Friday, October 30, 2009

Climate Corps Champions Energy Efficiency

Together with partner Net Impact, EDF's Climate Corps program embeds talented MBA students from top-ranking business schools in leading companies to make the business case for energy efficiency investments in office buildings and data centers.

The program just completed its second year. Overall, the 2009 class of Climate Corps fellows uncovered efficiencies in lighting, computer equipment and heating and cooling systems that could:
  • Save more than $54 million in net operational costs over the lifetime of the projects;
  • Cut the equivalent of 160 million kilowatt hours of energy use annually—enough to power 14,000 homes;
  • Avoid 100,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year— equivalent to taking more than 12,000 SUVs off the road.
These astounding outcomes were achieved by keeping an eye on no-cost or low-cost solutions that can provide the largest savings.

Read more here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Laundry to Landscape

SF backs off on graywater permit requirement
Kelly Zito, San Francisco Chronicle, October 22, 2009

San Francisco's Building Inspection Commission says it will coordinate with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to develop a pilot program for residential graywater systems, backing away from a controversial proposal that would have required homeowners to obtain potentially costly permits for systems to recycle household water for use in backyards and gardens.

Commissioners are hopeful that this new tack strikes a balance between graywater proponents frustrated by San Francisco's attempt to alter state codes and city inspectors who feared the do-it-yourself systems would result in a plumbing free-for-all. Complicated graywater systems and those for multi-unit buildings would still require permits and detailed plans.

Read the complete story here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stimulus Funding for Brownfields in San Francisco

$1.8 M in Stimulus Goes to Brownfields Jobs
Environmental Protection Online, October 19, 2009

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) recently announced $5 million in grants and low-interest loans that will help bring hundreds of jobs to the San Francisco Bay Area and turn contaminated property into land for apartments, retail shops, day care centers, and a park.

Funds for the revitalization work will come from the $1.8 million in federal stimulus money DTSC received from EPA over the summer, along with money from the DTSC’s Revolving Loan Fund Program, which offers low-interest loans and grants to clean up brownfields. The Revolving Loan Fund, launched three years ago with a $3 million grant from EPA, is overseen by DTSC in partnership with the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and the city of Los Angeles. The partnership is expected to approve additional grants and loans in the near future.

Read the complete story here.

Green Lining to Real Estate Bust

Developers' bust proves a boon for land trusts
Peter Fimrite, San Francisco Chronicle, October 19, 2009

San Francisco-based Trust for Public Land recently agreed to purchase and forever preserve 595 acres of oak woodlands and 2 miles of river in the Sierra foothills.

The chaparral-covered land 15 miles outside of Marysville had been slated to be bulldozed for homes. But the housing bust allowed the trust to swoop in with a $4 million offer that was quickly accepted.

It seems like a rare opportunity, but all over California, tough economic times are forcing investors and developers to abandon housing projects and real estate deals that would have made them a fortune just a few years ago. Conservation organizations and trusts are moving in to buy the land, often at bargain basement prices.

The trust has also made a $3 million offer for the adjacent 505-acre Blue Point property, a stunningly picturesque area of historic sites and spectacular cliffs that were scoured out by hydraulic gold mining between 1865 and 1884.

And, it is in the process of purchasing the Bruin Ranch, a 2,300-acre oak woodland about 15 miles away for $12.6 million. It was for sale for $30 million three years ago.

Land deals are being negotiated by the trust throughout the country, including 80 acres of waterfront property in Florida owned by the company run by former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo.

Read the complete story here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Executive Order to Set GHG Emissions Reduction Targets

President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order today that sets sustainability goals for federal agencies and focuses on making improvements in their environmental, energy, and economic performance. The Executive Order requires federal agencies to set 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets within 90 days.

The new executive order mandates agencies across the federal government to "measure, manage, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions toward agency-defined targets," the White House said in a statement.

The Executive Order also agencies to meet a number of energy, water, and waste reduction targets, including:

  • 30% reduction in vehicle fleet petroleum use by 2020;
  • 26% improvement in water efficiency by 2020;
  • 50% recycling and waste diversion by 2015;
  • 95% of all applicable contracts will meet sustainability requirements;
  • Implementation of the 2030 net-zero-energy building requirement;
  • Implementation of the stormwater provisions of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, section 438; and
  • Development of guidance for sustainable Federal building locations.

The federal government is the largest consumer of energy in the US economy. It occupies nearly 500,000 buildings, operates more than 600,000 vehicles, employs more than 1.8 million civilians, and purchases more than $500 billion per year in goods and services.

The Executive Order builds on and expands the energy reduction and environmental requirements of Executive Order 13423 by making reductions of greenhouse gas emissions a priority of the federal government, and by requiring agencies to develop sustainability plans focused on cost-effective projects and programs.

Transportation, Land Use, Housing, and SB 375

The California Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (SB 375) links regional transportation planning processes to planning for land use and housing with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The goal of this legislation is to develop regional plans that encourage compact development served by high quality public transit.

This caucus will explore the relationship between transportation, land use, housing, and climate change and the opportunities that SB 375 may offer in advancing regional equity as it meets its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The program will explain how local land use planning processes (and related boards and commissions) will contribute to regional development and equity through the SB 375-mandated Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS).

Wednesday, October 21, 6 pm to 8 pm
David Brower Center, 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley
Seating is limited. RSVP early to guarantee your reservation.
RSVP to Laurie Jones Neighbors at Urban Habitat.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Brownfields 2009 - November 16-18, New Orleans

The National Brownfields Conference is the largest, most comprehensive conference in the nation focused on environmental revitalization and economic redevelopment. Brownfields 2009 offers over 150 educational sessions, including lively panel discussions, dynamic roundtables, outstanding plenary sessions, special trainings, and film screenings.

Major conference themes for 2009 include:

  • Community & Economic Development
  • Environmental Assessment & Cleanup
  • Financing & Financial Risk Management
  • Green Building & Sustainability
  • Information Technologies
  • International Planning & Design Approaches
  • Public Health & Worker Safety
  • Public Policy, Law, & Regulation
  • Real Estate & Dealmaking
  • Redevelopment Strategies & End Uses
  • Stakeholder Involvement & Environmental Justice

Plenary speakers include Lisa P. Jackson, EPA Administrator; Majora Carter, President of Majora Carter Group LLC, former Executive Director of Sustainable South Bronx, and MacArthur Genius Award winner; and the Honorable C. Ray Nagin, Mayor of City of New Orleans.

There is no registration fee to attend the conference. The conference is underwritten with support from the EPA.

California State Parks Foundation 40th Anniversary

Join the California State Parks Foundation for their 40th Birthday Bash. The party is scheduled for Sunday, October 25, 12:30 to 4 pm in the brand new Pavilion By the Bay on Treasure Island.

There will be birthday cake and live music with children's activities and games, fortune telling, tarot, face painting, magic, lots of food, and good times. Adults can enjoy a libation as well. There will also be a silent auction, and a live auction at 3 pm to bid on a brand new Subaru Outback.

Adults: $20 (before Oct 11) at the door: $25
Kids ages 8–12: $12.50 • Kids under 8 are free
RSVP by October 11th

For more information email or call Bonnie Davis (415.262.4409).

Sebastião Salgado Photography Exhibit

Then and Now
Photographs by Sebastião Salgado
On display through January 31, 2010 in the Hazel Wolf Gallery at the David Brower Center

This exhibition presents a selection of images spanning a career in documentary photography by renowned Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado. His images tell the story of an era, tracing the human and environmental impacts of modern industrial civilization through the lives of workers, the rural poor and the displaced. These powerful photographs have been selected from Salgado’s long term projects: Other Americas, Sahel, the End of the Road, Workers, Migrations and Africa. Also on view are select images from his current "work in progress," Genesis, which began in 2004 and will be completed in 2011. These images reveal nature – landscapes, flora, fauna and human settlements – in its earliest state.

In his native country, Sebastião and his wife Lélia work together on an environmental restoration project in Brazil called Instituto Terra. The project's mission is to restore a portion of Brazil's Atlantic forest, raise environmental awareness, and work on small economic development projects benefiting the communities living in that high biodiversity area.

The Brower Center, including the Hazel Wolf Gallery, is open weekdays from 10 am until 5 pm. The Center is located at 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley, California.

EPA Pumps $26M Green Stimulus into Southern California

Funding aimed at air quality improvements
Pat Brennan, Green OC, October 1, 2009

Yesterday at the Port of Long Beach, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson announced more than $26 million in federal stimulus funding, including millions to retrofit trucks and school buses in the South Coast Air Basin.

Much of the funding, authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is aimed at cutting diesel pollution in the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. Diesel pollution results in more than 2,000 hospitalizations and 50,000 cases of asthma and respiratory illness across the state each year, EPA says.

The funding includes:
  • $4 million for research on technology to create cleaner-burning heavy duty trucks for the air district
  • more than $4 million to replace or retrofit diesel engines for 112 pieces of cargo-handling equipment at the Port of Long Beach
  • $1.9 million to replace or retrofit 27 such pieces of equipment at the Port of Los Angeles
  • $8.8 million to “repower” at least eight switch-yard locomotives in Southern California
  • $1.7 million to the state Air Resources Board to retrofit school buses in the region, awarded in April
  • nearly $1 million to cut emissions from a variety of types of construction equipment, including tractors, excavators and forklifts
Read the complete story here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

So Right So Smart Film Screening

Earth Island Institute invites you to join them for a screening of the new documentary, So Right So Smart. This film highlights the successes of businesses that have taken positive steps toward an environmentally sustainable future, and features the pioneering work of Ray Anderson, Founder and Chairman of Interface, Inc.

The screening will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Ray Anderson, and a book signing for his new book, Confessions of a Radical Industrialist.

Sunday, October 4, 2009
2:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Richard and Rhoda Goldman Theatre
David Brower Center
2150 Allston Way (at Oxford)
Berkeley, California