Recycling Center In Golden Gate Park To Close

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The HANC recycling center is located just to the southwest of Kezar Stadium in Golden Gate Park. (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

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According to the San Francisco Chronicle:

The Recreation and Park Commission unanimously approved plans for a community garden at the site long home to a recycling center run by the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council…

HANC, as the group is known, has run the recycling center at the location for 36 years, and also operates a native plant nursery there.

Recreation and Park Department officials said that the advent of curbside recycling and the need to dedicate more space for increasingly popular community gardens bolstered their resolve to act.

”HANC’s time has run out and it’s time for us to have a community garden,” said Commissioner Tom Harrison, a retired park gardener.

City officials, during several mayoral administrations, have threatened to shut down the program. They say it is incompatible with the park, creates noise and serves as a magnet for the homeless and crime.

Mayor Gavin Newsom, in the waning days of his administration, is now prepared to issue a 90-day eviction notice aimed at closing down the recycling operation, although the nursery may be allowed to stay.

You can read the entire story here.

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Assorted Links

A climate skeptic, Representative John Shimkus of Illinois, seeks the House Energy and Commerce Committee chairmanship.

San Francisco transportation officials are facing a shortfall of at least $137 million as they try to move forward with plans for a new subway tunnel for the city’s light-rail service.

Several glazing industry associations successfully appealed changes to ASHRAE Standard 90.1 that would have reduced the amount of glass allowed in commercial building envelopes.

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Assorted Links

Drivers crossing greater downtown San Francisco and the southern border with San Mateo County could be hit with a new toll costing them as much as $1,560 a year.

Republican governors-elect intend to kill plan for new high-speed rail projects.

Levi’s is introducing a new line of jeans called Water<less, reducing water use in the manufacturing process.

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Free Event 11/9 in SF – Energy Modeling

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The SF AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) presents:

Energy Modeling for the Small and Midsize Architecture Firm

November 9, 2010 –  6:00 – 8:00 pm

AIA San Francisco, 130 Sutter Street, Suite 600

With the development of LEED and other energy efficiency standards, energy simulation has developed tremendously over the last decade. It is becoming imperative that architects better understand the available tools so that they can make informed decisions throughout the design process. Given the complexity of energy modeling, this session will focus on how architects in small and mid-size firm can best use energy simulation. What types of questions should be answered with energy models? What types of energy modeling information is most useful, and when during design should it be used? What simulation tools are favored among small and mid-size firms? How do they develop expertise within their design teams and address budgetary constraints? A panel of Bay Area architects and designers, all of whom are noted for advances in sustainable design, will address these questions. Following the panel discussion, the presenters will be available for an extended question-and-answer session.

MODERATOR:

Claire Maxfield

PANELISTS:

Philip Banta, Charlie Stott, David Scheer, & Stet Sanborn

For more information and moderator and panelist bios, see the AIA SF event site, here.

This is a FREE event.

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10 American Cities Running Out Of Water?

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Las Vegas, Nevada (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

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24/7 Wall St. evaluated a couple recent studies (from Ceres and the NRDC) and also conducted some of its own analysis, focusing on the 30 largest American cities,  to  come up with the following list of 10 large American cities at the greatest risk of running out of water:

10. Orlando, FL

9. Atlanta, GA

8. Tucson, AZ

7. Las Vegas, NV

6. Fort Worth, TX

5. San Francisco Bay Area, CA

4. San Antonio, TX

3. Phoenix, AZ

2. Houston, TX

1. Los Angeles, CA

You can read more about their analysis and reasons for inclusion of each city here.

A note from Anna – I do not know much about 24/7 Wall St. or their track record on this sort of analysis. I think this sort of list is good for raising awareness that it is not just cities in the dry Southwest that are facing future water shortages. However, there are a few items in this article that gave me pause – first is the consistent misspelling of San Francisco as “San Fransisco”, second is the consistent listing of the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) as the “National Resources Defense Council.”

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Assorted Links

San Francisco transportation are transforming former parking meter poles into bike racks in the Civic Center and Golden Gateway areas.

The largest solar plant in the world receives final regulatory approval.

Greentech Media discusses what to expect from new lighting laws.

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Assorted Links

Berkeley, San Francisco, and Oakland have a proportionally higher stock of older housing than many East Coast and Midwestern cities that were founded and developed much earlier — places such as Philadelphia, New York City, Baltimore, Chicago, Hartford, Conn., Savannah, Ga., and Washington, D.C.

Stormwater from areas around the nine-county Bay Area contribute more toxic pollution to San Francisco, San Pablo and Suisun bays than the rivers carrying agricultural runoff from the Valley.

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Assorted Links

San Francisco parks waste thousands of gallons of drinkable water each day through cracked pipes and aged irrigation systems.

California’s Green Building Standards Code – known as CalGreen – will become mandatory on January 1, 2011.

A new study reports that most heat pumps in the UK are not performing as intended.

A competition focusing on the Water-Energy Nexus is looking for start-ups that save energy in moving, treating and using water and wastewater.

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City Rankings – Energy, Walkability, and Transit

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This Friday’s links highlight a few examples of city rankings…

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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has released a list of 22 American cities named “2010 Smarter Cities” for their investment in green power, energy efficiency measures and conservation – Oakland, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Santa Cruz are the Northern California cities that made the list and have profiles on the NRDC website.

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Walk Score has ranked 2,508 neighborhoods in the largest 40 U.S. cities to help you find walkable neighborhoods – San Francisco is ranked #1!

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The 2006 American Community Survey measured the percentage of commuters who take public transit, as opposed to walking, driving, riding a bicycle, or other ways of getting to work. In the top 50 are the Bay Area cities of San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Richmond, and Concord.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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The Difference Between the CEC and CPUC

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I know what you’re thinking – a really exciting topic. But this question has actually come up in conversation a remarkable number of times in the last couple of weeks. This is not intended to be a definitive guide, but just to start the delineation between the organizations.

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Basics

The CEC is California’s primary energy policy and planning agency.

The CPUC regulates privately owned electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, railroad, rail transit, and passenger transportation companies.

This post will focus only on the energy aspects of the CPUC’s role.

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The California Energy Commission (CEC)

The five CEC commissioners are appointed by the California governor and must be approved by the Senate. Terms are five years. Commissioners must represent the following specific areas of expertise: law, environment, economics, science/engineering, and the public at large.

The CEC’s responsibilities include:

  • Forecasting future energy needs and keeping historical energy data.
  • Licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger.
  • Promoting energy efficiency by setting the state’s appliance and building efficiency standards and working with local government to enforce those standards.
  • Supporting public interest energy research that advances energy science and technology through research, development, and demonstration programs.
  • Supporting renewable energy by providing market support to existing, new, and emerging renewable technologies; providing incentives for small wind and fuel cell electricity systems; and providing incentives for solar electricity systems in new home construction.
  • Developing and implementing the state Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program to reduce the state’s petroleum dependency and help attain the state climate change policies.
  • Administering more than $300 million in American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funding through the state energy program, the energy efficiency conservation and block grant program; the energy efficiency appliance rebate program and the energy assurance and emergency program.
  • Planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies.

The CEC is located in Sacramento, CA.

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The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)

The five CPUC commissioners are also appointed by the California governor and must be approved by the Senate. Terms are six years.

The CPUC regulates investor owned utilities (IOUs) that distribute electricity and natural gas, including Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) and Southern California Gas Company.

The CPUC does not regulate municipal utilities, such as the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD).

The CPUC’s mission is the following:

  • The California Public Utilities Commission serves the public interest by protecting consumers and ensuring the provision of safe, reliable utility service and infrastructure at reasonable rates, with a commitment to environmental enhancement and a healthy California economy.  We regulate utility services, stimulate innovation, and promote competitive markets, where possible, in the communications, energy, transportation, and water industries.

The CPUC has a number of different divisions; the Energy Division assists Commission activities in the electricity, natural gas, steam, and petroleum pipeline industries. Energy Division handles the regulation and Commission approval of official rates and terms of service for energy IOUs.

Because the regulated California utilities are so large, and their programs reach so many customers, CPUC energy policy decisions and goals have wide influence in California. The CPUC touches programs in energy efficiency, demand response, low-income assistance, distributed generation, and self-generation, among others. It has a role in California climate policy. It is overseeing the CA utilities’ switch to Smart Grid technologies. The CPUC regulated electric generation and procurement, electric rates and markets, gas policy and rates, and electric transmission and distribution.

CPUC headquarters are in San Francisco, CA.

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