Category Archives: Energy Saving

Eclipse and Planning

How did California Grid Operators Manage the Eclipse? This is the kind of thing our power companies plan for… While school kids were gathered to “see the sun go out” others were making plans to provide power from list solar generation.
Grid managers knew exactly when the moon would transit the sun’s path, blotting out gigawatts of solar power generation along its path. California was not in the path of totality, but it was projected that the eclipse would knock out about 5,600 megawatts of solar power supplied by utility-scale power plants and rooftop solar panels. Utilities, however, were prepped and ready to replace the shortfall. IEEE has meetings and a monthly magazine that explains and discusses engineering and more.

Five Inconvenient Truths -Global steel industry

Interesting article, it discusses trade, overcapacity, raw materials, growth/slow down in building, and re-purposing of existing mills.  Maybe that is true. Read more here.

I must admit I am most intrigued by the existence of this group:

John Lichtenstein is a managing director for Accenture Strategy and the global lead of Accenture’s metals group.
The article did not discuss:  
  1. Changes in Environmental regulation. What if the total cost of an item was part of the selection process for materials (Aluminum vs. Steel)? What if LEED building specified LOCAL MATERIAL use or adding the effects of long distance shipping into the environmental degradation? What if shipping companies were forced to contribute money to the clean-up of the plastic gyre in the Pacific Ocean when shipping across the Pacific Ocean?  Unlikely, but possible and more sensible than carbon credits.
  2. Quality of the steel produced in China (I’d really like to know why the Bay Bridge is rusting with its low quality steel imported from China), coupled with the environmental devastation caused by converting raw materials to finished goods in a country that does not have strict environmental regulations and technologies.
  3. The main premise that global demand is slowing and will remain so, flies in the face of the greatest population being urban, and the population continues to expand. Housing in urban areas is made with steel, when it is high-density.

There is always room to learn more. I’ll be interested in Accenture’s next set of statistics.

There are many other Accenture articles; here is another from the same author.

World Environment Day June 5

What can you do? TIPS and HINTS

Energy:

  • Make your computer more efficient. Remove screensavers and turn on your computer’s power management features to save energy and extend the life of your battery.
  • Unplug. Devices like phone chargers and power adapters continue to draw electricity even when not in active use. So unplug these items when they are not in use to save energy and the environment.
  • Opt for the revolving door. Energy is wasted when we enter and exit a warm or cool building. Help us conserve by using the revolving door.

Use Less Paper:

  • Make your meetings digital. In the meeting invitation, let your colleagues know that the meeting will be paperless. Use projectors and monitors to display slides rather than printing handouts and encourage attendees to use their laptops for slide viewing and note taking.
  • Print responsibly. Make double-sided printing your default, purchase 100% recycled paper and reuse sheets whenever possible.
  • Transition to online banking. Take advantage of  many paperless banking options, which offer convenient and secure access for account holders while conserving resources and money.
  • Use Microsoft OneNote.  This is so much easier and better than a paper notebook! Take your meeting notes online, file them online and easily share them. This works so well for me!

Reduce Waster & Recycle:

  • Dispose of Electronic Waste responsibly. Never recycle it or throw it in the regular trash. There are many local recyclers in your area, Goodwill and community groups have recycling days.
  • Trade before you buy. Before you purchase something new, see if your friends family have what you need, or upgrade to get just the thing you need. Look on Craigslist.org for swaps and trades. Renting equipment, or using a renting/sharing app  works well for equipment that you seldom use: trimmers/hedgers, kayaks, canoes, wheel-barrows, cement mixers, tile cutters, nailers, floor sanders…. you know! …the stuff that can fill up your garage!
  • Take advantage of the recycling and composting facilities available near you. Protect the environment and save valuable company resources by sorting your trash correctly.

Save Water:

  • Refill and reuse. Conserve water when using a reusable water bottle or hydration backpack by reducing water used in producing disposable bottles and shipping containers to new locations.
  • Conserve energy. Electricity uses water. In fact, the energy sector is the single largest consumer of water in the United States, using 201 billion gallons a day to generate electricity. WOW!!! So, save two resources at once by being energy efficient.
  • Turn faucets off all the way. A steady drip can waste 20 gallons of water per day. And report any leaks as soon as you notice them in bathrooms, kitchens, gyms or any other locations.
  • When working out, make sure your fitness center knows you are environmentally minded by asking your fitness center staff about low volume shower heads. Post-workout showers: turn off the water while shaving, shampooing or lathering up.

Green your Commute:

  • Route your commute. You can find the fastest way to work using public transit — and other useful information — by using helpful websites like publictransportation.org
  • Combine your commute with exercise. Check out bicycle safety tips  from the CDC and facts and stats  from Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center to learn how you can commute by bike or walking and save yourself a trip to the gym.
  • Use more active transportation. Researchers looked at residents in Charlotte, North Carolina , before and after the city built a light-rail transit system (LRT). People who used the LRT reported they walked more when using the train than when they drove regularly. And they lost weight.

Get involved in your community and help with conservation, tree planting, beach clean-up and other eco-activities!

Earth Day with a Environmental View from the Pool

Across the globe, April 22 is celebrated as a day of support for environmental protection, but at Wells Fargo, every day is Earth Day. This commitment is illustrated through partnerships with businesses that are working to create a lower-carbon economy and reduce the impacts of climate change, like Alan Smith Pools in Orange Country, California believes in  water conservation and sustainability.
With almost 4 decades of experience, this company takes a long-term view toward the Earth Day mantra of reduce, reuse, recycle — using efficient and eco-friendly construction practices. With 29,000 projects completed, it is great environmental news that THIS  company has proven to be a pioneer in pools / spas.

  • innovative materials and repairs when possible
  • repairing pools with a view towards reuse, reduction of waste
  • saving millions of gallons of pool water
  • purifying water through osmosis
  • company-owned electric vehicles
  • implementing a waste management system for demolition debris
  • recycles 100% of demolition materials

“We know water is a precious commodity, especially in California, so we are continuously looking at ways to conserve the water that sustains our industry and manage our waste materials while constructing pools to be more sustainable. When the drought hit hard, we knew we had to help make our industry be more efficient and cut down on water waste to survive. This is why we began educating communities and regulators on the benefits of water recycling and purifying technology.”  — Alan Smith

Working with operators of large-scale pools such as YMCAs, & resorts, water waste is 3X – 4X  their annual water volume. Higher traffic means high levels of cleaning chemicals and the need to be completely drained and refilled with clean water every year. EACH 700,000 gallon pool that adds up to 2.8 million gallons of precious water drained into the sewers. The water purification technology that Alan proposed would recycle the existing water through reverse osmosis, removing impurities down to the level of drinking water–all within two to three days.

Smith recently acquired two water purification trailers to work with more customers; which makes $$ sense for CA homeowners as water districts move toward a tiered pricing system.

Kent Westfall
Commercial Division Manager
(760) 399-6428

Greenlining Institute Serves Non-Profits

At a time when nonprofits are being displaced due to high rents, the Greenlining Institute is providing a safe haven space to several nonprofits at affordable, below-market rents at its newly renovated energy-efficient building at 360 14th St. in the heart of downtown Oakland.

In late February 2017, the Greenlining Institute hosted a grand opening event to showcase the space with elected officials, activists, nonprofits and the community. During the event, Greenlining Institute President Orson Aguilar thanked all the  sponsors for their support. He wished the Center had enough space to house other nonprofits currently being displaced.

With a long relationship of more than 2 decades, along with other sponsors, a grant of $500,000 from Wells Fargo helps makes 360 Center possible. This is an especially important time, because many non-profits are leaving Oakland.  — the editor

Gas Taxes & Gas Prices in CA

California Legislature passed a bill (Thursday April 6, 2017) —  a  $52 billion transportation package- passed with a two-thirds vote. This is a 12 cents a gallon increase in gasoline prices and more. 

We often pass bills, and learn about the consequences later. More than that, I believe what DOES NOT WORK is continuing to raise taxes without showing progress.

Let’s face it. We have a lousy track record on roads.

It seems everything is getting squeezed in California.  Will small businesses simply leave CA?

  • How will CA really fix our roads? (Roads are still unrepaired in cities and highways, and we keep paying.)
  • How can we ENSURE quality infrastructure updates? (Remember, corroding Chinese STEEL in the Bay Bridge?) (Road extensions that cost triple the estimate?)
  • How can we get fair, competitive bids? How can we stop year over year cost over-runs?
  • Will we address FLOODING on our highways? and Road Safety?  It has been a mess this year!

Senate Bill 1, which would fix California’s pothole-ridden roads and unstable bridges by hiking gas taxes and vehicle license fees.

  •  It squeaked by in the Senate 27-11
  • In the Assembly – It passed narrowly, 54-26.
  • After passing, the Legislature’s Democratic leaders began lining up for FUNDING  transportation projects for their districts. (Pork Barrel politics)
  • We really need oversight here, let’s prioritize, road repair, safety and removing hazards RATHER than “let’s build a new ITEM in my district”.

More details:

The deal will hike gas taxes +12 cents per gallon and diesel taxes +20 cents per gallon, starting Nov. 1, 2017.  It will create a new vehicle license fees starting Jan. 1.

  • nearly half of California drivers whose cars are worth under $5,000 would pay a $25 fee each year (50% of the cars in CA are worth less than 5K – WHO made this estimate?)
  • vehicles valued between $5,000 and $25,000 — about 40 percent of drivers in the state +pay $50.
  • Drivers of luxury cars would pay as much as+$175 more.
  • +$100 per year, starting in 2020, for electric vehicles

The bulk of the money would  go to road repairs, though it also includes more funding for public transit.

WHO will this affect? Many small businesses and consumers because cost increases would be passed on to consumers.  Construction workers, Landscapers, Mail-order, Internet Businesses (Amazon!), Tesla, Toyota, Diesel car owners, even the Clunker cars would take on a $25 registration fee.

We already have gas taxes, but judging by the pot holes that can pop tires and break axles, there has not been much investment in ROAD SAFETY OR MAINTENANCE. I wonder where the last 5 years of gas taxes went? Seriously, have you seen improvements in our roads? At least, Bike riders were not considered or included in this bill to provide road repairs.

It is often said that Democrats main concern is for Climate Change. Does this reduce driving from the average 40 miles /day? Does a gasoline tax reduce the numbers of cars on the road or lessen pollution? Does it even create local jobs? As a state, we need to take a look at our lack of strategic planning, cost to workers, state budget. As a Sanctuary City, SF & LA might be doubly concerned over Federal Funding cuts due to non-compliance.

Governor Brown, heard angry protests on:

  • environmental justice for low-income /working-class communities
  • regarding the Late-night concession to the trucking industry (politics in action!)
  • communities impacted most by dirty air

I imagine that CA tax-payers are wondering where this huge PILE of money will go. Where is the oversight? We keep paying and paying and still and still hear the standard line: We Don’t Have Enough $$.  We haven’t added roads to CA recently, we can’t maintain what we have, and our mass transit is a MESS. Go ahead, ride BART after 8pm, you’ll see that BART doubles as our “Bay Area homeless shelter”.

Another Viewpoint:  More pain at the pump? a video by PragerU

Wells Fargo Adds 10 Clean-Tech Startups to Innovation Incubator

This WF program helps advance energy efficiency for commercial buildings by providing startups with cash grants and in-kind resources to accelerate innovative clean technologies

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) today announced it has selected the third round of clean technology startup companies to join the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2), a five-year, $10 million program which helps advance energy efficiency by accelerating sustainable commercial-building technologies. The 10 early-stage companies in Round 3 will each receive up to $250,000 in cash and in-kind technical assistance to advance their technologies and an opportunity to beta test within Wells Fargo’s real estate footprint. Launched in 2014, IN2 is funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and co-administered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

The 10 early-stage companies include a diverse mix of technologies designed to advance energy and water efficiency through HVAC system innovation, building management and controls software, advanced lighting, water-data technologies and more. They join 10 other companies selected for IN2 in prior rounds, bringing the total to 20 early stage companies now participating in the highly selective program.

In addition to receiving non-dilutive funding from the Wells Fargo Foundation, IN2 participants receive financial and technical consultation from a network of experts, as well as research and testing support at NREL’s world-class facility in Golden, Colo. Clean-tech startups participating in IN2 will have their technologies validated at NREL’s facilities, and many will follow the lab validation with beta testing at select Wells Fargo locations. The real-world beta testing is a signature component of the IN2 program and an important validation exercise for startups to learn how their technologies will perform and integrate with other systems.

As an organization managing nearly 100 million square feet of real estate, we know that efficiency matters, and we are pleased that our efforts to build and foster an ecosystem that accelerates the commercialization of clean technologies for commercial buildings is bearing fruit,” said Ashley Grosh, vice president and IN2 co-lead for Wells Fargo. “Companies from rounds one and two have achieved significant milestones on their way to the commercial marketplace. We are pleased to add this third round of innovators to IN2 and expect the momentum we’ve seen to date continue across the program.”

The 10 clean technology startups joining Round 3 of the IN2 program are:

  • Transformative Wave: (Kent, Wash/Boulder, Colo.) HVAC, light, and battery storage retrofit kit for commercial buildings
  • Software Motor Corporation: (Sunnyvale, Calif.) Super high-efficiency Internet-enabled motor for HVAC applications
  • PowerFlex Systems: (Los Altos, Calif.) Adaptive EV charging network for demand response and renewable integration
  • simuwatt®: (Boulder, Colo.) Rapid energy auditing software and platform
  • Maalka: (New York, N.Y.) Open modeling platform for managing large scale building sustainability initiatives
  • Geli: (San Francisco, Calif.) Software platform to design, automate, and manage energy storage systems
  • APANA: (Bellingham, Wash.) C&II smart water management systems using IoT and prescriptive analytics
  • EdgePower: (Aspen, Colo.) Cloud-hosted energy simulation application for analyzing and enhancing building performance
  • Ibis Networks: (Honolulu, Hawaii) Plug load management for the enterprise
  • J2 Innovations: (Chino, Calif.) Building automation and operating system for connecting and controlling devices

IN2 continues to attract high quality applicants and companies, and is proving out the model that we had envisioned; participating companies have been acquired by successful clean-technology corporations, received follow-on funding, and beta demonstrations are underway within the program,” said Richard Adams, Director of NREL’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center. “We are enthusiastic about the opportunity to advance these early stage technologies as well as to offer real-world test conditions in order to optimize their potential for success in the market.”

The IN2 program is part of Wells Fargo’s 2020 Corporate Social Responsibility Commitments, which include commitments to accelerate the transition to a lower carbon economy and provide $65 million to environmentally-focused nonprofits and innovative projects that are delivering social, economic and environmental impact. IN2 would not be possible without the collaboration and partnership of its 44 Channel Partners across the U.S., which include universities, business plan competitions and other clean technology accelerators. These Channel Partners provide a pipeline of early stage, high quality startup company referrals to IN2.

Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator Channel Partners include:

  • ACRE |Urban Future Lab / Powerbridge
    NYU Tandon School of Engineering | Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) | Washington, D.C.
  • Cal-Tech, Flow Program | Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Carnegie Mellon University | Pittsburgh, Penn.
  • Case Western Reserve University | Cleveland, Ohio
  • Clean Energy Trust | Chicago, Ill.
  • Cleantech Group | San Francisco. Calif.
  • Cleantech Open | Redwood City, Calif.
  • Coachella Valley Economic Partnership | Palm Springs, Calif.
  • Colorado State University Energy Institute | Fort Collins, Colo.
  • Energy Excelerator | Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Fraunhofer CSE TechBridge Program | Boston, Mass.
  • Green Town Labs | Boston, Mass.
  • Imagine H20, Inc. | San Francisco, Calif.
  • Innosphere | Denver, Colo.
  • Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator | Los Angeles, Calif.
  • MassChallenge | Boston, Mass.
  • MIT Energy Club | Cambridge, Mass.
  • Northeast Clean Energy Council (NECEC) Institute | Boston, Mass.
  • NextEnergy Center | Detroit, Mich.
  • Northwestern University | Evanston, Ill.
  • Oregon BEST | Portland, Ore.
  • Portland State University | Portland, Ore.
  • Prospect SV | San Jose, Calif.
  • Purdue University | West Lafayette, Ind.
  • Rice University Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship | Houston, Texas
  • Stanford, TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy | Stanford, Calif.
  • Sustainable Startups | Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Telluride Venture Accelerator | Telluride, Colo.
  • Texas A&M University, Research Valley Partnership | College Station, Texas
  • Texas State University | San Marcos, Texas
  • The Water Council | Milwaukee, Wis.
  • UC Berkeley, Cleantech 2 Market (C2M)| Berkeley, Calif.
  • UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center (EEC) | Davis, Calif.
  • UC Irvine | Irvine, Calif.
  • UC San Diego | San Diego, Calif.
  • University of Colorado | Boulder, Colo.
  • University of Denver | Denver, Colo.
  • University of Michigan | Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • UNC Charlotte | Charlotte, N.C.
  • UT Austin, Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) | Austin, Texas
  • UT Austin, McCombs Business School Texas Venture Labs| Austin, Texas
  • University of Washington Foster School of Business | Seattle, Wash.
  • University of Wisconsin – Madison | Madison, Wis.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 8,600 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 42 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 269,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 27 on Fortune’s 2016 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. In 2015, Wells Fargo donated $281.3 million to 16,300 nonprofits, ranking No. 3 on the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s rankings of the top corporate cash philanthropists. Wells Fargo team members volunteered 1.86 million hours in 2015, serving more than 40,000 nonprofits. Wells Fargo’s corporate social responsibility efforts are focused on three priorities: economic empowerment in underserved communities, environmental sustainability, and advancing diversity and social inclusion. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.

When Santa Turned Green

Image result for When Santa turned greenA green Christmas story, that discussing what kids can do to make a change. It is a beautiful book with great pictures and suggestions.  Written by Victoria Perla and illustrated by Mirna Kantarevic, it was published in 2007 but I missed it.

It talks about global warming (scary) and the ice caps melting (more scary). But it manages to show that the children have the power to change the world.

 

My favorite inspired passage in the book is this:  “Santa knows the world’s children better than anybody. How smart they are. And how good they are. (Remember, he’s been checking that list for a looooooooong time.)  But most of all, he knows that when a child believes… miracles happen.”  — the editor

Other suggestions in the book, that kids can take part in:

  • Walk to school, less fuel, more time to talk about life.
  • Grandpa buys a hybrid car.
  • Compost and recycle, the families trash reduces by half!
  • Use the reusable lunch containers rather than the plastic bags.
  • Start a school recycling program.
  • Invent new energy sources.
  • Turn off all the lights when you leave a room.
  • Plant a tree every month.
  • Select toys that have been made locally.

I love the list and in the book even Santa joins in and becomes more environmentally aware and his toy factory goes solar.

This wasn’t in the book, but would be an important addition for ALL children and adults….. More is just more… we buy too much.  Just because you can buy them,  doesn’t mean that you NEED 20 Christmas or Hanukkah presents. Let’s consume LESS too. We can teach our kids that a thoughtful gift or a handmade gift means the world to the recipient.  We can “down size” our desires to have everything and even then …. the gift doesn’t have to come from the mall or mail-order.

Tips for Conserving Water

2013 TO 2014 233

There are many ways that water is wasted besides watering your thirsty lawn!

  • Use reusable water bottles or hydration backpack – this reduces water used in producing disposable bottles and shipping containers to new locations.
  • Watch your Power Use! Creating Electricity uses water. In fact, the energy sector is the single largest consumer of water in the United States, using 201 billion gallons a day to generate electricity. Save two resources at once by being energy efficient.
  • Turn faucets off all the way. A steady drip can waste 20 gallons of water per day. And report any leaks as soon as you notice them in bathrooms, kitchens, gyms or any other locations. Learn how to change washers in the faucets, it is easy to do and you’ll be able to take care of leaking faucets right away.
  • Working out? Make sure to check on your gym AND home have  low volume shower heads.
  • Post-workout showers: turn off the water while shaving, shampooing or lathering up.
  • Don’t waste food, buy less, buy just what you need, Meat and veggies, fruits and nuts all take a large amount of water to produce. Let your lettuce rot in the frig is like throwing 50 gallons of water on the street!
  • Divert your grey water to the garden. Grey water comes from washing, bathing, rinsing food it may have soap… but it works really well on plants and your garden. We use it all the time in our garden, collecting wash water from clothes that are washed with bio-degradable soap is super EASY! Our kale doesn’t mind a bit of soap, its thirsty all the time, so we use grey water from our washer to water it. It looks like it needs another drink!
  • Since ALFALFA &  PASTURE for animals is a primary water user in the drought-ridden state of CA, you could eat less meat / dairy – this is a health benefit in many ways… OR… you could buy beef from other areas (like TX) that have more water.
  • Take a look at which crops use the most water  (Holy Kaw INFOGRAPHIC) (i.e., Almonds is one of the thirstiest)  and switch to other foods.

Buscycle – Group Bicycle Pedal Power

Saluting Pedal Power!
There is a “Ride your Bike to Work” day and gas prices help us “convert” from our cars to bikes everyday! Pedaling can be a mere method or it can be an experience.
Take a look at the BUSCYCLE for inspiration! I have gotten to be part of the pedal team, lumbering along at a top speed of 5mph or maybe slower, it was GREAT. Highly recommended. You can see it at Palo Alto Music events during the summer.
Take a look at their gallery: http://www.buscycle.com/gallery.html

Party bike – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

If you love this kind of silliness and innovation, its a mash-up that needs your energy (volunteer) and your donations (send a check).

Here are pictures of a Buscycle in Boston. Not the same as the Berkeley buscycle but still loads of fun!

This buscycle is made of mostly recycled and repurposed parts. Most of the group cycles start out that way, because that is the path of most quirky adventures or “invention on a dare!   The motorized car-like lazyboy was just such a project!

    

And in San Francisco:  SF BIKE COALITION  they have events, maps and news on the latest trends and difficulties of biking in and around SF.