Courtney Kalashian

City of Fresno Buttons Me Up


*Editors Note: this post ran on a personal blog in October 2011.  The Home Energy Tune Up program is in a ramp down period for the remainder of 2012 but will return in full-force in 2013 through funding from Pacific Gas & Electric Company, the California Public Utilities Commission and California Rate Payers.  To track the status of this program you can check in here on our blog and at the City of Fresno website.  Now, on to the home-shaming. 

I carry an albatross of inefficiency.

My home was built in 1977 and for 33 years sat untouched by the hands of my husband's grandmother. To her credit, she did install shutters on the eastern facing windows, but I'm fairly certain that was more aesthetic than for cooling purposes.

Looking pretty and leaking $
Upon moving in our first priority was making the house livable--and for us that meant replacing every square of plaid linoleum and fiber of "goldenrod" carpet and drapery. We wanted our home to look pretty, and paid little attention to running pretty. The very little credit we deserve is that we installed ceiling fans in every room and replaced all our lighting with cfl bulbs, inside and out. That was it.

Now, as one who is compensated for evangelizing energy efficiency you would expect that my own home's efficiency was a top priority. Especially given that our monthly electric and gas bill exceeded our mortgage costs six months out of the year. It wasn't until this spring that we even started thinking about "buttoning up the house"

California, despite the boondoggle of a PACE program, has introduced some rather enticing mechanisms to incentivize homeowners to make efficiency upgrades to their home. After sitting through no less than 17 presentations on Energy Upgrade California/Residential Retrofit/Weatherization I decided that our home was ready for a makeover!

My husband immediately wanted solar. However, I knew we would be paying an arm and a leg for an over-sized solar array if we didn't get the house tuned up first. And, like we say to every city manager and public works director up and down the Valley--solar isn't worth a penny until you address your inefficiency first.

Now, here is where I profess I have a work-crush on Steven Chu. Yup, that's right Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. Mostly because he isn't afraid to speak out about gas prices, touts efficiency as a saving grace, and because he can tie-in energy storage with the latest Harry Potter release. I also really respect his personal efforts to make his home a pinnacle of energy savings. Secretary Chu has insulated, sealed and gone tankless; resulting in big time savings. So, I figured if the Secretary of Energy of the United States can take the time to insulate his pipes, the least I can do is pay someone to do it for me!

And so it began. I made my own list of "to-do's":
  1. insulate the attic and lee walls 
  2. duct inspection and sealing 
  3. AC tune-up 
  4. Insulate hot water heater  Replace hot water heater with tankless hot water heater
  5. solar shade on transom windows
In a chicken/egg scenario I can't say whether I made my list because I wanted to be more efficient or because the City of Fresno was launching a "Home Energy Tune-Up" program, free to homeowners (disclaimer: my Organization is was a sub-sub-contractor to the City on this project.  We assist in outreach to local governments.).  Likely, a little of both.  

Regardless of professional involvement, the steps of the program are so incredibly simple! 
  1. Schedule a free home energy survey by calling (855) 621-3733 or filling out an online form
  2. Be home during a 3-4 hour walk-thru survey to determine where energy is wasted
  3. Receive a detailed report from your  inspector with no-cost and low-cost ideas to improvement
There is even assistance for accessing rebates and incentives, as well as financing option for advanced upgrades.  

Our survey was completed on a Friday morning by Nathaniel Zayas of AmeriSpec, and took a little longer than four hours, but mostly because I asked him a zillion questions at every step, and because he was being assisted by this guy:
Dutch, our St. Bernard and Assistant Inspector
To my great surprise, our house wasn't in as bad shape as I thought it was.  The average home inspected has a 20% duct leakage.  After the blower test, it turned out that ours were leaking less than 10%. Our AC, as it turns out, is functioning better than expected given that it is original to the home.  We're pretty diligent about having it checked, but who's to say what Grandma did all those years so that was indeed a nice surprise.  The unit is way too big, but in all honesty that's something that I'm willing to pay extra because come July and that 20 day streak above 100 degrees I'll be glad for the chill.  

The real offenders are the furnace, the hot water heater, and the windows. 

Because we're not opting into the Energy Upgrade California program (although EUCA is awesome and if you're considering major efficiency improvements I strongly recommend you look into it) we'll be paying for each improvement upfront, in full.   With those financial realities I set up something SJVCEO recommended to local governments as gospel--a revolving energy loan fund.  Here's how it works: 
  • you have an upfront amount of money that you decide you're willing to spend on upgrades.  In our case that was $1,000.  
  • Next, you determine your project, and what your rebate is and what you can expect for a payback on the investment.  For us, we wanted to do insulation first.  One, the whole house and lee walls could be insulted within our budget.  Two, we had Z-E-R-O insulation in our home and it gets cold...and hot.  PG&E was offering a $300 rebate on the work, so in the end our cost was $900.  Pre-insulation our combined electric and gas bill on an average month was $400.  The insulation saves approximately 10% each month, so the payback would be about 18 months.  We liked that. 
  • Once you know your project, do it.  In our case we went with Masterguard Insulation and Windows and they were fantastic.  Quick, clean, and considerate.  I'm not sure Dutch got to help out, but he seems pretty happy with the end product.  In the months of post-insulation bills the project is actually saving an average of 18% per month!  That means the project paid itself off in five and a half months!  
  • Finally, take your rebate and the money you've saved on utility bills and reinvest in your next project! Ours is probably going to be a tankless hot water heater.  I expect it will be another $1,000 project with the product and installation 
  • Repeat as necessary until you've got your home buttoned up and running smooth! 
Have I loosened that albatross? Not quite; I still have a ways to go before I can feel like our home is pinnacle of efficiency, but at least I no longer feel like there's a dirty secret I'm hiding!  The truth is, energy upgrading your home is no different than any other DIY/home improvement project: it just takes time and commitment to making a better quality of living for you and your family...our your Saint Bernard. 

photo credits: all photos property of Courtney Kalashian

Believe it or not: setting sail on solar

So, believe it or not, this isn't the first post on sailing and solar; back in February my brother-in-law shared how he and my sister keep the Play Actor green on the big blue (you can link to their blog here).  However, I think this tech is beyond what Bud has going on their Baba 35!

Japanese tech company, Eco Marine Power is working on and experimenting with EnergySail which would be a renewable energy driven sail that could be fitted to traditional fuel powered vessels.  Anything from large carriers to patrol ships could one day be powered by the sun!  

The device is being tested in a lab in Osaka with focus on control systems and command interface testing.  EnergySail could see open seas as early as 2013.

Original CNET story here.

Photo credit: Eco Marine Power

Clean Energy in the San Joaquin Valley: where are the jobs?


This event has been postponed to December 14th. Same time, same place.  For more information contact Courtney Kalashian @ (877) 748-0841 or ckalashian@pesc.com

I may have mentioned in passing our project working with community colleges in the San Joaquin Valley--heck, even Huffington Post is talking about it--but I've not taken the time to really explain what we're doing and why we're doing it. Well, my apologies and please, allow me to tell you a bit about this thing we like to call "C6".

In May 2012 the SJVCEO began a partnership with the Central California Community Colleges Committed to Change (C6) consortium under a Department of Labor grant to redesign how community college students are trained to enter the clean energy workforce.  Our role is to convene educators with industry leaders to jointly design skills training based on real life needs. 

Our purpose is to serve as a convener of employers, industry experts and educators to look at Alternative/Clean Energy (ACE) education in a holistic manner. For the past six months we have been meeting with employers and asking what they want in their future employees.  We've meet with educators and asked what they're doing, and how they'd like to change it.  We have researched existing sources of curriculum, then taken it back to the employers and educators and asked how can we make this more applicable for students in Central California. 

But that wasn't enough. 


Maureen, Dee and I found ourselves asking, 'where are all these newly trained students going to go?' and we didn't have a concrete answer and with that a workshop was born! (PS--you're invited!)


  
Our one-day workshop will serve as a true “work” shop in which we will attempt to geographically determine where the jobs are now, where projects are planned, and what the actual employment opportunities are in our eight county region.  At the end of the day we want to have enough data to create an online, interactive GIS based map that represents what, where and when clean energy jobs are available in the San Joaquin Valley, what training and certifications are needed at each site, and where training is available. 

The ideal attendee for the event is a person familiar with the business plans of you organization or involved in planning and permitting for clean energy projects—where contracts will be, number of jobs, length of contract, training and certification needed.  We want to take a broad view  on clean energy: efficiency, solar, wind, water, biofuels, weatherization, green building, and more! Please mark your calendars and join us:

Thursday, November 15, 2012
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Small Business Development Center Regional Network in partnership with the US Small Business Administration
550 East Shaw Avenue, Suite 100
Fresno, CA  93710-7702

Please RSVP to ckalashian@pesc.com and please forward this to those you think would benefit from participating.

If you have questions or would like more information on this event please contact Courtney Kalashian, (877) 748-0841 or ckalashian@pesc.com.  
























photo credit: SenatorMarkUdall via photopin cc

Believe it or not: liquid batteries make energy storage real and affordable

The headline from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) says, "It's Official: Wind Energy Can Be Stored Cheaply"' but gosh--cheap just sounds so...cheap.  Energy storage is more than just a cool advancement in technology, it is the Holy Grail. Grid level storage will make alternative and renewable energy available to the mass market with regularity and at a truly affordable rate. It's energy storage that will make harnessing temperamental energy sources like wind and solar plausible as a solution to our world energy needs.  It's energy storage that is the missing link.  To include cheap in the sentence seems somewhat demeaning ( although it is a press release from MIT and if Good Will Hunting taught me anything it's that those MIT guys know their stuff!).

Turns out one MIT guy in particular knows his stuff about grid level electrical storage and how to make it cost effective. Professor Donald Sadoway has developed the liquid metal battery; a device as he says, invented to the price point of the electric market.  Professor Sadoway's TED talk about his liquid metal battery is entertaining (colored chalk!) and actually makes simple sense of something that should be much more complicated.  


Donald Sadoway: solving energy's biggest challenge, like a boss. 

Believe it or not: It's Energy Action Month!


Here at the SJVCEO, we have fun doing what we do.  Now, let's clarify: what we do is not always fun or exciting because sometimes it's difficult and just plain frustrating-- but, we always do everything we can to make sure even in the less than great times we keep it positive.

Well, let me tell you--when Team SJVCEO heard that President Obama had proclaimed October National Energy Action Month we felt like throwing on our best pastels and hitting the street with Lionel!



Believe it our not, it's Energy Action Month! 

As for the official word, here it is: 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2012 as National Energy Action Month. I call upon the citizens of the United States to recognize this month by working together to achieve greater energy security, a more robust economy, and a healthier environment for our children.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

Now, our team thinks the messaging could have been more effective if the White House had used Lionel Richie as the official ambassador of Energy Action Month, but we get that they're a little busy and didn't have time to consult with us on the roll out.  We'll forgive the oversight, this time, mainly because we're too busy dancing along...you guessed it...All Night Long! 

Believe it or not: schmorgishborg!

Today's BION is a cheat.  Frankly, I'm just not up to it as I have my second sinus infection in a month and the fifth for the whole summer (yes, it's still over 90 degrees here so it's summer in my book!). So, today you're getting a schmorgishborg of BIONs from headlines that excited me--or as I've previously mentioned, something my husband found on Reddit and then set to me.

Believe it or not: Tesla goes long range with new super charger.

Believe it or not: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Carnegie Institution for Science report that there is enough energy available in winds to meet all of the world’s demand! 

Believe it or not: San Franciso considers public power market, 100% renewable.

Believe it or not: First North American tidal turbine goes live in Maine.

Believe it or Not: I love my smart meter!

It wasn't all that long ago that California's Central Valley erupted in a fervor. Not quite as monumental as the Arab Spring, but intense...for California.  And what was at the heart of this movement, this act of rebellion?  Class warfare?  Ineffective government?  Double digit unemployment?  Nope. It was this guy on the right.

The PG&E SmartMeter roll out in Bakersfield, California has been called a text book case on how not to roll out a smart meter installation campaign.  Lois Henry, over at the Bakersfield Californian has spent the last four years covering the brouhaha in great detail.  But I'm here to tell you a different story--a story of love. I'm here to tell you about my love affair with my SmartMeter.

Yup, Believe it or not, I live in central California and I LOVE MY SMARTMETER!

Over the top?  No, not once you understand our journey.  SmartMeter came to our house quietly in 2009.  I remember the "while you were out" notice on the door, and walking around the side of the house to say hi, but that's about it.  It wasn't love at first site.  Around the same time I had my head down and was working many late nights trying to learn my way through the energy industry and SJVCEO was still trying to find its place.   It wasn't until 2010 when I took over as the lead on the VIEW Partnership and fell into the rabbit hole that is energy benchmarking I started thinking more about my own energy use.  I wondered if I couldn't learn how to better serve our local governments through better understanding the way I used energy.

SmartMeter allowed me to see how I used my energy throughout the day.  I could log on to my PG&E account (before the launch of My Energy) and pull a graph from the day before.  It looked something like this:























Okay, that's a graph from My Energy, but with the exception of the pretty colors the content is the same. This was eye opening!  I could watch my habits throughout the day. That spike at 7:00 a.m.?  That's when I couldn't handle a blow dryer, curling iron and a house at 78 degrees and cranked the AC down to 74.  You'll notice it decreases after 8:00 a.m. when likely my husband woke up freezing and returned the thermostat to 79 (where he likes to diligently keep it). I could see Ryan (husband) and Dutch (Saint Bernard) warm up as the day progressed; as the the temperature crept up to 110 degrees so did our energy use.  And, back in these days things like laundry and dishwashers ran during the day so we didn't have to worry about chores eating in to our "us time". Well, we learned to adapt.

I realized that we could just as easily run the dishwater overnight, despite that it annoys Dutch to no end, and do the laundry in the mornings.  I also learned to wear my hair in a ponytail much more frequently in the summer months so I didn't have to worry about the heat of styling, which kept the AC off until after noon.  Oh, and those spikes at the end of the day? That's me again.  I hate sleeping in a hot house so I would turn the temperature down to go to sleep.  I had to give up the compulsion to sleep under a blanket no matter the season.  It was hard, but I've survived.  And, my power bill went down.  A lot.

Comparing August 2009 to August 2010 we had fewer peaks and less time in the 5 kWh+ zone, and a bill that was more than $100 less than the previous year.  Woo hoo!

That was my Koolaid; that's when I became and energy efficiency evangelist.

I realized it wasn't retrofits (although some serious insulation helped), but behavior modification that made the biggest difference.  And so it became my mission to integrate behavior modification recommendations in all our SJVCEO work.  My SmartMeter, and what I was able to learn and appreciate gave me a story that I could share and relate to the work that we were doing in the Valley.  Why benchmark thousands of municipal energy accounts (poor Maureen)? Because, seeing your energy habits sitting right next to cost makes a heck of an impression.  It also lets you see what you're doing right and not-so-right.  Now, I could tell a city, "hey, your office facilities are using almost as much energy at night as they are in the day.  Maybe we should take a look at what your staff is doing." But that usually elicits a "sure, let's look at it next quarter."  Now, if I have my laptop I can log in to the city's Portfolio Manager account and say, "See your use and how much it's costing you at City Hall? That's more than twice the national average for a similar space.  Why don't we take a look and see if we can't get this bill lower than $16,000 per month."  Then I'm more likely to get someone to escort me through the building after hours and see that office lights and nonessential machines are let on, and that the A/C is still kicking away at the government building standard--just short of Arctic!  That knowledge can lead to an education campaign to get employees to shut down at night, and perhaps even designates a person to make sure the A/C is turned up to keep the space controlled, but not freezing.  Say these simple steps, these behavior modifications end up saving a city $1,000 per month? Maybe more?  That's why we benchmark thousands of municipal energy accounts (still, poor Maureen).

So yeah, I love my SmartMeter, but the problem is not everyone has a SmartMeter--or an intelligent metering system.  Not even the everyone in the San Joaquin Valley has one...but that's about to change!

As mentioned in my ode to Carl and Eddy Southern California Edison's SmartConnect is coming to town!  This means that those residential and small business customers in our VIEW Partnership and beyond (Armona, California Hot Springs, Camp Nelson, Delano, Ducor, Earlimart, Goshen, Hanford, Ivanhow, Lemon Cove, Lindsay, McFarland, Pixley, Porterville, Springville, Strathmore, Terra Bella, Three Rivers, Tipton, Tulare, Tule River Indian Reservation, and Woodlake) are going to be able to track their energy use electronically and we don't have to do anything (yay for Maureen!).

At SJVCEO (even beyond my desk) we're pretty excited about SmartConnect, so we're going to take a team approach  to sharing the enthusiasm with the blogosphere.  On Wednesday, October 3 Maureen's Wellness Wednesday will address the question of intelligent meters and radio frequency, and on October 8th Dee's Money Monday will address how SmartConnect can help small businesses and residents invest wisely in energy efficiency.  I may even pull together another BION, but we'll have to see how October goes!  And because no one wants a Friday blog with out a couple of talking houses, here are my buddies, Carl and Eddy!  This time Carl gets the drop on Eddy and has to breakdown the super cool online tools that work with SmartConnect--darn, I gave it away!

 photo credit: Steve Wilhelm via photopin cc


I got the power--no you got the power!

Alright, it's no secret around the SJVCEO offices that I love me some Carl and Eddy. I always insist on Carl and Eddy posters for our community events, I've included C&E in a quarterly report to my board, and I may have tweeted about these guys once or twice.


Really--I think they're great! What, you don't believe me?  How about now?


What if I told you I make the rest of team SJVCEO live over in Carl? (what can I say, I like my space)



Carl and Eddy were a stroke of genius; somewhere, someone very smart said, "I bet people would listen more if the message came from talking houses."  Well, perhaps it wasn't quite like that, but Carl and Eddy get the job done.  Market research on these two showed that their fans had an 85% recall rate on the information in the videos.  They're so effective that SCE received a Buildy Award for "Customer-Focused Innovation" for the series.  It turns out that I'm not the only one who's fallen hard for these two talking houses.

So, what is my favorite rap session with these guys?  Oh, I'm partial to "I got the power"


Of course, that shows a bit of nostalgia on my part because "I got the power" was my first Carl and Eddy video way back in 2010.  At the time I thought, "well guys, that's nice, but you're still living south of the Grapevine. Call me when you get to the Valley".  Good news: they're here!

Better yet, Southern California Edison (SCE) is here and they're bringing SmartConnect to the Valley.

I learned this when a news release from SCE crossed my desk last week announcing that SmartConnnect is coming to the San Joaquin Valley.  Here are the highlights, just in case you don't want to click through:

In a statement, Ken Devore, director of SCE's Edison SmartConnect program said, "Smart meters will empower our customers to become better managers of their electricity usage through new tools, programs and services that will help them save energy and money, and help protect the environment." Whoa, whoa, whoa--hold the phone, Mr. Devore!  Customers managing their electricity? That is what we at the SJVCEO love to hear!  In fact, we live and breath by the adage, "you can't manage what you can't measure."  Intelligent metering, by design, will allow the average homeowner to acurately, and in real time see the measure of their energy use and with that information make informed choices about how they want to use their energy. Whether by savings for that extra day of AC when it hits 106 degrees, or deploying no-cost conservation tricks around the house to make sure the energy bill stays within budget.  Smart metering allows all of us to make smart choices, and it puts the power in our hands.  

My good friend Eddy says he's got the power, but I hate to break to you Eddy--with SmartConnect, we all have the power!  



Believe it or not: a 3rd look solar roads

Yesterday I shared that I was quite looking forward to my time on the blog with 'believe it or not', and I even sought to channel the spirit of Mike Nemeth in the finding of something wonderfully odd.  Well, it seems that I channeled a bit too well.  I had prepared piece on something I thought was super cool--solar roadways.  Yeah, roads made of solar.  I was pretty thrilled until I was adding labels and 'solar roads' autofilled for me.

Crap.

Turns out Mike already covered these guys in 2011 and so did Sandy, in 2010.  So, I thought I could scrap it, pull together another post and voila! the first BION.  Well, that didn't happen.  You see, blogging is lovely, but it's not my day job--not by a long shot.  I like the open road--or so I tell myself. So in between a trip to Firebaugh Wednesday evening and an early morning in Visalia today the best I can give you is the SJVCEO third annual Solar Roadways post!

Cue the confetti!

I'm keeping my original post--you can find it down below. However, I felt the third annual look at solar roads deserved a little something extra; it needed a TED talk.  Why?  Because TED talks make me happy.  They make me feel infinitely smarter than I am. Sometimes they depress the heck out of me.  But no matter what feeling they produce, they always make me feel something.  That, and I have a nice little daydream about my own TED talk and being on that big black stage.  It is almost as awesome as my daydream of advising a sitting president on energy policy, or presenting to the UN General Assembly.  All awesome, just different levels.

Luckily, Scott Brusaw, the founder and engineer behind Solar Roadways hit the TED stage--or the TEDx stage.  TEDx is a totally new discovery for me. Turns out there are independently and locally organized TED-ish talks.  The self-organized events are designed to "spark deep discussion and connection in a small group".  The TEDxSacramento was in sync with Sandy, and in 2010 invited Mr. Brusaw to break it down TED style on solar roads.


I actually really like this talk. Once he gets past the nervousness and "early days" and gets into his passion, he sells it.  This could be huge, and it's Mr. Brusaw's love of the project that makes me think so.  We always say there's no silver bullet that can fix our energy conundrum; maybe, if solar roads make it we could at least have the LED lit road that gives us the path to get there.



*my first run at solar roads*
Occasionally, or every day, my husband will send me something he found on Reddit .  To his credit it is often something about a Saint Bernard, or politics, a really cool "I am a" but more often than not it's about something sort of related to my job.  That's right--my husband is my slave driver--never letting me leave the office behind!

Okay, okay, he's not that bad.  He finds me jewels like the video below.

These guys are making roads out of...wait for it...solar panels.  Yup, 'believe it or not' you could one day be driving on an energy producing, solar panel paved interstate! See what the heck is going on here:






The State of Our Blog

First, a little history for you.  When SJVCEO began, waaaay back in 2007 blogs were sort of a new deal. We had ten of them.  That's right.  Ten.  The blog that you know today began as our News and Events blog where the intent was to post meeting notices, conferences, and workshop flyers.  But something happened, better stated, nothing happened.  We had eight posts in all of 2008 and that number dropped off to six in 2009.  We just never acted like a "typical" non-profit.  Our meetings were reserved for the board, and we only ever had one conference per year and that ended in 2009!

We had separate blogs for sustainable communities, renewable energy, biofuels, board members--heck, we had a blog just for media releases that had all of zero posts!  Needless to say we were figuring it out as we went; or as our former Executive Director liked to say, "we're learning to fly while we build the plane".  Something had to give--and one day late in 2009 I just got tired of looking at so many pointless blogs and deleted all but one.

Something else happened in 2009, actually two somethings happened:
Somehow Mike Nemeth and Sandy Nax stumbled into our little operation.  With more than 50 years newspaper experience between them it didn't take long for them to realize the story was our blog needed some lovin'! Soon, between the two the SJVCEO blog was seeing an average of 20 blogs per month.

The most viewed post ever? This gem on electric cars and John Bonham (classic Mike).  The biggest month on record? May 2012 with coverage of everything from solar, to bios, to efficiency, a book review, and an EV shaped like a doughnut.  There was a heck of a lot going on.  And, somewhat fitting, it was Sandy's last month with SJVCEO, and the truth is we've never been able to keep it up since he left.

Then, in the betrayals of all betrayals (what, too much?) Mike abandoned ship and moved down the road to the Air Pollution Control District!

Obviously the wound is still fresh in the SJVCEO office, and one of us may have a flair for the dramatic...


Mike actually still blogs for us.  It was one of his demands upon leaving.  And honestly, if it wasn't for him we would have been dead for the last month and a half.  If you didn't catch them here, here, and here are a few of my favorite post-SJVCEO Mike blogs; this is my absolute favorite--but that's more because Mike's granddaughter, Petra--er, I mean Lem--makes an apperance.  That and it's pretty much awesome.

Okay, long way around to say we needed to make a change or as Petra/Lem would do, move fluidly within our current environment.  We have a new team member, Dee, who made her blog debut yesterday. And Maureen and I are still here, slaving away in a world of energy benchmarking.

So the state of the blog is this: there are now three ladies running the show.  None of us are of the caliber of Mike and Sandy, but we're going to do the best we can to serve their legacy and maybe, just maybe we'll hit that magic number of 100,000 views.  Because we're women we met, made lists, refined our lists, and made a lunch date to address the handling of the blog.  What can you expect from us?  A guaranteed five posts per week (starting Monday, September 24th--also known as my birthday).  We will each post one topic post per week.  Dee will be taking on "Money Mondays" with news, resources, and tips for finance in the clean energy world.  On Wednesday you'll be treated to "Wellness Wednesdays" (somebody loves alliteration, and that somebody is me!) where Maureen will spell out the connection between energy, the environment and your personal wellness.  As for me, I'm looking forward to "Believe it or Not" each Thursday where I get to share something weird or unusual with you--hmm, I wonder what Mike would do? Tuesdays and Fridays are dealers choice, so whatever Dee feels like sharing is what you'll get! Word is Mike will still be on the blog, and we're happy to let him stay since he's sort of like our street cred in the blog world.  And, who knows--we're open to guest bloggers around here, even my brother-in-law took a turn.

We are going to do our best, and we hope you keep reading.  There's been a lot of love that went in and I feel a strong sense of responsibility to see this blog continue.  As I said to Sandy today in an email, "Always [blogging]. Maybe not at the levels of the past, but we'll keep it going" and we will.

Money Monday: CEC 3% Loans

With the final reports been sent in on the last of the ARRA funded energy efficiency projects (our whopper of a report was sent off today, thanks, Mike!) many local governments are wondering how they can keep the momentum going.  Well, the California Energy Commission has come up with an way to help!

Utilizing a revolving loan funded program, the CEC is accepting 3% interest loan applications for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects from all eligible entities: Cities, Counties, Public Schools & Colleges, Public Care Institutions, Public Hospitals and Special Districts.  Residential and commercial projects are non-profit institutions are not eligible for these funds.


So what could be funded?  Well, the laundry list covers some of our favorite proven energy and capacity saving type projects, including:
  • LIGHTING SYSTEMS
  • PUMPS & MOTORS
  • STREETLIGHTS & LED TRAFFIC SIGNALS
  • AUTOMATED ENERGY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS/CONTROLS
  • BUILDING INSULATION
  • ENERGY GENERATION INCLUDING RENEWABLE & COMBINED HEAT/POWER PROJECTS
  • HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING MODIFICATIONS
  • WASTE WATER TREATMENT EQUIPMENT
Of course, energy efficiency projects must be technically and economically feasible.  

Applications are accepted on a first-come, first served basis for eligible energy projects.  Please see the notice and loan application for qualifications, available at the link below.  Or, if you prefer to talk to a human being try the very helpful Karen Perrin at (916) 654-4104.

For more information: http://www.energy.ca.gov/efficiency/financing/index.html


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