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  • 07 May 2018 8:34 AM | Anonymous

    Did you know that the USGBC BuildSMART Trailer at the Ventura Earth Day Eco Fest was powered entirely by non-toxic batteries from Ojai-based SimpliPhi Power? It only took one PHI 3.5 kWh battery to ensure that the USGBC never lost power during the festival. SimpliPhi storage can be charged with any energy source -- solar, wind, grid power or a generator -- and can provide hours of silent, safe, non-toxic electricity.

    USGBC’s BuildSMART Trailer powered by SimpliPhi

    SimpliPhi combines non-hazardous LFP energy storage chemistry with its proprietary cell and battery architecture, power electronics, Battery Management System (BMS) and assembly methods to create safe, reliable, durable and highly scalable on-demand power solutions for the residential, commercial, military, emergency response and film industries. Integral to all SimpliPhi solutions is a proprietary management system that further optimizes the life-cycle, performance and durability of its batteries. SimpliPhi storage system components are UL certified and have been rigorously tested and passed requirements by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps with a zero failure rate.

    SimpliPhi’s energy storage and management systems have now been deployed in 30 countries and the company’s solutions have been used by hundreds of California residents and businesses, as well as government agencies, charitable organizations and well known corporations such as FEMA, Snapchat, NBC, Fox Studios, Disney, Paramount, LADWP, USAID, Direct Relief, Airbnb, Kithaus, Red Bull, Whole Foods, the US Military, and most recently, California Governor Jerry Brown.

    Governor Brown’s off grid SimpliPhi installation

    Why does it make sense to consider energy storage for your home or business? Without energy storage, renewable sources of power are intermittent, but so too is the grid in emergency and blackout scenarios when the centralized delivery of power breaks down. For home and business owners who have installed solar, energy storage allows you to future-proof solar savings, particularly in the event of a utility rate change, by storing the solar when the sun’s shining and using it at a time when utility rates are high and the sun isn’t shining.  Perhaps most importantly, any California resident or business can use energy storage to ensure reliable power and resiliency in the face of a natural disaster. There are 3,879 power outages on average in the US each year, and they have only been increasing since 2012. SimpliPhi customers were able to maintain power during last year’s wildfires, including at the Stone Edge Farm Microgrid, which withstood the recent Northern California wildfires and power outages. The Stone Edge Farm Microgrid served as a community center during this disaster, allowing neighbors to charge necessary devices when no one else had access to power. In addition to continuing to power each building, the Stone Edge Farm Microgrid was even able to pump water to fight the fires. After the fires, SimpliPhi’s solutions have also been deployed in prefabricated, manufactured homes by homeowners looking to rebuild their homes in a more sustainable, efficient way.

    Stone Edge Farm Microgrid

    Ojai residents who live in an off grid, prefab, home powered by SimpliPhi


    Connect with SimpliPhi Power

    If you're interested in exploring energy storage, mobile power or emergency power solutions for your home, business or recreation, visit SimpliPhipower.com and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

    Written by: Lisa DeMarco

    Edited by: Wendi Littlefield

  • 23 Apr 2018 6:55 AM | Anonymous

    State Superintendent Torlakson Honors California

    Green Ribbon Schools Award Winners

              SACRAMENTO —State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated one California school district and four individual schools to compete in the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) recognition program, which honors schools that conserve resources while promoting health and environmental literacy.

              “Green Ribbon schools are leading the way in resource conservation, health and wellness, and environmental literacy,” said Torlakson, who started his public service career as a high school science teacher and coach. Torlakson stressed that green schools are especially important now that the environment is facing so many threats.

              “California won’t reach our smart and ambitious climate goals without the public sector—and especially without public schools—leading the way,” he said. “We need to protect our magnificent and precious natural resources, and learn more about topics such as the causes of global warming and the acidification of the oceans.”

              The nominees are:

    ·       Jack London Community Day School, Valley Glen, Los Angeles County

    ·       Monterey Road Elementary School, Atascadero, San Luis Obispo County

    ·       Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, Placer County

    ·       Top of the World Elementary School, Laguna Beach, Orange County

    ·       Maple Village Waldorf School (private), Long Beach, Los Angeles County

              These five are also California’s "Green Achievers," the highest honor in the California Green Ribbon Schools recognition program. 

              Green Ribbon Schools demonstrate exemplary achievement in three “pillars.” Pillar I: reduce environmental impact and costs; Pillar II: improve the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff; and Pillar III: provide effective environmental education that teaches many disciplines and is especially good at effectively incorporating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, civic skills, and green career pathways.

              The California Green Ribbon Schools recognition award uses the applications submitted for nomination to ED-GRS to recognize schools and school districts for environmental excellence. Private school awards are conferred by the California Association of Private School Organizations (CAPSO).

              California is one of 25 states as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity that are expected to nominate schools and districts for federal recognition this year. Continued participation and leadership in the program is a recommendation of Torlakson’s Environmental Literacy Task Force.

              The U.S. Department of Education will confirm state nominees in May 2018.

              Details on each California nominee are below. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Award Program Web page and download A Blueprint for Environmental Literacy: Educating Every Student In, About, and For the Environment (PDF; 1.4 MB).

    California's ED-GRS Nominees

    Jack London Community Day School, Valley Glen, Los Angeles County

    At Jack London Community Day School, sustainability is not only about the environment, it’s about empowering students to become positive agents of change through environmental citizenship. In 2013, the school put sustainability principles into action by converting an 18,000-square-foot asphalt parking lot campus into an urban, edible garden for the community. Science and horticulture curriculum are integrated into a single four-year Career Technical Education pathway combining environmental science and sustainable landscaping. And urban horticulture is taught as a way to meet the needs of an increasingly urban environment without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

    Monterey Road Elementary School, Atascadero, San Luis Obispo County

    Monterey Road school programs promote exercise, positive school climate, sustainability, and garden time—all integrated across the curriculum. The campus was modernized in 2012 and energy use was reduced by 70 percent over the following five years. Monterey Road has also reduced the use of chemical cleaners by using microfiber cloths for cleaning. The school began an annual student-led waste audit in January 2015. All students separate lunchtime waste into compost, liquid, recyclable, and landfill bins. Students were involved with all steps of the process to design, construct, and maintain the school’s Food Forest, which is designed to function like a forest ecosystem with fruit trees, vegetable plants, California natives, herbs, and berries. The Food Forest is used as an outdoor learning space where lessons are taught in connection with the California Next Generation Science Standards.

    Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, Placer County

    Tahoe Truckee Unified (TTUSD) has a long history of conservation efforts to reduce energy and water use, dating back to 2002 when the district adopted cool-roof standards. The District’s first green building project was Alder Creek Middle School, which received Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) verification in 2005. All current projects are designed to LEED Silver standards. A “Farm-to-School” district, salad bars utilizing locally-grown produce are located at all sites. Since 2006, TTUSD has implemented the Harvest of the Month program, which features California-grown produce for the purpose of engaging students in the world of agriculture and nutrition.

    Top of the World Elementary School, Laguna Beach, Orange County

    Top of the World Elementary (TOW), nestled in the hills of Laguna Beach, has always had a focus on developing environmentally and socially conscious students by providing opportunities for them to make positive impacts locally and globally. There are three onsite gardens used as outdoor classroom spaces, an 18-foot geodesic dome greenhouse, and outdoor cooking stations. During the 2016–17 school year, students spent a combined 10,000 hours learning outdoors. TOW uses digital devices and do many assignments online to save paper. PTA, principal, and district announcements are all sent digitally, reducing paper waste. Students also use the solar power generated from a solar array on the shed roof to power a blender and make smoothies, and collect weather data for analysis through a school-wide WeatherBug system on building roofs.

    Maple Village Waldorf School (private), Long Beach, Los Angeles County

    Maple Village Waldorf School (MVWS) opened in 2007 with a three-pronged philosophy: having little to zero waste, lots of outdoor time, and a reverence for others and the environment. The school’s STEM by Nature initiative trains and supports teachers in the use of the natural world, school grounds, and field trip experiences to teach STEM content and skills. Teachers use environmental phenomena to engage the students in inquiry-based lessons. Through activities such as composting, rainwater capture, and gardening, students use the school grounds and surrounding community to deepen their understanding of the natural world.

    California Green Ribbon School Additional Awardees

    Public Schools

    ·       Alameda Science and Technology Institute, Alameda Unified (Gold)

    ·       Lincoln Middle, Alameda Unified (Gold)

    ·       Rancho Vista High, Temecula Valley Unified (Gold)

    ·       Palos Verdes High, Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified (Gold)

    ·       Anderson W. Clark Magnet High, Glendale Unified (Silver)

    ·       Carrisa Plains Elementary, Atascadero Unified (Silver)

    ·       Georgia Morris Elementary, Rialto Unified (Silver)

    ·       Meiners Oaks Elementary, Ojai Unified (Silver)

    ·       Milor Continuation High, Rialto Unified (Silver)

    ·       Nick G. Parras Middle, Redondo Beach Unified (Silver)

    ·       North Ridge Elementary, Moreno Valley Unified (Silver)

    ·       Paloma Elementary, Temecula Valley Unified (Silver)

    ·       Sunset K-8 School, Ventura Unified (Silver)

    ·       Ysabel Barnett Elementary, Temecula Valley Unified (Silver)

    ·       Center Street Elementary, El Segundo Unified (Bronze)

    ·       Foothill Middle, Mt. Diablo Unified (Bronze)

    ·       Kimbark Elementary, San Bernardino City Unified (Bronze)


    ·       Monterey Peninsula Unified, Monterey County (Gold)

    ·       Rialto Unified, San Bernardino County (Gold)

    ·       San Carlos Elementary, San Mateo County (Gold)

    ·       Chaffey Joint Union High, San Bernardino County (Bronze)

    ·       Moreno Valley Unified, Riverside County (Bronze)

    ·       San Mateo County Office of Education (Bronze)

    Private Schools

    ·       Woodside Priory, San Mateo County (Gold)

    ·       Jesuit High School, Sacramento County (Silver)

    ·       St. James Academy, San Diego County (Silver)


    The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

    CONTACT: Scott Roark    
    PHONE: 916-319-0818
    E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov

  • 23 Apr 2018 6:12 AM | Anonymous

    The Ventura County Regional Energy Alliance (VCREA), in partnership with the Community Environmental Council (CEC-SB), are launching their newest pilot program, kWh Countdown, funded by the California Energy Commission. kWh Countdown offers two primary services for businesses located in the cities of Thousand Oaks, Ventura, and Moorpark: 1) free energy benchmarking to all business that enroll; and 2) a limited number of comprehensive energy audits to businesses that demonstrate a willingness to invest in energy efficiency projects. These services offered through kWh Countdown are designed to help businesses save money on utility bills and invest in energy efficiency projects with confidence. The level of audit that businesses will receive are typically valued at over $5,000. Businesses are encouraged to apply as soon as possible as there are ample funds for audits and benchmarking for new participants.

    There will be two kWh Countdown programs: Ventura County kWh Countdown (cities of Ventura, Thousand Oaks and Moorpark) and Lompoc kWh Countdown (City of Lompoc). Funding for each program is provided by the California Energy Commission. The Lompoc kWh Countdown program has an auditing budget of $70,000, whereas the Ventura County kWh Countdown has an auditing budget of $90,000. If interested, you can visit http://www.kwhcountdown.org/ for more information about how to bid into this RFP.


    Zachary Pettit
    (805)963-0583 x 102

  • 19 Apr 2018 9:54 AM | Anonymous

    Architecture of the Central Coast release party to be held at Nautical Bean May 2 from 6-8pm 

    [San Luis Obispo, CA, April 16, 2018] The American Institute of Architects California Central Coast (AIACCC) chapter and local design firm Andrew Goodwin Designs (AGD) have released a new coffee table book aimed at highlighting and celebrating award winning architecture projects from the Central Coast. Architecture of the Central Coast is a 230-page coffee table book with glassy photos, text and floor plans of over 20 projects that have won awards from the AIACCC over the past two years. The book will have a release party on May 2 from 6-8pm at the new Nautical Bean location at 2010 Parker Street in San Luis Obipso. 

    Come out to the release party and enjoy appetizers and drinks while talking with architects that have been featured in the publication! 

    “Many of our local firms deserve to be published but seldom have the ability to market and get their projects into design magazines and publications”, AIACCC Director Andrew Goodwin said about the reason why a publication like this was important. The AIACCC has bi-annual design awards and a monthly design award program that help to put the spotlight on projects that have been designed and constructed to the highest caliber. “Our architects and our architecture on the Central Coast deserve praise and this publication is our way of thanking our design and construction industry for pushing the envelope”, Goodwin further pointed out. 

    Architecture of the Central Coast was self-published by AGD and co-sponsored by many local organizations including Above Grade Engineering. Fifty percent of all the profits from the sales goes to the art and architecture scholarship for local K-12 and university programs. The book is available for sale in downtown San Luis Obispo at Len Collective (722 Marsh Street), and on Amazon. The cost is $40 plus tax and shipping. 

    The AIA Central Coast Chapter (AIACCC) is a professional architecture organization dedicated to supporting membership by being advocates for the architecture profession, advancing the value or architects to the public by demonstrating leadership in the community, by creating opportunities for engagement and collaboration, fostering innovation, cultivating the future of the profession and embracing a culture of architectural excellence. 


    Pictures and Article by: The American Institute of Architects Central Coast Chapter

    Additional Contact Information:  Andrew Goodwin at 805-439-1611, or email andrew@andrewgoodwin.us.

  • 07 Apr 2018 5:19 PM | Anonymous

    Photo credit: Barry Goyette

    Monterey Street Mixed-Use Complex

    Awarded Prestigious LEED® Certification

    (San Luis Obispo, CA) –The new Monterey Street mixed-use complex developed by Copeland Properties and Jamestown, L.P., has been awarded LEED certification, according to LEED consultant In Balance Green Consulting.

    Located in the heart of San Luis Obispo, the Monterey Street project provides close to 70,000 square feet of commercial and residential spaces. Three existing qualified historic buildings were combined with new infill shell buildings to create a three-story complex with retail and a pedestrian plaza at street level with residential, retail, and a restaurant in the two stories above.

    “We are proud to build sustainably in San Luis Obispo,” said Copeland Properties Architect Mark Rawson. “We understand the importance of sustainability globally, and we are committed to doing our part locally. This infill project brings housing and other important uses to downtown while preserving our historic heritage.”

    Monterey Street achieved LEED certification for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in the following areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. LEED is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. More than 39,000 commercial projects are currently certified through LEED, comprising more than 19.3 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and more than 167 countries and territories.

    “Achieving LEED certification is more than implementing sustainable practices,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC.“It represents a commitment to making the world a better place and influencing others to do better. Given the extraordinary importance of climate protection and the central role of the building industry in that effort, Copeland Properties and Jamestown demonstrates their leadership through this LEED certification of Monterey Street.”

    Monterey Street included several green design and construction strategies for LEED certification, including:

    • o   Site: The infill site supports community connectivity and alternative transportation with a location that provides access to multiple local services.
    • o   Materials: 90 percent of the existing building was reused for the project.
    • o   Water: A 31 percent reduction in indoor water use was achieved using highly efficient Plumbing fixtures.
    • o   Energy: The project is expected to use 12 percent less energy compared to similar buildings. A rooftop solar electric array offsets a portion of the project’s energy use.
    • o   Regional Priority Credits: Monterey Street achieved four regional priority credits, the maximum available to projects. These priorities emphasized on-site renewable energy and a site selection that integrates new building into existing infrastructures.

    The project team included Architect Mark Rawson of Copeland Properties, Associate Architect Rea & Luker, contractor J.W. Design & Construction, and Energy/LEED consultant In Balance Green Consulting. Other team members included FIRMA Landscape Design Group, Ashley & Vance Structural, BMA Engineering Mechanical & Plumbing, Above Grade Engineering Civil, and Power and Communications Engineering Electrical.

    Photo credit: Barry Goyette

    U.S. Green Building Council

    The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. With certified projects in more than 162 countries and territories, seventy-six U.S. chapter affiliates, and more than 200,000 credentialed LEED professionals, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $303.5 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product by 2018.

    More statistics on green building available at: http://www.usgbc.org/articles/green-building-facts

    Contact:  Andy@inbalancegreen.com

  • 28 Mar 2018 10:41 AM | Anonymous

    The Goleta and Santa Barbara business community gathered in January to celebrate Deckers Brands headquarters in Goleta switching on one of the area’s largest commercial solar projects. Both the Santa Barbara and Goleta Chambers of Commerce as well as the Goleta City Council were present to commend the company’s leadership in environmentally sustainable practices. Nearly 1,200 solar photovoltaic panels were installed on three of Deckers’ buildings to offset about one third of the campus’ electrical consumption.

    The project was championed by Lance Lyon, Director of Facilities at Deckers Brands Goleta. “Today, we can install solar for about a third of what it would cost us only eight years ago, so it makes sense to take advantage of the increasingly attractive technology to reduce our carbon footprint and save money at the same time,” noted Lance. “We owe this to our environment as well as to our investors.” To showcase the new system, interactive kiosks have been installed at the Deckers Brands Showcase and main lobby so visitors and employees can see the output of the solar panels and environmental impact of the power generated in real time. The 394-kilowatt solar system will offset about 433 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, which equates to the emissions from over 1,000 barrels of oil consumed1. “At Deckers, we believe in doing the right thing, even when no one is watching. It’s important to us as a company that we carry out our business decisions being mindful of the environment and the communities in which we operate,” commented Deckers CEO Dave Powers.

    Deckers partnered with local solar company Brighten Solar Construction to install the system. The high-efficiency panels were installed with a custom racking system to utilize the available roof space and maximize the company’s return on investment. “Commercial buildings use about a third of the total electricity consumed in the U.S., so a company like Deckers going solar is a huge win for our environment,” explained Jeremy Favier, Co-Founder and COO of Brighten Solar Co. “Deckers is setting an example of leadership in sustainability, and they should be proud.”

    The two companies also launched a Corporate Solar Program for employees at the event to help motivate Deckers employees to install solar on their homes. Deckers has offered a contribution to each employee’s project cost and Brighten Solar Co. will donate to a nonprofit partner on the employee’s behalf. Deckers has chosen the FishReef Project, a local marine conservation effort to restore Goleta’s coastal kelp beds. “We are so excited to give Deckers employees an opportunity to double their impact with this program,” says Lauren Coiro, Community Outreach Coordinator for Brighten Solar Co. “Many of them are surfers and divers, so supporting the FishReef Project will help preserve the coastlines they enjoy every day.”

    Going solar is one of many measures that Deckers has taken to reduce the environmental impact of its business operations, including earning a certification of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council. Goleta City Councilman Roger Aceves also praised Deckers at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, reminding the crowd that the City of Goleta has pledged to switch to 100% renewable energy by 2030. This aligns with California’s ambitious energy goals to reach 50% renewable energy by 2030.

    1. EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator

    About Deckers Brands Deckers Brands is a global leader in designing, marketing and distributing innovative footwear, apparel and accessories developed for both everyday casual lifestyle use and high performance activities. The Company’s portfolio of brands includes UGG®, Koolaburra by UGG®, HOKA ONE ONE®, Teva® and Sanuk®. Deckers Brands products are sold in more than 50 countries and territories through select department and specialty stores, Company-owned and operated retail stores, and select online stores,

    including Company-owned websites. Deckers Brands has a 40-year history of building niche footwear brands into lifestyle market leaders attracting millions of loyal consumers globally. For more information, please visit www.deckers.com.

    Pictures and article by: Deckers Brands Media: media@deckers.com

    Additional contact info: Brighten Solar Co: Lauren Coiro Lauren@brightensolarco.com

  • 25 Mar 2018 11:55 PM | Anonymous

    Students at Monterey Road Elementary are proof we can have hope for the future. They are keen to the facts of how we must protect our planet. They are thoughtful in prioritizing habits such as recycling, composting, and growing their own food into their lives at such a young age. This “Zero Waste” video shares how involved the students, teachers, principal, and superintendent are in making a positive difference long-term. Enormous kudos go out to the principal , Julie Ann Davis and Atascadero Unified School District (AUSD) superintendent, Tom Butler, for their continued commitment and unyielding support in implementing these programs for the school. They maintained the priorities and budget to help make this project and others possible by leading an astounding example. PMSM architects contributed by being the lead architects for the project.

    The Green Schools Showcase was a remarkable effort in collaboration of a variety of groups/organizations/individuals over years of dedication to the projects recognized. The collaboration is often between the schools and their facility management, custodians, the superintendent of the district, the principal, the students & student council, parents and faculty support, the Cuesta College Foundation for NEED kits, sought by Amanda Shere, One Cool Earth’s Genius Program focusing on waste, water, and food issues via school gardens, and CCGBC’s Gateway to Green Schools Program, headed by the chair Teresa Lees and program committee Amanda Shere, Cynde Spence, Todd Hansen, Victoria Carranza, and Sarah Trauger, to jump start it all. It is truly an entire ecosystem at work to create just one Green Schools project!

    Stu Stoddard, the Facilities Manager, led us through the transformation that happened at Monterey Road, explaining the expansion of the multi-purpose room, adding 1,000 sq. ft. to it and changing the floor to a low VOC marmoleum floor. They have converted the roofs to integrate operable skylights and low RFI standing seam metal roofing atop which 70% of the school’s energy load is absorbed by photovoltaics.

    At Monterey Road Elementary, students do all the recycling and sorting. The custodians take care of the trash; by the students sharing in the duties, this saves the school money and the students look forward to helping out as they take ownership over this task while implementing positive habits into their own lives.

      As a follow up to the “Zero Waste” video , One Cool Earth also piloted AUSD's first zero waste programming at Monterey Road and kicked it off with a waste audit at the school a few years ago. The principal, custodian, yard duties, Garden Club, and ASB have been running it ever since, taking ownership and living sustainability. They call these folks "The Green Team". The Green Team facilitate the waste sorting stations and worked side by side with Facilities and Maintenance as well as the waste collectors on a county level to make sure the messaging on the campus level made sense. The Cuesta Foundation supported the waste audit efforts as well. The work went even beyond the school grounds as they conducted marine debris related science lessons with Monterey's 3rd graders and PSAs to link our waste issues back to the health of our watershed, the Salinas River Watershed. It wasn't until the second year working with AUSD did the food forest start to take shape. Lessons are with all grade levels now. Soil building, watershed health, and zero waste was a primary focus first with OCE. 

    Standing in the classroom, the skylights made it bright and cheerful inside. “Big Ass Fans” keep the chimney effect working with the operable skylights to maintain optimal classroom ventilation and comfort. The walls are made out of a special noise reduction board. The technology in the room is exceptional as well. Instead of getting a ‘Smart Board’ or the latest technology in teaching they realized that investing in high quality projectors and a speaker system in all of the rooms was a simple, affordable, and long term solution. Atascadero Unified is tech savvy so there’s 1-1 computing 2nd – 5th grade, and the entire district is a “Google District” which means that every student has a Chromebook to use in class and then when they login to their computers at home they can begin work off the Cloud right where they left off.

    Sarah Trauger, Rideshare Program Coordinator at SLOCOG, explained the importance of the bike and pedestrian safety program that Monterey Road Elementary hosts as kids rode bikes and scooters around the traffic garden on the asphalt behind her. Not only are students learning a skill that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, traffic congestion, and rates of childhood obesity, they are also learning a skill that will help them grow into self-reliant, independent adults. Additionally, they will know the rules of the road before they start learning to drive.

    AUSD and SLOCOG’s Safe Routes to School program worked together to get this rolling, pun intended.  Sarah Trauger worked closely with AUSD facilities staff to time the implementation of the traffic garden with the reslurry and seal that the district was doing as regular maintenance. SLOCOG designed the tracks and paid for the striping of the bike track. SLOCOG also worked with the AUSD administrators to implement pedestrian and bicycle safety curriculum into the P.E. class curriculum. AUSD partnered with local bike shop, K-Man Cyclery , to get a set of bikes that travels from elementary school to elementary school within the district to teach students bike safety and to encourage alternative modes of transportation.

    The Safe Routes to School program is grant funded by Caltrans Active Transportation Program. SLOCOG will work with any school in the county to get a Safe Routes to School program started.

    While outside, Ed Surman and Natalie Perez from One Cool Earth, in accompaniment with the students, explained all the incredible work they’d done. Victoria Carranza, OCE’s Education Director, played a large role in this project as well. One Cool Earth's Earth Genius Program focuses on waste, water, and food issues via school gardens. They have been incredible in tying all these topics together. It's about ecology and our relationship with our home, after all. The students helped out with everything, from a huge turf replacement, to putting donated cardboard, burlap, mulch, compostable matter, and gorilla hair over the entire hillside before they even planted the food forest. One of the students commented on the experience, “It felt like all the work was worth it. It felt like it would take a year, but it only took a couple of months!” It is clear that the students have full understanding of how the systems work since they helped in every stage of the project. The students even replace the drip system themselves when there is a leak or an issue. They also learned about certain plant relationships and selected the ‘Plant Guilds’ that ended up being planted onsite within the food forest. Science, nutrition, and lifestyles are an important part of the curriculum and One Cool Earth even helps to organize family cooking nights in the cafeteria kitchen.

    Sean the custodian shared the ‘No Touch’ method of cleaning the bathrooms. It is essentially a high pressure machine that both ‘Douses and Dries’ the entire bathroom, leaving it 99.9% disinfected.

    The last stop on the tour, before we returned to fill up on delicious home baked goods and coffee, was the garden. One Cool Earth and the students create the garden, complete with multiple composting bins, a bunch of raised beds for produce and herbs, and a chicken coop. The “Chicken Committee” helps to take care of the chickens as well as add the manure they make into the compost bins as a nitrogen fixer which breaks down the compost significantly quicker.

    The impact of Monterey Road Elementary School is proven with their National Green Ribbon School recognition. In order to earn this award, the metric requirements are in depth and rigorous. The Showcase was a shining example of what can happen when all sorts of people and organizations collaborate for a greater cause. Although the impacts are already astounding, they will be multiplying and continuing for years to come in the students who eventually graduate beyond Monterey Road, as new students come aboard and build onto the legacy. 

    Written by Brianna Ruland

    With contributions from Victoria Carranza and Sarah Trauger

    Photos by Teresa Lees and Brianna Ruland

  • 26 Feb 2018 8:05 AM | Anonymous

    Photo Credit: VC Star

    Here at CCGBC, we have the pleasure of meeting and working with a variety of talented people in the environmental field. Due to the structure of our organization, we get the opportunity to closely collaborate with our board members and learn more about their own personal projects. Brandon Kaysen is one of those board members who acts as the leading force for our organization in Ventura.  

    As an educator and green building professional, Brandon manages the K-12 and public environmental education program for the City of Ventura. Brandon is also a lecturer at UC Santa Barbara where he leads a group of students in certifying a building on campus through the LEED for Existing Buildings, Operations & Maintenance (EBO&M) Reference Guide. This "LEED Lab," allows students to showcase their commitment to professional growth by preparing them for the LEED Green Associate exam (Buente 2016). 

    As a Gaucho, Brandon is thrilled to have played an instrumental role in helping Bren Hall become the highest scoring LEED project in California last year! Bren Hall cemented its place amongst the highest percentage of projects that have achieved multiple certifications across different rating systems by receiving its third Platinum designation under LEED for existing buildings. Since this achievement, and its recognition as a model laboratory building in the United StatesBren Hall has inspired green-minded architects and builders around the country and proved that a superbly equipped building can be a tangible benchmark of environmental sustainability (LEED 2017).  

    Photo Credit: Bren School of Environmental Science and Management

    With over 7 years of combined green building, resource management, and environmental education experience, Brandon seeks to collaborate with key players to enhance and encourage the eco-literacy of our building managers, government officials, and community members. He has also played a pivotal role with the Ventura Green Schools Program, working with elementary schoolers on sustainability projects for their schools.  

    So, hats off to Brandon who is not only accomplishing great achievements in his career, but is helping CCGBC by moving the Build Smart Trailer around to multiple eventsattending Founding sponsor events, and building great relationships with other organizations in Ventura! 

    Interested in reading more about Brandon's projects? Check it out: 

    Bren Top Ten in CA  

    Project Profile   

    Student Article - APA Central Coast  

    LEED LAB Story  

    LEED Lab - Student Perspective  

    LEED Lab - Teacher Perspective  

    School Construction News  

    Written by: Kori Nielsen and Brianna Ruland 

    Edited by: Brianna Ruland

  • 17 Feb 2018 8:10 AM | Anonymous

    The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has released its annual list of the Top 10 States for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the most widely used green building rating system in the world. This year, California ranked eighth in the nation.

    This is the seventh year in a row California has been included on the list, indicating its steady and continual leadership in advancing green building across the state. The list is based off the square footage per capita from commercial and institutional green building projects that were certified throughout 2017. California certified 475 projects representing almost 90 million square feet of space. These projects equal 2.4 square feet of space per capita over the entire year.

    LEED-certified spaces use less energy and water, save money for families, businesses and taxpayers, reduce carbon emissions and create a healthier environment for occupants and the community at large. LEED supports state and local strategies to mitigate climate change and increase sustainable development.

    About LEED

    •  LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a globally recognized symbol of excellence in green building.
    •  LEED projects earn points by adhering to prerequisites and credits across a series of categories including, but not limited to, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.
    •  Based on the number of credits achieved, a project earns one of four LEED rating levels: LEED Certified, LEED Silver, LEED Gold or LEED Platinum. The LEED rating systems work for all buildings at all phases of development and is meant to challenge project teams and inspire outside-the-box solutions.
    •  LEED-certified spaces use less energy and water, save money for families, businesses and taxpayers, reduce carbon emissions and create a healthier environment for occupants and the community at large. LEED is a tool for economic development and supports state and local strategies to mitigate climate change.
    • More than 40,000 commercial and institutional projects are currently LEED certified worldwide, comprising more than 6.5 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states in the U.S. and in 167 countries and territories globally. 

    Top 10 States for LEED 2017

    • The annual Top 10 States for LEED is a ranking of U.S. states that have achieved the most square footage per capita of LEED-certified space in the past calendar year.
    •  The list draws attention to states throughout America that are making significant strides in sustainable design, construction and transformation at the building level, and also opens up conversations around community and city-level accomplishments in sustainable development.
    • Now in its eighth year, the list is based on 2010 U.S. Census data and includes commercial and institutional green building projects that were certified throughout 2017.
    •  Collectively, 1,399 commercial and institutional projects achieved LEED certification within the top 10 states in 2017, representing 314.73 million square feet of real estate. Nationwide, 2,647 commercial and institutional projects achieved LEED certification in 2017, representing 484.56 million square feet of real estate.
    • The full list of the top 10 states can be found below:

    2017 Top 10 States for LEED



    Certified Gross Square Footage (GSF)

    GSF Per Capita

    Number of Projects Certified
























































    • * Included in 2016 Top 10 States for LEED list
    • **Washington, D.C. is not ranked, as it is a federal district, not a state

    California Statistics for 2017

    • State leadership and local policy initiatives make California a model for green building across the country.
    • The structure and rigor of the statewide green building code, known as CALGreen, acknowledges the stringency of codes for many projects throughout California and provides a significantly streamlined effort for projects seeking LEED certification. CALGreen, coupled with LEED, creates incentive for more projects to exceed code minimums voluntarily.
    • ·       In California, a total of 475 projects, totaling more than 89 million square feet, earned LEED certification in 2017, representing 2.4 square feet of certified space per capita.
    • Key projects certified in 2017 include:
    •  San Diego Rental Car Center, owned by the San Diego Regional Airport Authority, was the largest project certified in California in 2017 and achieved LEED Gold;
    •  Bren Hall, a classroom and laboratory building on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara, earned the highest LEED score of any project in the U.S. in 2017 with 93 points and achieved LEED Platinum;
    •   Loma Linda Veterans Affairs Clinic, a health care center serving veterans in Southern California in an environment that promotes physical and mental rehabilitation achieved LEED Silver;
    •  23andMe, the human genome testing service with over 2 million users around the globe, has state-of-the-art laboratory and office facilities based in Mountain View achieved LEED Platinum; and
    •  The Perkins+Will San Francisco office, providing a healthy work environment for designers and architects creating some of the most sustainable buildings in the city, achieved LEED Platinum.
    Article provided by USGBC National

  • 12 Feb 2018 8:13 AM | Anonymous

    This year for our annual CCGBC Board Retreat, we gathered at Sedgwick National Reserve in Santa Ynez where discussed our past achievements, what we want to continue doing, and what we can improve on. Did you know that in 2017 alone, we helped put on 45 events which reached over 2500 attendees?! In every event that we are involved in, we make sure that it aligns with our mission:

    To Continue the transformation of the Central Coast into a sustainable community, economy, and environment through education and advocacy of green building design, construction, and operational excellence.

    As this organization continues to flourish, we are excited to bring on new  board members and collaborate with more organizations! With much already accomplished and much more in the works, we look forward to what 2018 holds in store for our organization. If you are interested in becoming a board member or sponsoring us, please contact: admin@ccgreenbuilding.org. 

    Interested in what is to come this upcoming year? Check it out!

    • Education on regenerative buildings after disasters
    • Green Associate Trainings
    • Networking events
    • Volunteer opportunities by event
    • Quarterly Sponsor events
    • 10 year anniversary gala
    • Past Presidents Panel Discussion – where the industry was, is ,will be… The next ten….

    Written by: Kori Nielsen

    Edited by: Brianna Ruland


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