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  • 06 Mar 2013 9:56 AM | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)

    Worm, or Vermi, composting is a process that allows any individual or family to turn kitchen waste into amazing soil amendment for plants in a garden or container.  Follow these five easy steps and you’ll be worm composting for real!

    View the full article on LoaTree here.

    by   |  on January 9th, 2013

    STEP 1.  Determine the type of worm bin you want to use.

    Figuring bin size and or quantity of bins is important because a good system is a system that effectively deals with all of the kitchen waste you produce.  Your bin should be big enough to handle the kitchen green waste (napkins, egg shells, coffee grounds/filters etc) you produce on a daily basis.  If you are producing more than say a gallon container of green waste daily you may need a larger or multiple bins.  Bin overload puts more stuff in your bin faster than the worms can break it down.  You will soon be out of space to put more kitchen scraps.  The bin can also go ‘anaerobic’ (no air inside the green waste) and smell like rotten eggs.

    Where you keep your bin is important.  The closer you place your bin to where you are creating the waste the easier and more certain it will be that you will use your compost bin regularly. I like a close-at-hand location like outside the kitchen door.  Worms will die out when they run out of food and/or their environment is too wet or too dry.  You need to use your bin regularly to see that those basic requirements are maintained.


    32-gallon tupperware. ‘The Classic.’

    Additionally, there are a few different types of worm composting systems available for home use.  Use a system you can get buy into.  Your enthusiasm will greatly aid success.  The 32 gal Tupperware container pictured with this article is one I recommend for a family or individual that produces a gallon of green waste or less daily.  It is a simple, cheap, light weight option.

    STEP 2. Make sure your worm bin has these two key features.

    -Holes high up on the sides of the bin small enough to keep critters out but also allow air to pass in.  Having holes down low can allow liquid (tea) accumulated in the composting process to run out and create a mess.  Especially no bueno if its near your kitchen door.

    -A tight fitting lid will help keep your bin free of bothersome flies or other visitors like rodents or raccoons.

    STEP 3. Provide bedding of some type for your worm bin.

    Newspaper strip bedding

    Newspaper strip bedding

    Peat moss, shredded newspaper or dried leaves are materials most often used for bedding.  It provides worms with an interface between the kitchen waste, the worm castings they produce and the worms themselves.  I use newspaper strips because newspaper is an easy to get material.  Rip newspaper sections lengthwise to make long narrow strips as the pulp fiber of the newspaper sheets run that way. You’ll get random pieces if you try to rip the paper sideways. Oh, and don’t worry about lead in the print – it’s all soy based ink now – but avoid using the glossy sections.  Make sure to moisten the bedding sufficiently (like a fully charged sponge) but not enough to leave standing water at the bottom of the bin before you put the worms in. Place newspaper on bottom of bin when ready.

    STEP 4. Place worms and their food together in your newly set up bin.

    Once the bedding is in place, spread the worms out in an area on top of it.  You can start with a small amount of healthy worm culture (worm babies, adults, cocoons with some organic matter in various states of decomposition), say a handful, and nurture the colony along slowly.  You can also put in a good amount of worms, a 2-gallon bucket full, for faster action.  Place kitchen waste next to the worms so they have something ready to eat soon. Place a healthy amount of newspaper strips over the worms and food.

    STEP 5. Harvest Worm Castings when bin is full.

    Typical food waste/green waste

    Typical food waste/green waste

    When the green waste that you’ve been putting into the bin looks mostly like black rich soil it’s done!  It usually takes about two to three months to end up with a bin full of worm castings.  Worm castings, finished worm compost, can be taken out of the bin to use for your garden or container soil environments. Worms can be separated out by dumping the bin onto a tarp.  Worms are light sensitive and will move into the pile and away from light. Pull away the outer edges.  If you get a few worms mixed in just include them in the soil mix.  Make sure to return about one fourth the amount of worm culture back to the bin with fresh bedding and food to keep the process going.

    Worms and their final product

    Worms and their final product

    If you’d like to learn more about worms and worm composting, my wife Tahara and I will be giving a worm composting workshop in Santa Barbara, Ca. on February 2nd at Art From Scrap. You can get worms and worm composting systems at the workshop.  You can also get them from me at the Saturday or SundaySanta Barbara Farmers’ Market.  For more information about me, Healing Grounds Nursery or home food production, go to my websitewww.healinggroundsnursery.com.


    -Oscar Carmona

    Healing Grounds Nursery.

    Oscar Carmona, owner and operator of Healing Grounds Nursery, has spent the last 25 years helping connect people, plants, and the planet. He has taught sustainable landscape courses, gardening classes and home consultation for better living throughout California. 

  • 20 Feb 2013 9:45 AM | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)
    Why weatherization? 
    Hundreds of millions of dollars are leaking out of our homes as you read and it can be prevented right now! Weatherization is the most immediate answer to energy independence and a clean energy future. Anyone can do it, it is easy to do, all the tools are easily available, and you could save over $400 on average in the first year alone. The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) has to date weatherized over one million homes, but 38 million more qualify for this program.  
    Starting small with DIY projects to weatherize your home like caulking windows, weatherstripping windows and doors and blowing cheap foam insulation into drafty gaps in your home’s envelope can save you 10% right off the bat. Reduce demand on energy, fossil fuel consumption, climatic pollution and create jobs all while saving you money! 
    What could be a better incentive?

  • 11 Jan 2013 4:57 PM | Deleted user
    Please see the January 2013 version of Klein Horning's Western U.S. Green Tax Incentive outline!   This version has the latest updates of Federal and state green tax incentives including the tax incentive extensions found in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 signed into law last week.

    KH Garciano Renewable Energy and Green Building Tax Incentive Outline (Jan 2013 - Western).PDF
  • 04 Jan 2013 2:41 PM | Deleted user

    Here is a youtube link about the "Quest" Off Grid Home from the "How It's Made" Science Channel!

    You would have to purchase the series to actually watch the portion about the project. Only the first portion of the video—which is about something else entirely— can be seen for free, but we just wanted to show that green built projects are getting some press out there!


    Learn and enjoy!

  • 04 Jan 2013 10:42 AM | Deleted user
    Green Goods Sales Position
    Location - San Luis Obispo
    Job Title - Sales Specialist

    Full time sales position open for an individual looking for a long term commitment. Job position is ideal for an energetic, ambitious, organized and persistent individual with a passion for success. Must be able to work and coordinate as a team as well as have the discipline and motivation to foster working relationships as an individual.

    If architectural and building interior design is a passion and if you desire a job that contributes to the health of our community and the environment this may be the job for you. Must have experience and education in conventional and green building, and the sustainable development industry

    You must have the drive to meet and exceed sales goals. Must be able to enjoy working in a multi-tasking, fast paced competitive sales industry. Be able to balance time selling and processing orders with time spent acquiring new sales leads. Must be able to organize and record sales data and share results weekly in management and sales meetings.

    If this seems appealing then we want to meet you and discuss becoming a member of the Green Goods Sales Team. We have a tight sales team whom cooperate with one another to successfully increase sales, improve business processes, network and promote our business through social networking, marketing and lead generation. We find each others strengths and provide a platform to execute success.

    Bachelor's Degree or equivalent work experience
    1 year minimum – 5 years maximum experience in B2B sales preferred
    1 year minimum cold call experience preferred
    Experience in the construction industry is preferred
    Experience in the health, wellness, and/or environmental building industries is preferred
    Demonstrated Career Stability

    Pursue qualified prospects via cold calling, networking and other relationship establishing introductions
    Maintain long term relationships amongst the building trade professionals and consistently promote and provide our materials and services
    Qualify inbound prospects
    Schedule and perform sales opportunities
    Manage all aspects of building and maintaining a sales pipeline
    Manage sales-cycle from initial contact to close
    Create and Submit cost/request for proposals
    Develop key value propositions and expertise in Green Goods
    Achieve/Exceed monthly sales quota
    Represent Green Goods in the community and at industry trade shows and conferences

    Strong qualifying skills for cold calling and building own prospecting list(s)
    Strong written and verbal communication skills
    Comfortable presenting and selling to both homeowners and professionals in the industry
    Effective time-management, planning and organization skills
    Ability to explain and demonstrate solutions in non-technical, business-focused language
    Strong consultative selling style
    Effective in building relationships
    Ability to work collaboratively with others
    Ability to work with minimal supervision
    Comfortable using and learning about new materials, services and technologies
    Aptitude to effectively prioritize and complete multiple task
    Capacity to work in a fast-paced, often changing environment

    About Green Goods

    Green Goods is a retail showroom and licensed contracting company that designs, provides and installs green building materials in homes and businesses in San Luis Obispo County. We have established Green Goods branded products in the door and cabinet industry and a web based sales and social presence. We regularly host educational events open free to the public that are festive and fun! We have received several awards for our commitment to the community and the environment including awards from the Air Pollution Control District, Green Building Pages, EcoHome magazine and by assemblyman Sam Blakeslee for small business of the year.

    At the Green Goods Core is the genuine and authentic drive to live and support healthy and sustainable lifestyles. We believe that we have the opportunity to support our community in building spaces that embody healthy living by providing the best materials and services in our industry. Our business practices and growth decisions are based on tripe bottom line accounting, balancing the people, planet and profits.
  • 03 Dec 2012 1:20 PM | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)

    New Green Building Codes in Goleta and San Luis Obispo to be Honored

    On Friday, December 7, the Central California Coast Chapter (C4) of the U.S. Green Building Council will honor local efforts to further green building and sustainable living on the Central Coast. 

    Awardees include both residential and commercial construction projects as well as innovative programs and products that push the envelope on sustainability.  While many awardees will be revealed at the ceremony, the Cities of Goleta and San Luis Obispo have already been announced as honorees.  

    In October, Goleta approved its Green Building Program, which establishes mandatory green building requirements for certain new construction and provides incentives for voluntary measures beyond existing regulations.

    “Goleta's program represents a significant success in bringing greener buildings to the community, said Michelle Zimney, Chair of the Green Awards.  “The city's focus on listening to multiple stakeholders meant they were able to craft a code that is flexible, yet meaningful.  Builders and architects will have a variety of green rating tools available to them to help design and construct better performing buildings."

    The County of San Luis Obispo will also be receiving an award for their Green Building Ordinance taking effect in January 2013.  The legislation includes education, incentive and mandatory measures improving energy efficiency, water efficiency and addressing issues of occupant health.


    Stacey White, 2012 President of C4 had this to say, “The County of San Luis Obispo was incredibly inclusive in developing the ordinance. With public input over two years, and including 40 subject-area experts in the crafting of the legislation, the result is a simple, cost effective ordinance with a potential for significant impact on existing and new construction.”

    The Green Gala and Awards Ceremony will take place on Friday, December 7, from 5:30-7:30pm at the Brooks Institute Gallery located at 27 E. Cota St., Santa Barbara, CA.  For more information, contact Michelle Zimney at greenawards@usgbcc4.org. Website: http://www.usgbcc4.org.


    Register Now

  • 19 Nov 2012 10:42 PM | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)
    Friday, Dec 7, 2012
    5:30pm - 7:30 pm

    Brooks Institute Gallery, 27 E. Cota Street, Santa Barbara

  • 31 Jul 2012 10:58 AM | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)


             The California Central Coast Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council is pleased to recognize and

    honor Don Walter of Walter Bros. Properties for the most recent Central Coast LEED certified buildingthe

    California Department of Industrial Relations offices at 4740 Allene Way, in San Luis Obispo.

    Designed by local architect, Bruce Fraser of Fraser Seiple Architects, the DIR offices achieved several

    important LEED Certification benchmarks. Most notable is the building uses 97% less water than a

    typical office building by using reclaimed water, low flow and waterless fixtures. The building also

    uses 27% less energy through integrated cooling strategies, improved building envelope design,

    efficient fixtures, occupancy sensors and natural day-lighting in all occupied spaces. Sustainably

    grown and harvested FSC certified wood, and recycled, non-toxic materials were also used throughout

    the building. Perhaps most importantly, the new LEED Gold Certified building serves to educate its

    many visitors about sustainable buildings with a public informational display about the building design,

    and real-time monitor illustrating the LEED design features and systems operations.

    LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Certification, developed by the USGBC, is the

    leading and most stringent building certification documenting and certifying green buildings in a

    consistent and comprehensive system. Studies have shown that LEED Certified buildings typically use

    24-50% less energy, emit 33-39% less CO2 emissions, use 40% less water and produce 70% less

    solid waste that goes to the landfill. In addition we are now seeing studies that show that healthier

    environments of LEED buildings reduce illness, absenteeism and significantly increase productivity

    and employee retention which can result in considerably more cost savings that all the other energy,

    water and waste savings combined.

    This project will take its place among the California Central Coast LEED Project Case Studies on the

    USGBC-C4 website and is one of the local projects and award winners being showcased in the C4

    2010-2011 Green Awards Book recently published to recognize and document the many exciting

    sustainable design accomplishments of the Central Coast.

    For more information visit www.usgbcc4.org, email communications@usgbcc4.org or

    contact Marilyn Farmer at 544-6075.

  • 24 Jul 2012 10:51 AM | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)

    Making schools more sustainable provides a healthier learning environment for children, and saves money, which our districts desperately need.  The US Green Building Council - C4 (California Central Coast Chapter) Green Schools Action Group began this past school year with the primary mission of engaging the community to raise awareness and educate on all aspects of Green Schools. The idea is simple: participation from everyone, including, students, parents, PTA’s, teachers, custodial staff, government leaders, district administrators and facilities director, utility providers, and industry specialists.

    Last September a kick-off meeting was held with over 80 participants from all over the County representing a full spectrum of the community.  At this time a program called Seminars for Success was launched. This was a series of seminars, which were to be topical meetings on issues such as recycling or water conservation held each month during the school year. Each meeting had a panel of 5-7 specialists in that field from different perspectives.  The Green Schools Action Group was able to secure dynamic speakers for each slot on every panel.  For example Sylvan Levin the Environmental Club Advisor at Mission College Prep, John Ewan from Pacific Energy Company, and County Supervisor Adam Hill were a few of the notable speakers

    This integrated approach to dialogue led to increased awareness of the potential benefits of integrating sustainability in our schools as a discussion in nearly every district. Some highlights from our local districts have included:

    • ·        Lucia Mar Unified School District paved the way two years ago when hiring the first Sustainability Coordinator in the County. This blueprint and fiscal case study illustrated over $120,000 cost savings annually in the first year of implementation. Jeff Guy, Director of Facilities, Operations and Transportation for
    • ·        San Luis Coastal Unified School District participated in many of the Green Schools Action Group Seminars and has carried out an ambitious plan to add solar to a number of schools this year and has begun to implement conservation measures throughout the District
    • ·        Stu Stoddard, Director of Support Services at Atascadero Unified School District offered many creative low to no cost measures that can be taken.  He explained how simple things such as sending out a clever email to faculty and staff before the holiday break requesting that electronics be powered down can have a cumulative cost savings.
    • ·        Templeton Superintendent of Schools Joe Koski celebrated his one-year anniversary in February. He has lead with innovation on many fronts. In the past the district has had an aggressive recycling plan and other measures; however they have now have hired Chris Bonin as the new Supervisor of Maintenance, Operations, Construction & Sustainability to continue development of these initiatives.

    Erin Inglish and Jennifer McIntyre, Green Schools Action Group Co-Chairs are excited to keep the momentum of an integrated approach going with additional speakers, community dialogue and action, helping our community to realize that Green Schools can saves dollars and makes good sense.


  • 15 Jun 2012 8:23 PM | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)

    The California Central Coast Chapter of the


     “A Decade of LEED at UCSB”

    June 2012 presentation in our monthly series

    Please join the California Central Coast Chapter (C4) of the U.S. Green Building Council in Ventura on Monday, June 25th, at 5:30 PM for an informative talk about UC Santa Barbara’s recent Green Building projects, presented by UCSB Sustainability Manager Jordan Sager.  The lecture will begin at 6:00 PM after a half hour of informal networking.
    The University of California at Santa Barbara was an early adopter of the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, beginning with the now double-platinum rated Bren school of Environmental Science and Management. Mr. Sager will discuss UCSB's experience with LEED over the past 10 years, using various case studies to demonstrate how the University has implemented each version of the rating system - New Construction (NC), Existing Buildings (EB:OM), Commercial Interiors (CI) and most recently LEED for Homes.  
    Jordan Sager is the Green Building and Sustainability Manager in UCSB’s Design & Facilities Division. He supports the implementation of sustainability measures on capital building projects and advises campus policy as it relates to planning, design and construction.  Jordan is also a co-founder of Santa Barbara’s Emerging Green Builders organization, and maintains a position on the board of the USGBC-C4.

    The presentation takes place at the Patagonia Firehouse Building, 280 W. Main Street in downtown Ventura on Monday, June 25th 2012, from 5:30 – 7:30 pm.   The monthly meetings are free and open to the public.

    For more information, please call (805) 487-9821, or visit the C4 website at usgbcc4.org.


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