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  • 01 Jul 2018 10:17 AM | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)

    Photo credit: Studio 2G exterior renderings

    Here at Studio 2G Architects, we are committed to advocating and implementing green design, green building materials, and green lifestyles as the standard for our practice. Our latest project, See Canyon does nothing but follow suit. 

    This project is a remodel of an existing 1800 SF residence.  We demolished the entire home, but kept the original redwood siding to be re-used as an interior finish on some focal walls.  We kept the existing slab to limit any undo site grading and to conserve natural resources from having to produce a new concrete slab. The perimeter of the existing slab will be insulated. 

    Photo credit: Studio 2G interior renderings

    Surprisingly, the original walls were not insulated. The new walls are insulated with blown in cellulose insulation and the exterior finish now a fire rated exterior siding. 

    The new roof is now one complete line with a shallow pitch to maximize the PV panel placement.  The plate height was raised to allow more solar access through the front windows for passive heating in the cooler months.  We created an overhang to allow shading of the windows in the warmer months. 

    The floor plan was rearranged to allow more of an open area for entertaining. We kept one of the original three bedrooms for a guest room, converted one bedroom to an office while creating a master suite. 

    The owner valued clean lines and a direct connection to its nestled location.  The home site was built right up to a steep, natural, rock outcropping. Our design has large windows looking out into this rock outcropping which allows the home to experience the natural environment. Additionally, it allows these North facing windows natural daylighting that carries itself deep into the space. 

    Photo credit: Studio 2G interior rendering

    Simplicity and clean design are paramount for this home. A modern roof design was implemented, with exposed glue-lam beams which span the width of the interior right out to the exterior. Walls that previously obfuscated a panoramic view were replaced with floor-to-ceiling line windows. Custom built-ins, made of reclaimed redwood, take the place of excessive amounts of furniture normally used for storage. All hardware fixtures are hidden so any exposed cabinetry lies flush, blending into the design seamlessly. 

    To see our latest site visit, check out our blog here. For more information about Studio 2G check out our website below: 



    Studio 2G received one of CCGBC's Green Gala awards from us back in our founding year of 2008, and have been connected with us through membership since 2011!! We are grateful for their recent 2018 Silver sponsorship and inspired by the sustainable practices that they implement into their work as leaders in sustainable building. Both principals hold LEED®AP B+C accreditation. 

    - CCGBC 

    Article Written by: Neal Breton 

    Edited by: Kori Nielsen and Brianna Ruland

  • 18 Jun 2018 1:34 PM | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)

    On April 23rd the California Department of Education announced the 2018 California Green Ribbon Schools Award honorees. Carrisa Plains Elementary in the Atascadero Unified School District received Silver Level recognition. It is the second school in San Luis Obispo County to earn a Green Ribbon School Award. Carrisa Plains is unique because it is a very small rural school with the ability to create the school environment that they envision. They show commitment across all three of the Green Ribbon Pillars.

    Pillar I: reducing Environmental Impacts and Costs

    Carrisa Plains has an updated facility that is energy efficient and powered by an onsite array of solar panels. Water use in the garden was reduced after the installation of rain barrels, made possible by a grant from the Gateway to Green Schools program. The rain barrels we purchased with the gateway to green schools grant, Todd Hansen presented the check to thr principal at an Atascadero school board meeting in Feb 2017. 
    Waste is reduced through using refillable water bottles, recycling, and composting food waste from lunch in worm bins. Although biking to school is not possible at Carrisa Plains, students learn how to safely ride bicycles through a partnership with
    SLOCOG and the Safe Routes to School programs. Green School's Committee member Sarah Trauger from SLOCOG and Rideshare worked with Carrisa on setting up the bike safety programs. Carrisa Plains has six bicycles, holds annual Bike Rodeos, and is installing a Bike Garden this Summer.

    Carrisa Plains students using the school’s rain barrels purchased with a grant from CCGBC!

    Pillar II: Health and Wellness

    Carrisa Plains has several policies in place to maintain the health of the human population as well as the environment. Cleaning chemicals are used sparingly, purified drinking water is provided, physical education includes the use of: bicycles, disk golf equipment, and yoga mats. Students learn to care for their own bodies through nutrition presentations and cooking in the school kitchen. They learn to care for the environment through their work in the school garden and composting system. 

    Students and staff work together to maintain the school’s worm composting system

    Pillar III: Effective Environmental and Sustainability Education

    Students at Carrisa Plains receive most of their environmental education in the school garden. All grade levels share responsibility for maintaining the garden beds, greenhouse, chicken coop, and composting system. In 2015 or 2016 One Cool Earth, a Green Schools partner organization, helped to set up their composting system. This hands-on experience is paired with an inquiry based online curriculum called Mystery Science.

    The students love working in the school’s greenhouse and learning to grow their own food!

    Green Schools promotes the school's achievements by putting up  display boards at various events like the Monterey Road showcase, STEAM ally at Farmers in SLO, and Earth Day. Last year the display boards of all the various school's achievements went on tour so that the school's could share the accomplishments with anyone who spent time on campus.

    If you are involved in a school that could use some sustainable improvements of any kind, or is already an awesome school that deserves recognition -- get in touch with our Green School's Committee  by emailing admin@ccgreenbuilding.org and they will help to guide any next steps. 

    Article written by  Amanda Shere

    Amanda works with Gateway to Green Schools as a Green School Committee member and also works for the Cuesta Sustainability Resource Center as the Sustainability Education Specialist providing NEED science kits on renewable energy for K-12 public schools in San Luis Obispo County. Monterey Road principal Julie Davis and Amanda consulted on Carrisas 2018 Green Ribbon.Amanda represented at the awards announcement in April 2018.

  • 04 Jun 2018 3:07 PM | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)

    May 28, 2018

    Written by Daniele Burns and Brian Wallin

                 Saving water in California has been stressed time and time again through the twenty-first century, and we’ve heard countless tips over the radio or on the news on how to be more water conscious. Now, we have programs like LEED to help guide construction and building renovations to be more efficient from the start. In the upcoming years with the implementation of zero net energy construction in California, water use reduction and water efficiency will become an even more vital factor in building construction and renovation. Building designers and contractors will need to consider the design of a building from the get-go, using on-site resources and looking at synergies between systems to provide for the occupants with minimal additional energy requirements.

    Water Use and Efficiency

                 Improving water efficiency is a crucial factor in helping your building achieve ZNE and LEED credits. According to the State of California Energy Commission, 19% of California’s total energy consumption is used to treat and distribute water
    (1) , making multiple levels of water metering and aerated low flow fixtures essential in identifying water usage issues and leaks, and reducing total water consumption. Being overall conscious about the sourcing and use of water in your building (via multi-level water metering) contributes to your LEED scorecard, while reducing water demand through methods like aerated, low flow fixtures reduces the energy associated with its transport, heating and cooling, proving beneficial for Zero Net Energy standards.  Water heating alone can account for 7% of a building’s energy usage, so utilizing tools like electric-powered heat pump water heaters in conjunction with low flow fixtures in showers can make a substantial impact on buildings’ total energy use. Depending on your location, the US department of Energy recommends electric-powered heat pump water heaters as the most efficient, and most cost effective, method of water heating over a 13 year period. A powerful feature of these water heaters is their ability to be incorporated into the building’s ventilation system to reduce energy demands associated with cooling, a task that accounts for 9% of a building’s total energy use. The location of your heat pump water heater can be integrated into the design of your building from the start. Placing a heat pump water heater in an area expected to be significantly exposed to heat will not only improve the efficiency of the heat pump water heater, but also help reduce the temperature of that area of the building, further reducing energy demands for cooling.

              Water metering, low flow fixtures and heat pump water heaters will help reduce the amount of total water used and the energy demand of using that water, but a rainwater management system can help reduce the amount of potable water used by your building. Rainwater management serves a dual purpose of reducing potable water use, and reducing runoff and pollution from your site by harvesting and naturally purifying it. Using rainwater for irrigation eliminates excess surface runoff by capturing the excess water during storm events, then releasing it slowly over time for irrigation. Irrigating with this water reduces pollution to the environment because the pollutants in rain are seen as nutrients by plants so they take them up and convert them to biomass. These systems are a true win-win to reduce potable water use and benefit the environment in a positive way.


             Water use reduction on a commercial scale creates major energy reductions associated with distribution and consumption, but changing the way we use water in our own residence creates the dualistic benefits of saving money while reducing energy demands associated with water on a broader level. Here in central California, high water demands are met with a lack of water resources due to droughts perpetuated by infrequent rains, meaning innovation is required to do the most with the limited resource we have available. In a residence, the leading water guzzlers are toilets, showers, faucets, and washing machines, making them the targets ofbehavioral and technical changes for water consumption reduction. When the drought was peaking, we were advised to take shorter showers, follow the “when it’s yellow, let it mellow” adage, and turn the faucets off in between washing dishes. These are all essential elements in water use reduction, but the next step is in getting technical to maximize the benefits of water consumption reduction. Ensuring that these products are functioning at optimal performance is fundamental to resource savings, otherwise leaks and malfunctions contribute to the mindless waste of potable water. It’s worth noting, you can’t change what you can’t measure, so the first step in implementing water consumption changes is to identify your major usage areas. Metering different elements of use can help you detect leaks, and you can use the following water use calculator to look at behavioral factors affecting use: https://www.watercalculator.org

    The recommendations made for commercial buildings hold true for residential applications. Low flow toilets and aerators in faucets give the illusion of high-flow feelings while realistically reducing the amount of water we use throughout the day. Look for the WaterSense label on sink fixtures, shower heads, and toilets or Energy Star labels for appliances. The WaterSense labels ensures that the fixture is both highly efficient, and high performing so that the efficiency of the fixture does not come at the cost of performance.  According to the Grace Communications Foundation, the organization who took charge in creating the water consumption calculator, toilets made before 1996 used 6 gallons per flush (gpf) (2) while modern toilets (are required by code to use a maximum of 1.6 gpf, and some WaterSense toilets use as little as 1.28gpf with dual flush options using even less) have improved their efficiency to use only 1.5 gallons per flush. This is a great example of how modernizing your home can significantly reduce the water wasted throughout our days, saving money and reducing potable water that is, literally, going down the drain. Simple appliance upgrades produce monumental savings fiscally and resourcefully.

    Shifting our focus to outdoor water consumption, the leading contender for water waste, sometimes responsible for 80% of all home water use, goes unsurprisingly to the maintenance of our landscapes. (3) Shifting landscape vegetation away from water-dependent grasses and nonnative species to native, drought-resistant species reduces the water needed for upkeep while adding a more vibrant palette to the landscape. Dressing your yard in California Yarrow, Arroyo De La Cruz Blue-eyed Grass, and Tidy Tips flowers contributes to the visual appeal of your yard while saving you a large chunk of change spent on watering your lawn, and simultaneously diverts 25,000 gallons of potable water annually from being wasted. Exploring harvested rainwater or grey water systems for non-potable uses, like irrigation outdoors, is another step in the right direction of minimizing outdoor water consumption.

             We see two main points in reducing water use and increasing efficiency: behavioral changes, and infrastructural upgrades. Both of these aspects can have huge impacts on both savings and energy used in commercial buildings and in the home. Simple changes like switching the type of fixtures of sinks can make monumental savings both fiscally and resourcefully, and larger upgrades like greywater, reclaimed water, and rainwater systems lead to huge saving over the course of their life cycles.

    Sources and Further Reading:

    ●       Best Management Practices


    ●       Water Conservation and Techniques


    ●       Water Heating


    ●       CA Water-Energy Relationships


    See page 8 on the California Energy Commission’s report https://www.energy.ca.gov/2005publications/CEC-700-2005-011/CEC-700-2005-011-SF.PDF

    See statistic table at https://www.watercalculator.org/water-use/indoor-water-use-at-home/

    See Lawn Care Uses a Lot of Water section at https://www.watercalculator.org/water-use/outdoor-water-use-at-home/



    1. See page 8 on the California Energy Commission’s report https://www.energy.ca.gov/2005publications/CEC-700-2005-011/CEC-700-2005-011-SF.PDF

    2. See statistic table at https://www.watercalculator.org/water-use/indoor-water-use-at-home/

    3. See Lawn Care Uses a Lot of Water section at https://www.watercalculator.org/water-use/outdoor-water-use-at-home/

    Authors Daniele Burns and Brian Wallin are students from the UCSB undergraduate program.

  • 03 Jun 2018 2:34 PM | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)

    The U.S. Department of Education announced on May 16th that Monterey Road Elementary School in Atascadero is among the 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees!  

    Monterey Road Elementary School was nominated by the California Department of Education  for their many accomplishments within the three pillars as seen here:

    According to Sarah Traugerthe transportation specialist for the school, the Safe Routes to School Program touches on each of the three pillars of the Green Schools Program. A bike safety course and the California Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Curriculum was implemented for Grades 4 and 5 to Pillar 1: Element ID – Alternative Transportation.  Bicycling and walking are the epitome of alternative transportation. Second, biking and walking are clearly related to both of the elements found in Pillar 2.  When students learn bike and pedestrian safety at school, and learn to use them as a means to get to school, the reduction in greenhouse gases and decreased use of automobiles on our roads, aides in our environment’s health (Element IIA). Additionally, when students ride bikes and walk to school, their own health and wellness will improve too. Within the Curriculum, students prepare a plan for scheduling 60 minutes of physical activity into their daily lives and explore the health benefits of physical activity.  

    Less apparent than the others, the use of the and California Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Curriculum for Grades 4 and 5 within the Safe Routes to School Program, teaches bike and pedestrian safety in a way that draws on other subjects students are learning in school, especially math. Students spend time learning how to calculate and reduce the amount of air pollution emitted each day (Element IIIA – Interdisciplinary Learning and Element IIIB – STEM Content, Knowledge, and Skills). Lastly, using the Curriculum, students learn civic knowledge and skills (Element IIIC), with lessons on: rules of the road, where students learn about pedestrian and bicycle safety laws and consider real-life scenarios where these laws apply; traffic signs, where students identify the meaning and importance of traffic signs; silent safety, signals where students learn how nonverbal communication helps people stay safe while walking and bicycling; and safety factors, where students examine factors that affect pedestrian and bicycle safety and assess the safety of their routes to school. 

    Monterey Road’s garden, outdoor classroom area, food forest, and native plant habitat uses over 19,000 square feet, which is about 5.5 percent of the school grounds. All planters and a grassy slope have been converted to native plant habitat by students. One planter is a devoted butterfly garden used for educational purposes. Lawn areas are used as an extension of classrooms. Students were involved with all steps of the process to design, construct, and now maintain the food forest, which is intended to function like a forest ecosystem with five fruit trees, vegetable plants, California natives, herbs, and berries that provide food and an additional educational space for students. The food forest is used as another outdoor learning space where lessons are taught in connection with the California Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). 

    The main garden site at the school includes 23 raised beds, a wheelchair-accessible bed, three student-designed brick beds, and various planters. Produce from the garden is served in the cafeteria, sold on Mondays at a mini-farmers market, and donated to a Wellness Kitchen for use in meals prepared for cancer patients. Students learn general garden maintenance that supports life science lessons through planting seeds, harvesting, collecting seeds, and composting. Students develop problem-solving skills when deterring gopher activity and designing weather protection. 

    The Caring Schools Community program at Monterey Road is a program that builds classroom and schoolwide community while developing students’ social and emotional skills and competencies. In addition, students have daily access to the school psychologist and biweekly campus visits from Paso Robles Community Centers counselors. Students participate in cooking lessons using food grown in the garden, and the third grade holds salad parties to eat what they harvest. Family cooking nights throughout the year give families the opportunity to cook healthy meals using produce from local farms and campus gardens (U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools: Highlights from the 2018 Honerees2018). 

    Below are some additional accomplishments made by the school: 

    "As a school, we have been committed to sustainability efforts for the last three years. Our students and staff are passionate to Outdoor Learning, Next Generation Science Standards and implementing practices throughout our campus that reduce waste. This award was made possible because of the amazing team we have in place. I am so proud of our school and  know that we will continue to improve our efforts in the years to come!" 

    -JulieAnn Davis, Monterey Road Elementary School Principal 

    Amanda Shere worked as a partner with Monterey Road where she provided the teachers with hands on science kits from the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project as well as being the lead author of all 3 of their Green Ribbon applications. Here is what she had to say about the latest achievement. 

    "The National Green Ribbon School Award that Monterey Road received has been several years in the making and I know it means so much to all involved. I attribute their success to the commitment of the whole school to be more sustainable, especially the students, as well as the support of the District Office. I am proud to be a partner of Monterey Road Elementary and I offer my congratulations to them on receiving the award. " 

    - Amanda Shere, Sustainability Education Specialist  

    Across the country, 46 schools, six districts, and six post secondary institutions are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.    

    The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 25 states and the Department of Defense Department of Education Activity. The selectees include 40 public schools, including two magnet schools and two charter schools, as well as six nonpublic schools. Forty-five percent of the 2018 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body.  

    The list of all selected schools, districts, colleges, and universities, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here. A report with highlights on the 58 honorees can be found here. More information on the federal recognition award can be found here. Resources for all schools to move toward the three Pillars can be found here   


    ED's award is called "U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools" and has "District Sustainability Award" and "Postsecondary Sustainability Award" categories, in addition to the original school award. It is abbreviated ED-GRS.  "Green Ribbon Schools" without the "U.S. Department of Education" is not ED's award, but instead is a separate program overseen by another organization. A selected school is a "2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School." A selected district is a "2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School District Sustainability Awardee." A selected postsecondary institution is a “2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School Postsecondary Sustainability Awardee.  There is no "National," “Award,” or "Program" in the title.  There is no apostrophe or hyphen after Education.

    Written by: U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools 

    Contributions from: Sarah TraugerJulieAnne Davis, Amanda Shere 

    Edited by: Kori Nielsen and Brianna Ruland 

  • 07 May 2018 8:34 AM | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)

    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 | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)

    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 | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)

    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 | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)

    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 | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)

    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 | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)

    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


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