The City of Burlingame's sustainability webpage opens with the Greek proverb, "Great societies are made when old men plant trees under whose shade they know they will never sit.” Burlingame continues to integrate forward thinking into its City operations and citizen outreach as the city promotes energy efficiency, green building and carbon emission reductions.
In 2009 Burlingame's Climate Action Plan was created, identifying benefits to the City such as cost savings of energy and water-efficiency programs and job creation. In its own operations, the City of Burlingame has upgraded all lighting and signals, participated in facility energy audits, improved building envelopes, improved water and sewer pumping systems efficiencies by utilizing a state-of-the-art SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system, eliminated residential solar permitting fees and installed a co-generation
system at the City's wastewater treatment plant. The co-generation system creates enough electricity from methane gas produced by the wastewater treatment processes to supply approximately 20 percent of the plant's electrical load and saves $8,000 to $10,000 per month. In addition, the City replaced seven cars in the fleet system with energy-efficient hybrid vehicles and converted two of its diesel-operated vehicles to bio-diesel.
Burlingame was among the first cities in the state to ban plastic bags and polystyrene food containers and enact tiered water rates to encourage water conservation. It also adopted a water-efficiency landscape ordinance. Its leaf blower law restricts use of blowers to certain days in specific areas and requires blowers to be certified at 65 decibels or less. In 2014 the City created a community garden and authorized installation of four public electric vehicle charging stations.
A community champion for a more economically sustainable future is the Citizens Environmental Council - Burlingame (CEC). CEC is a group of volunteers who provide leadership and educational resources for residents, businesses and institutions. CEC is an off-shoot organization of the Green Ribbon Task Force, which was formed in 2007, then disbanded when the Climate Action Plan was adopted in 2008. CEC continues to provide the City with recommendations and recently urged the City to hire a sustainability coordinator.
The City Council has since created a part-time sustainability coordinator position and budgeted funds to evaluate the efficiency of City facilities and install electric vehicle charging stations. During 2014, CEC partnered with the Burlingame Public Library to offer six free “Green Programs on Hot Topics,” funded with proceeds from five Green Street Fairs organized by CEC. The group also helped promote the city’s participation in the CoolCalifornia Cities Challenge, which awarded cash to cities whose citizens documented energy-saving practices.
More information on the City of Burlingame's efforts can be found on the city website
, along with information on the Citizens Environmental Council - Burlingame