Last Thursday afternoon your Creative Greenius took yet another step on my journey to employ my professional skills, talents and resources for greater green good and not just to line my own pockets.
And so it was that I found myself in the Hermosa Beach City Council Chambers addressing the Green Task Force audience you cannot see in this photo as I presented my Finding The Green To Green The Grid House By House PowerPoint. (Click Here to Download a PDF copy of my presentation)
That audience is made up mostly of city staff members from the 17 different cities that make up the South Bay COG plus some interested citizens of those cities. On this day it also included several board members of the Environmental Priorities Network, the Reverend Ron and even Mrs. Greenius.
Fortunately I suffered no stage fright or stress because I had spent many weeks researching, interviewing, analyzing and then crafting a presentation that simplifies the information and makes the subject clear and easy for everyone to understand. For the past two decades I’ve been one of the top freelance pros in the United States doing this kind of work for my multinational corporate clients. I bring the same level of focus, dedication and work ethic to the pro bono work I’m now doing.
But I also bring something more on top of all that.
I bring a passion that’s driven by my sense of urgency over our climate change crisis. And the reason I bring it hard and strong is because I have to fill the big black hole left by our local media and our local governments who aren’t doing their job.
Both of these institutions are going broke and are overwhelmed and understaffed. It is painfully obvious that they cannot do the necessary and vital work we used to count on them for. They are not bringing it – fast, hard or any other way.
I could choose to just complain, bitch and rail about the situation – or I can stand up, take responsibility and do something about it.
I choose to do the right thing.
I choose to be the change. I choose to be the voice that can change a room, and then a city. I choose to do what it takes.
And what it takes is a week of reviewing the six hours of taped presentations and all the PowerPoints and related links from the April 29 California Energy Commission’s AB 811 Staff Workshop.
It takes the Greenius an entire day to get up to speed on the judicial validation issues and understand the differences between in rem validation and mandamus validation; to learn about the 1911 Assessment Act and how AB 811 amends Chapter 29 of that act; to discern the differences between AB 811’s Special Assessment Districts compared to SB 279’s Mello-Ross type Special Tax Districts; to get up to speed on HERS ratings and SEER ratings for HVACs.
And I loved every minute of all that digging, discovering. reviewing, learning and translating it all into an easy-to-understand 15 minute presentation.
And I loved sharing all that with the audience at the South Bay Cities COG Green Task Force audience. In fact I’m happy to come to your town and talk to your city council about how the AB 811 programs work, why they need them right now and how they can participate.
Of course it wasn’t the Creative Greenius show last Thursday – I was just one of over half-dozen different presenters that included Heidi Aten from the COG’s Carbon Footprint project, Larry Sutton from Southern California Edison, Mark Greninger from the County of Los Angeles, Jackie Bacharach the Executive Director of the COG, Marilyn Lyon the Program Manger of the Environmental Services Center, Pam Townsend a Senior Planner with the city of Hermosa Beach and Rick Longobart the fleet manager for the City of Inglewood.
Each of them gave terrific presentations of their own and it’s a shame that no one from the local paper, the Daily Breeze, was there and that this meeting will get zero local media coverage and no widespread sharing of what was presented will occur in the South Bay… Except of course here in the Creative Greenius blog which is now clearly the environmental media of note in this market. That’s one of the reasons I publicly fired the Breeze months ago and canceled my subscription and now take five minutes each morning to breeze through the Breeze for free on line.
So I’m happy to report to you that Jacki Bacharach announced that funding has been secured for NEVs – Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (restricted to 25 miles an hour) that will be used in locations like the Riviera Village in Redondo Beach to test their efficiency and practically as we move away from greenhouse gas emitting vehicles and the carbon economy. More to come on these zero emission vehicles in another post.
We also learned from Marilyn Lyon that Federal Stimulus money will be coming L.A. County’s way and will be used to create more Environmental Service Centers throughout the county based on the model of the South Bay Environmental Service Center. With energy efficiency mandates now a major part of California state law and goals of weatherizing millions of older homes around the state and cutting each building’s carbon footprint these ESCs will become valuable go-to centers for homeowners and businesses.
Larry Sutton, the Account Executive from Southern California Edison, did the perfect job teeing up my solar financing presentation by sharing with all of us just how much SCE’s electric rates will be going up this year.
Larry could have really scared the hell out of every one if he had shared the numbers of how much rates are expected to go up in the next five years, but he spared us that. But those rates will be going up, up, up whether anyone is talking about it now or not. All the more reason you should be going solar and produce your own clean, green energy instead of paying the electric company.
Mark Greninger, the Geographic Information Officer for Los Angeles County got me very excited with his presentation following mine because he’s the guy responsible for the new, knock-your-socks off L.A. County Solar Map. What a brilliant job he has done –
This new tool is the most valuable ever offered L.A. county residents for going solar and you should go there right now and check out your own home’s and business’ potential for solar. The main Solar Map page offers information on existing residential and commercial solar installs throughout the county. As you can see above there are only 11 total solar PV systems in my own zip code generating a paltry 34.7 kW.
Both Redondo Beach and Torrance are handicapped with mid-20th century mindsets, their governments lack the leadership vigor and subject matter expertise and have not kept up with the times enough to be the kind of civic assets their residents require for the critical times we live in.
Both of these cities need help now and they should ask for it from their citizens. It’s only political arrogance and ignorance that keeps them from doing so.
It is already well past the time for Torrance to establish a Citizen’s Green Task Force to do the work the Torrance Environmental Commission is not doing on behalf of the city’s environmental quality and future.
Councilman Bill Brand needs to step up quickly in Redondo Beach and live up to his environmental credentials. It’s time to start moving and accomplishing things, Bill.
No offense, and I wish we had luxury of time to wait on you and be patient, but from the climate change data I’m reviewing daily we’re already well past that point. You need to make the environment the priority in Redondo Beach.
But the County of Los Angeles under the leadership of Howard Choy, the Energy Services Manager is stepping up where others have shrunk. The County is taking the local lead in AB 811 financing and putting together a countywide program and their new solar map on line will be a huge asset. Just plug an address into the window and you get a high definition satellite image of your property – and a goldmine more. The county has done a tremendous job of cross referencing all their data to give you the most objective and informative view of your roof’s solar potential available anywhere.
In the photo above I’ve entered the address for the office of my State Senator, Jenny Oropeza, which I think would be a perfect location for a solar PV system. And as you can see from the County’s estimate above the solar facts agree with me. They’ve got 4,075 square feet suitable for solar which would allow them to generate 61 Kw of electric power – that’s almost twice what my whole zip code produces. Senator Oropeza’s office building could save $21,940 a year in electricity costs if they put in a solar system.
And here’s the bird’s eye view the L.A. County Solar Map gives you of the same property. You can see the same quality in views looking North, South, East and West:
When I told my GRID Alternatives Team Leader Training Class yesterday about the L.A. County’s new Solar Map and tools and had them demo it they instantly saw what a tremendous asset this would be to anyone either considering getting solar or installing solar.
The Greenius recommends that every city in the South Bay Council of Governments add links to this County Solar Map to their own city websites immediately. And while they’re at it they should add a page about AB 811 financing and start a waiting list for their citizens who are interested in participating. I’d be happy to supply the content gratis to any city that asks.
I’ll be at the Palos Verdes Street Fair next weekend on behalf of the South Bay Environmental Services Center and you’re welcome to come by our booth and we can talk all about it.