the Town Hall building while avoiding carbon dioxide emissions, and the Town can take advantage of soaking up the sun in a positive environmental way.

Transportation Demand Management

Green Building RegulationTAM’s Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program encourages pooled-transportation options and provides assurances to make transit use and carpool/vanpool transport more convenient.  TDM programs include rideshare options assistance through, a vanpool incentive program, an emergency ride home program, and the "Go Time Marin" Commuter Tool Kit, available for download at

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Vehicle Charging StationsBelvedere, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, and the County of Marin have installed (or are in the process of installing) a total of 24 public charging stations. The charging stations allow drivers to recharge their electric vehicles while they shop or work at local businesses. With more than 60% of countywide greenhouse gas emissions coming from the transportation sector, providing infrastructure to support electric vehicles is an important part of the Climate Action Plans adopted by Marin cities and towns. Driving an electric vehicle can reduce emissions by 80% if charging with conventional electricity – and 100% if charging with solar electricity or Marin Clean Energy Deep Green electricity.

Safe Routes to Schools

TAM Safe RoutesTAM’s nationally recognized Safe Routes to School program helps students and parents find sustainable alternatives to single occupancy commuting to and from school. With programs in 52 schools in Marin County, the program has achieved an 8% shift to non-driving modes of transportation, with a corresponding reduction of 3,500 vehicle miles traveled each school day. The Safe Routes to School program provides bicycle and pedestrian safety education, assistance with organizing “walking school buses” and carpools, and encourages students and parents to adopt healthy, sustainable transportation options through contests and events.

Green Building Regulations

Green Building RegulationNovato, San Rafael, San Anselmo and the County of Marin have adopted green building regulations based on a model green building ordinance developed in 2010 with the help of the Marin Climate and Energy Partnership.   At the time, the model ordinance was considered one of California’s most rigorous, mandating at least 15% improvement above Title 24 energy-efficiency requirements, zero net energy for homes larger than 7,000 square feet, energy audits for major remodels, and LEED certification for larger commercial buildings.  A technical advisory committee of about 50 experts in construction, architecture, energy consultation, building performance, building inspection, planning and real estate drafted the recommendations, and a task force comprised of elected and appointed representative from all of the eleven Marin cities, plus the County, endorsed the model ordinance.

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