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  • 25 Mar 2018 11:55 PM | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)

    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 | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)

    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 | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)

    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 | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)

    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

  • 15 Jan 2018 12:19 PM | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)

    Photo credit: ABC7

    This week I wat­ched the movie An Inconvenient Sequel. It was a grim reminder of the vast effects of climate change on our planet based on the comparisons and predictions of An Inconvenient Truth, released 10 years ago. Observing Al Gore knee deep in high-tide water on a highway in Florida, I remembered to check in with Kori, our CCGBC Communications Coordinator in Santa Barbara, “Everyone has been affected in some way,” she states in regards to the mudslide tragedies.  We brainstormed about what actions could have been taken to avoid so much devastation. Solutions such as years of pro-active land terracing and deep-root-planting to more efficient and timely evacuations felt far beyond reach considering the current situation.

    The bigger picture is that, this is the time we are living on this planet, it’s our time to do what is within our power. We know that Mother Nature is fairly furious with the generations of actions against her and that she is rightfully revolting now. The past year in California alone has been one of the most extreme weather and natural disaster years of all. Beginning with the burning of Big Sur, to the mudslides there, the massive snowfall in the mountains last winter,  record highs and lows, the fires – oh dear, the fires! Now, post-fires, thousands suffer from more mudslides… it is clear that we are not currently equipped to handle such violent acts of nature, but we must educate ourselves the best we can, and adapt the best we can, to move forward the best we can.

    Here at the CCGBC we have been sent resources, and have been doing our own research in regards to both natural disaster safety and regenerative building that we have compiled here for you to quickly access. Typically, our resources are for reserved for members, but this information should reach as many people as possible. As we take on another year full of climate change obstacles, we all need to be informed about how to prepare, repair, and take care of one another in the process.

    While we cannot be ready for every disaster that strikes, if someone is in a position where they have lost their home to one of the recent natural disasters, they now have the opportunity to rebuild in ways that can protect them in the future while also building regeneratively, reducing their carbon footprint.

    For example, while many wood-frame houses burned in the year’s fires, the strawbale homes fared well when they came face to face with the fire. You can read an article about the survival stories of several straw bale homes in the area to find out what gives them such a force field.  

    A group to pay attention to is the Ventura Food Co-Op  who are have already had one large charity event to raise funds and support for the Thomas Fire Victims. They will be hosting more events with a focus around planning how people can rebuild regenerativly. Keep an eye out;  we will also be sharing and contributing to the efforts in conjunction with the Co-Op.  

    Click HERE for resources that can help you be proactive, and guide you to your recovery and rebuilding efforts.

    Here are also some upcoming events that anyone is welcome to attend to connect with the community :

      January 18th : Community Lecture - "Impacts & Management after the Thomas Fire"

    Thursday, January 18 at 7 PM - 8:30 PM

    Poinsettia Pavilion

    3451 Foothill Rd, Ventura, California 93003

     January 31st: Fire Ecology Presentation with George Wuerthner

    Wednesday, January 31, 2018 6:00 pm

    The Krotona Institute Auditorium

    2 Krotona St, Ojai, CA 93023

    February 17th : After the Fire: Making Our Landscapes More Resilient 

    Saturday, February 17 at 10 AM - 3 PM

    Meet at AT&T Parking Lot
    180 N Blanche St
    Ojai, CA 93023

    We hope that you find these resources useful and that you share them with others in your community.  We will add to this page of resources for upcoming months, so feel free to send us anything helpful!

    - Your CCGBC 

    Written by: Brianna Ruland  \\ Edited by: Kori Nielsen

    CCGBC Communications Coordinators \\ contact at: admin@ccgreenbuilding.org

  • 15 Jan 2018 10:30 AM | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)

    Following CCGBC's News Blog: 

    "Recalculating" After the Disasters

    Fire Safety, Preparedness, Resources:

    • City of Ventura Re-building
    • Ready, Set, Go! 
    • Thomas Fire: The Best Ways to Help
    • Santa Barbara Food Bank
    •    Wildfire Preparedness
    •  Southern California Wildfire (Disaster) Relief 
    • A controversial conversation in regards to rebuilding

    Landslide Safety, Preparedness, Resources:

    •  Landslide Hazards Program 
    • Resilient Design – Landslides
    • Landslides & Debris Preparedness

    Regenerative & Proactive Building:

    • Fire-Resistive Straw Bale Walls: 
    • Strawbale Building Supporting Documentation
    • Free Download of the 2015 IRC Strawbale Code with Commentary from the CASBA website:
    • Straw Bale Fire Test Video  
    • Straw Bale Testing (fire tests and many others)
    • Rebuilding for the future article

    We are welcome to adding any other suggestions you have ! Please email your resource to admin@ccgreenbuilding.org

    Thank you!

  • 01 Jan 2018 8:17 AM | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)

    It has been an active and eventful year for the BuildSMART (Sustainable Materials And Resource Trailer)! Your favorite environmental education classroom-on-wheels made its way up and down the south coast of California, visiting places such as Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles counties, inspiring over 1,000 people to build green!

    Since its return from Los Angeles in March, the BuildSMART has attended several Earth Day events, celebrated at the Ventura 4th of July festival, entertained hundreds of kids during Storyfest, and even had lunch with employees at Patagonia. The trailer has inspired students, children, home owners, contractors, and the public at large.

    Teaching the public about sustainability is not always an easy topic. Sometimes green building is described as an unnecessary expense, but as attendees explore the trailer, ask questions about how to implement various building elements, and weigh the potential benefits, sustainability becomes a tangible way to help lower operating costs, reduce environmental impact, and improve the health and wellness of people in the building.

    Programmable thermostats, recycled glass countertops, blue jean insulation, and waste heat recovery strategies were the primary topics of conversation this year. Attendees were very interested to hear about the creative ways that they could help reduce their utility bill while creating a more efficient home. When asking the kids at Storyfest what their favorite part of the trailer was, they unanimously pointed and smiled at the dual-flush toilet!

    The City of Ventura has graciously housed the trailer this past year and will continue to bring the trailer out to networking and public events throughout the city. Educating the public about building sustainability is one of Ventura’s primary goals for 2018 and years to come. As we inspire the next generation of green builders, we are always looking for new avenues and audiences to share the trailer with.

    If you or someone you know would like to see the BuildSMART at an event in 2018, please reach out to admin@ccgreenbuilding.org.

  • 29 Nov 2017 9:39 AM | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)

    This year, the 2017 Green Awards was held at the Sandbox where we highlighted innovative design, construction, products, businesses, schools, governments, and educational programs within the tri-county community. Thank you to everyone that participated and attended!

    Food was catered by Whole Foods, and we implemented zero waste strategies for the event.

    SB Winery and M Special donated the drinks for the night!

    Environmental professionals from all along the Central Coast came together to enjoy the evening and to celebrate each other's work.

    Boards were created to display the award winning projects of the night.

    The Central Coast Green Building Council's past president, Candice Wong (right) with some enthusiastic members of  the Ten Over Studio team.

    The Central Coast Green Building Council's President, Matt Ottoson.

    "Just build it sustainably. Triple bottom line guys, it's not that hard. "  

    - CCGBC

  • 16 Oct 2017 9:05 AM | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)


    As a regional advocate for sustainable design and construction, we facilitate collaboration as a unified voice for the tri-county Central California Coast region, to preserve and improve the unique quality of life, where every new or renovated building enhances the health and well-being of our built and natural environments.


    The Central Coast Green Building Council is continuing 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.


    We value enhancement of the built environment through comprehensive and efficient design solutions.

    We seek to create a more equitable distribution of the triple bottom line (social, economic, and environmental).

    We believe in protection and stewardship of the natural environment, acknowledging its relationship with the built environment.

    We aim to create a collaborative, regional network of building professionals and trade groups who are committed to green design practices.

    We inspire action and advocacy of green building solutions by the public at the local and regional level through education and outreach.

    We support becoming a model community for cutting-edge, regenerative design solutions.

    We celebrate innovations and successes of organizations and businesses implementing green building designs and programs.

    We pursue mutual collaboration with other organizations and businesses committed to our common values.

  • 04 Oct 2017 3:14 PM | USGBC-CCGBC (Administrator)

    Oceano Elementary School celebrated its 5th annual Green Apple Day of Service, and has set the standard for sustainable behaviors in San Luis Obispo County.  Oceano's vaunted recycling, composting and active transportation program were on full display September 22nd.  

    Weeks earlier Green Apple Day started with a kickoff performance by Mr. Eco.  Mr. Eco hit on Oceano's core of values with "Turn Off the lights", "Recycle Robot" and "Straw Wars" song and dance routines.  Students were enthralled by Mr. Eco's message of hope and action.  The school in turn responded with a poster contest emphasizing this year's theme, "Help Your Community, Help the Planet".  Students generated many ideas as to how they could make their community better.  Their ideas included buying organic, picking up litter, walking to school, planting a garden and not buying single use plastic water bottles.  

    On Green Apple Day, the students of Oceano put their ideas on full display.  The day started with a massive "alternative transportation" effort sponsored by SLOCOG's Safe Routes Program.  A transportation survey done by the teachers found that nearly 50% of the students walked to school while 15% rode their bikes on Green Apple Day.  The national average for walking and biking to school is only 13%, so Oceano was able to lower its carbon footprint while making its community safer with less motor vehicles circulating through the neighborhood.


    Oceano has saved the Lucia Mar Unified School District thousands of dollars over the years with its student led recycling program.  At lunch, in typical Oceano style, students had a reduced waste meal to go with their Green Apples.  Students, per usual, separated their leftover fruits and vegetables to take to their enormous 10 worm bin composting containers.  Later that day, students cleaned the school of litter, collected the recycling from the classrooms and put both into the appropriate containers.  Oceano's motto of "A clean campus is a happy campus" was on full display for Green Apple Day.

    Oceano was able to bring its composting efforts into a full circle.  Oceano students planted the only "Vertical Garden" on the Central Coast.  The fruits and vegetables collected and composted through the lunch program were then used to plant more vegetables on one of the many cyclone fences here on campus.  The unique design of the vertical garden uses 2 liter plastic bottles to house vegetables such as lettuce and kale.  These vegetables will later be eaten as part of the Harvest of the Month and nutrition program initiated in the classroom.

    Oceano's Green Apple Day of Service was a resounding success.  Once again, Oceano has set the standard for sustainability on the Central Coast. 


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