Upcoming Webinar – PACE Programs

PACE – What Comes Next?

Organized by Build It Green

February 23, 2011 (Wednesday)

10:30 AM-12:00 PM

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) allows property owners to pay for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements to their homes via an annual assessment on their property.  This approach became a central part of the Obama Administration’s “Recovery Through Retrofit” initiative and had been authorized in 24 states.  However, recent actions by federal regulators have frozen most residential PACE programs.

This webinar will discuss the status of PACE as well as efforts underway to resolve the federal regulatory issues.  Perhaps most importantly, the webinar will include lessons learned from PACE programs and outline the financing options being made available in the absence of PACE.

More information and links to register here.

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Upcoming Event – Electrical Baseload

Reducing Residential Electrical Baseload

February 16, 2011 (Wednesday)

5:30 PM-7:30 PM

San Francisco Department of the Environment – 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA

Presentation will examine how homeowners, contractors or other service providers can determine how much electrical baseload a homeowner is consuming and use that analysis to lower the homeowner’s monthly usage and electric bill.  The session will cover both technique and monitoring tools used, problems encountered and their resolutions.

More information and links to register here.

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Location Location Location


(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

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A recent article in the LA Times discusses efforts by green builders to quantify the energy used in reaching the building, not just used in and by the building itself.

From the article:

If you plop a green building in the middle of nowhere, is it still green? … … …

Experts say the ability to quantify the energy spent getting to and from a building could force businesses to reconsider what it means to be green. Transportation emissions account for 29% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, and the newly quantifiable data could spur development in urban areas served by public transportation.

Commutes to work matter, said Emma Stewart, senior manager for sustainability at Autodesk Inc., a San Rafael, Calif., maker of 3-D design software applications. Overall, one out of five trips and one out of four miles are traveled in commutes, according to Census Transportation Planning Products. For work, people fly to conferences, hail cabs on lunch breaks and drive to far-flung suburbs.

“This is a new frontier in carbon accounting,” said Stewart, who is part of a separate effort to digitally map buildings and infrastructure like train lines for urban planning purposes. “The practice thus far has really been focused around direct emissions.”

You can read the entire article on the LA Times website, here.

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Caltrain is in Serious Trouble


(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

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A few days ago, I began to see news that Caltrain will face a huge operating deficit starting this summer. However, the magnitude of that deficit didn’t sink in until an article pointed out that the $30 million operating deficit will be nearly one-third of its operating budget.

According to the article, cuts on the table include:

  • Weekday trains would be reduced from 86 to 48, with service limited to commute hours.

  • No weekend service, eliminating up to 68 trains.

  • Service eliminated from Gilroy to the Diridon Station in San Jose.

  • Up to seven of 23 stations along the Peninsula closed.

    The article also made the following point:

  • Caltrain is unique in the Bay Area, as it is the only transit line that lacks a dedicated source of funding. Instead, agencies from the three counties in which it runs contribute funds to help cover operating costs.

    But the Valley Transportation Authority, SamTrans and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency all face their own budget battles and will reduce their aid by $25 million next fiscal year.

    You can read the entire article here.

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    Upcoming Webinar – CALGreen

    GreenPoint Rated, CALGreen and You

    Organized by Build It Green

    January 27, 2011 (Thursday)

    11:00 AM-12:30 PM

    Earlier this year, the Building Standards Commission approved a landmark California Green Code, or CALGreen, for all new buildings in the state.  The code has a list of mandatory green building measures that must be applied to every new building by January 1, 2011, while water measures go into effect July 2011.  The California Green Code also provides two voluntary tiers that may be adopted by local governments as a reach code.

    In this presentation, you will learn about:
    • The Green Code’s mandatory measures
    • Similarities and differences to GreenPoint Rated
    • Reasons to go beyond code
    • Ways local government can keep their GreenPoint Rated policy
    • How the Green Code will affect builders and local government officials

    More information and links to register here.

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    2010 Livable Building Award Winners


    The Center for the Built Environment’s fourth annual Livable Building Award winners were announced in mid-December. The entries were judged on excellence of design, operation, and occupant satisfaction. According to a CBE press release:

    Award entries are open only to the top scorers in CBE’s Occupant Indoor Environmental Quality Survey, which is used to study occupant satisfaction in terms of air quality, lighting, thermal comfort and overall building satisfaction and has been implemented in more than 860 buildings in North America and Europe.

    The top award went to UC San Francisco’s 654 Minnesota Street project. Read about the UCSF project here.

    The Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology was recognized with an honorable mention. Read about the Kavlie Institute and the other finalists here.

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    More information on the CBE Occupant Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Survey is available here.

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    Upcoming Webinar – Commercial Lighting

    DOE Commercial Lighting Solutions: Overview

    Carol Jones, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011
    11:00–12:00 pm Pacific (2:00–3:00 pm Eastern)

    Commercial Lighting Solutions arms lighting practitioners, contractors and owners with time-saving and credible strategies to reduce energy use and qualify for incentives. Learn about the tool’s development and capabilities, and discover how the tool applies to a wide range of audiences and lighting projects.

    More information and a link to register here.

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    U.C.S.B. Students Take on Zero Net Energy Goals


    University of California Santa Barbara students passed a unique “Student Services Renewable Energy Initiative”, voting in a $6 per term fee, even as tuitions in the U.C. system continue to sharply increase. The resulting measure will generate $3.4 million towards campus-wide zero net energy goals.

    The future electorate is at work…

    Read more about the UCSB initiative here.

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    Assorted Links

    Here’s a quick round-up of some of some of the latest stories on the controversy surrounding the installation of SmartMeters in California, especially by PG&E.

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    According to an independent report by the California Council on Science and Technology, the intensity of the SmartMeters’ radiation falls well within federal limits for wireless devices.

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    Pacific Gas & Electric Co. does not plan to comply with Marin County’s moratorium on the installation of its controversial wireless utility meters (aka SmartMeters).

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    Marin County sherriffs announce that they will not enforce the SmartMeter ban.

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    Two women were arrested in Rohnert Park, California today for blocking a truck carrying smart meters. The arrests follow two earlier, similar ones in the area.

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    Upcoming Bay Area Events, January 2011

    Happy New Year Zero Resource Readers!

    Below is a collection of interesting events for the month of January.

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    Electric Vehicles + Smart Grid

    Dian Grueneich, Former Commissioner, California Public Utilities Commission, Mark Duvall, Director of Electric Transportation and Energy Storage, Electric Power Research Institute and Ted Howes, Partner, IDEO, discuss new technologies and their implications for the future of power generation, while Anthony Eggert, Commissioner, California Energy Commission, Transportation Lead, Diane Wittenberg, Executive Director, California EV Strategic Plan, Diarmuid O’Connell, Vice President of Business Development, Tesla Motors, and Marc Geller, Co-founder, Plug-In America, discuss the future of the electric car in California. At the San Francisco Commonwealth Club, with a networking break between topics.

    Thursday, January 13,  9 – 11:30 a.m.

    595 Market St., 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA

    $45 member, $65 standard, and $15 student tickets

    event link


    A Look Ahead at California’s Clean Energy Future

    Panama Bartholomy from the CEC and Emma Wendt from PG&E discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the new report “California’s Clean Energy Future”, jointly issued by the California Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission and the California Environmental Protection Agency, among others.

    SPUR Evening Forum, Tuesday January 25, 6p.m.

    654 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA

    free to SPUR and Association of Environmental Professionals members, $10 general admission

    event link


    Film, ‘ A Sea Change: Imagine A World Without Fish’

    The San Francisco Public library will be hosting two free screenings of  ‘A Sea Change’.  “The documentary film A Sea Change, broadens the discussion about the dramatic changes we are seeing in the chemistry of the oceans, and conveys the urgent threat those changes pose to our survival, while surveying the steps we can take to reduce the severity of climate change.”

    Wednesday, January 26, 6 p.m. and Saturday, January 29 at 2 p.m.

    Koret Auditorium, Main Library, 100 Larkin St., San Francisco, CA.


    event link


    “Transforum” with Peter Calthorpe: ‘Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change’

    Highly influential urban planner Peter Calthorpe discusses his new book, ‘Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change’.

    Thursday, January 27, 6:30 p.m.

    Hosted by Transform, and held at the SPUR Urban Center, 654 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA.

    $15, rsvp recommended.

    event link


    “Save Our Caltrain!” Summit

    Attend this summit to learn about and discuss the severe fiscal crisis facing Caltrain, an important Bay Area transit agency that lacks its own dedicated funding, and connect with others working to find solutions. Organized by the Friends of Caltrain.

    Saturday, January 29, 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

    Samtrans Auditorium 1250 San Carlos Avenue, San Carlos, CA


    event link

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