In This Issue
Did you know CCSE offers free, ongoing workshops on energy efficiency, solar energy, green building, transportation and climate change? To register, click on the links below, or call (866) SDENERGY.
Solar Water Heating Contractor and Self Installer Training
Solar Shade Workshop
Impacts of Climate Change on San Diego
La Mesa's Environmental Awareness Festival
Solar Power 2008
CALSEIA Annual Meeting/Luncheon during Solar Power International 2008
Border Energy Forum
Stephen Kapp, CEM, CDSM, LEED-AP
As an alternative to pouring harsh chemicals down your drain when your pipes are clogged, consider this sustainable tip: Pour a cup of baking powder down clogged drains/ pipes, followed by a cup of vinegar and let it fizz and bubble for about fifteen minutes. Then wash it down with hot water and repeat if necessary. If that doesn’t remove the clog, a plunger will likely do the job after the baking powder and vinegar has loosened it.
Notable & Quotable
"Treat the Earth well. It was not given to you by your parents. It was loaned to you by your children"
"Sustainable development is a journey rather than a destination."
David Buzzelli, former member of Canada's National Round Table on Environment and Economy, and former president of Dow Chemical Canada Inc.
Energy Connection is a monthly e-newsletter of the California Center for Sustainable Energy.
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Irene M. Stillings
The California Center for Sustainable Energy ( CCSE) is setting local trends by continuing to align with local organizations to provide more ways to “green your world.” CCSE hosted the first annual Sustainability Fair, partnering with San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), the city of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority. Hundreds of attendees checked out the various vendor displays and workshops that showcased the latest technologies in the areas of sustainable energy, water use, recycling and waste management.
“ CCSE is here to help with information and education using workshops and events as vital tools, said Lauri Walker, Event Manager. “Our message of People, Planet and Prosperity really came through in this event.”
More than forty exhibitors showcased sustainable products at the fair. Exhibitors ranged from solar, lighting, recycling, composting and water conservation vendors to the California Energy Commission,which was promoting the New Solar Home Partnership program.
“The attendees commented on the quality of the exhibitors and the exhibitors commented on the quality leads that they had received,” said Walker. “So it was a win, win for both groups!”
>> click here to see more photos from the 2008 Sustainability Fair.
The Sustainability Fair provided the forum for people looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and water consumption, while lowering their energy costs.
"The event was a definite success," said Bob Gilleskie, CCSE Director of Engineering.
"The fact that we targeted, especially, the "prosperity" aspect of sustainability and its appeal to business customers made it very worthwhile to all who attended."
Next year’s event will include similar elements with a broad outreach to the community. Look for the 2nd Annual CCSE Sustainability Fair coming August 2009. For more information and a photo gallery of the 2008 Sustainability Fair, click here.
The Energy Resource Center is now using 100% compostable food service ware. These products are made from vegetable-based ingredients, which contain zero or negligible amounts of petrochemicals. When used in a proper composting environment, these compostable materials break down into carbon dioxide, water and natural minerals.
Currently, CCSE uses compostable cups, cutlery, plates and napkins. The two best reviewed products are the paper plates and napkins. The brown, unbleached napkins are 100% compostable, and low maintenance; We’ve been able to toss them in our composting bin and let them breakdown. The unbleached plates are as useful as any non-biodegradable variety and, when cut into small pieces, compost easily.
Our challenge has been the cutlery and cups. The cutlery, which is made from vegetable plant starch, is completely compostable, but due to the fact that it needs to be in a commercial composting environment to effectively breakdown, it doesn’t do well in the average composting bin. Another problem with the cutlery is the fact that, if heated, it actually becomes very flimsy and is difficult to use.
CCSE has tried several kinds of compostable cups in the ERC. The first type we tried was biodegradable sugar cane hot cups. These cups, which are made from sugar cane fiber, are either natural/unbleached or bleached with hydrogen peroxide. The sugar cane cups don’t have any sealant or coating, so that they are fully biodegradable and compostable. These cups worked so well, that when a hot liquid was introduced, they actually started biodegrading in our hands! Since these cups were somewhat flimsy, people had to use two cups instead of one to prevent the hot liquid from escaping or burning their hands. After we saw that this was counterproductive, we decided to move on to another set of hot cups. These hot cups are made from corn plastic and are also compostable. These cups have given us a better result and the general public has been more accepting of them;. They also feature a graphic design, which makes this brand more attractive.
As for cold cups, we’ve only used one type of cup, which is a clean cup made from corn and is 100% compostable. These cups work great, but like the cutlery, only really break down under commercial composting environments. We’re looking to experiment with cups that are made from recycled material and are recyclable.
This is a continuing effort and we are always searching for new products to utilize. We are on a quest to find products that are more compostable in the residential environment. We also sincerely hope this article will inspire you to do your own research and try out new recycled and compostable products. There is a comprehensive line of green products out there and we encourage you to let us know what has worked for you. Thank you for your support and joining our mission to become green.
CCSE’s Kara Holman interviews Sustainability Fair vendor Solatube
Green products were in the spotlight at the Sustainability Fair, including great options for energy efficiency such as The Solatube Daylighting System.
The Solatube system captures sunlight on a rooftop and redirects it down a reflective tube into interior spaces, providing natural light into dark areas of a home. According to Tim Deming, General Manager of Brighter Concepts, the premier Solatube dealer for San Diego, over the last 15 years Solatube has installed more than 100,000 daylighting systems, saving the environment more than 1,000,000 tons of carbon emissions.
“Events like CCSE’s Sustainability Fair gives us the opportunity to reach the people who want to make a difference in our environment,” said Deming.
According to Brighter Concepts, the Daylighting system can have an impact on mood as well.
“The natural light can make you feel motivated, happier and the beautiful light makes your decor look better, brighter and bigger,” said Deming.
For more information on the annual Sustainability Fair log on to www.sustainablecalifornia.org.
CCSE's Director of Engineering, Robert Gilleskie
The most common definition of sustainability, taken from the Brundtland Report of 1987, is “essentially meeting the needs of the future without jeopardizing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The concept is also characterized by the three “E’s” of sustainability – the Environment, (social) Equity and Economics, or the equivalent three “P’s” – Planet, People and Prosperity. But perhaps an even better characterization is to view sustainability as both a Challenge and an Opportunity.
The most common definition of sustainability, taken from the Brundtland Report of 1987, is “essentially meeting the needs of the future without jeopardizing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The concept is also characterized by the three “E’s” of sustainability – the Environment, (social) Equity and Economics, or the equivalent three “P’s” – Planet, People, and Prosperity. But perhaps an even better characterization is to view sustainability as both a Challenge and an Opportunity.
Sustainability is a challenge because of the urgency underlying so many sustainability related issues. Consider climate change and the many dire consequences scientists predict if measures are not taken to address it. The many outward signs including escalating atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, rising ocean temperatures, damaged coral reefs and the increased acidification of the oceans are not disputed. And even if only a fraction of the most serious predictions turns out to be true, the consequences will indeed be dire. If sea levels rise only less than a foot – much less than many predictions – the effect on coastal cities and small island nations everywhere will be enormous.
Or consider drought, especially in California. Many American cities are facing severe water shortages, but, especially in California, where so much of the population lives in what is actually a dessert – Los Angeles and San Diego most prominent – the threat is most alarming. With less than half a percent of the total water on earth potable and available, it’s no wonder that shortages have always existed, and conditions will only get worse unless properly addressed.
But that’s only half the story, as issues of sustainability also present a tremendous opportunity. This is because such issues very often call for changes to infrastructure, especially energy, water and waste management. And , as such, they require significant amounts of labor (e.g. in recycling, and both financial and intellectual capital). As a result, there are huge opportunities for economic growth in renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, ocean power and biomass energy), water infrastructure (conservation devices, desalination plants and water storage) and waste management, including recycling. All of these taken together provide huge opportunities for job growth and economic prosperity.
The lesson should be clear. Everyone should get involved in these issues of sustainability, whether it be recycling aluminum and glass at home, or reducing a business’ carbon footprint. Such activities promise to not only make for a cleaner, more healthy environment, but also a stronger economy.
Inside the San Diego Energy Resource Center Lending Library
The Energy Resource Center ( ERC) has a vast array of books, periodicals, DVDs and tools to assist businesses and home owners with energy efficiency products, services and practices. Books, periodicals and DVDs can be checked out free of charge. Please call toll-free: 1-866-SDENERGY for more information. For a look at tools and resources available in the lending library, click here.
ERC Featured Display
Name: LED Display
ERC Featured Instrument
Description: Measures luminance
Availability: Loaned free of charge for up to 5 business days.
ERC Featured Book
Author: Russell P. Leslie and Kathryn M. Conway
Description: Make the best selection of lighting for any home by selecting this guide written by experts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lighting Research Center. It covers cost estimation, installation, operation and maintenance for common home lighting designs . It also explores energy-efficient lighting alternatives and describes lamps, luminaries and controls that are readily available and easy to install. You'll find 147 lighting designs that are easy to modify to meet specific requirements, plus tables filled with data on average rated lamp life, light output, lamp prices and more.
NOTE: Books, periodicals and videos can also be checked out free of charge at CCSE. Please call Toll Free: 1-866-SDENERGY for more information.
To find prior editions of "Inside the San Diego Energy Resource Center Lending Library" information, including DVD reviews, click here.
Energy Policies, Regulations & Legislative Updates
A Summary of Recent California Public Utilities Commission regulatory activity, and what it means to the average consumer, business and/or public agency:
Energy Efficiency (R.06-04-010)
In related news, on August 19 in the recently initiated Order Instituting Rulemaking (OIR), R.08-07-011, the Proposed Decision Adopting the Long-Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan) was issued for comment. Opening comments were due September 8, and reply comments were due September 15.
California Solar Initiative, Self-Generation Incentive Program and Other Distributed Generation Issues (R.08-03-008)
SWHPP: On August 26, the CPUC hosted a public workshop to discuss issues related to the evaluation of the Solar Water Heating Pilot Program ( SWHPP). Post-workshop comments were to be filed by September 12.
CSI: On August 7, responses to Grid Alternatives’ Petition for Modification of Decision 07-11-045 were filed. The Petition for Modification seeks to modify the CSI Single-Family Low-Income (SFLI) incentive program to allow homeowners to assign their SFLI incentive payments to third parties that provide the solar equipment or installation or purchase money financing for the equipment or installation costs. On August 18, Grid Alternatives filed their reply to the responses.
On August 28, PG&E, on behalf of the CSI Program Administrators (PAs), filed a motion seeking a time extension for submission of the Advice Letter proposing the CSI Program evaluation tasks and budgets, as directed by the July 29 Assigned Commissioner’s Ruling Establishing Program Evaluation Plan for the California Solar Initiative and its accompanying California Solar Initiative Program Evaluation Plan. In a September 4 Ruling, Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Maryam Ebke extended the due date for the filing of the Advice Letter to September 15.
In related news, the September 8 California Energy Commission ( CEC) Renewables Committee Workshop was cancelled. The Workshop was to discuss the proposed changes to Guidelines for California’s Solar Electric Incentive Programs Pursuant to Senate Bill 1, which established eligibility criteria, conditions for incentives and equipment rating standards for all ratepayer-funded solar energy system programs in California, including the CSI. The CEC plans to reschedule the workshop at a later date. For more information, please visit the Notices, Report, and Other Documents for SB 1 Proceeding (Docket # 07-SB-1) page of the CEC website.
SGIP: In related news, on September 3, CEC staff held a workshop to review the draft consultant analysis of the SGIP’s Cost-Benefit Evaluation. Assembly Bill 2778 (Lieber, Chapter 617, Statutes of 2006) directs the CEC to provide a cost-benefit analysis of ratepayer subsidies for renewable and fossil fuel ultra-clean and low-emission distributed generation technologies on or before November 1 for inclusion in the 2008 Integrated Energy Policy Report ( IEPR) Update. The report is to be prepared in consultation with the California Air Resources Board ( ARB) and the CPUC. Written post-workshop comments were to be submitted by September 5.
Sunrise Powerlink Transmission Project (A.06-08-010)
For a complete list of energy-related State and Federal legislation, please visit our Web site at www.energycenter.org.
• Copyright 2008 • California Center for Sustainable Energy •