Sustainable Works

Energy, Week 25 2009

Green Living Workshops

There are 4 workshops currently running.
This post is specific to the following workshops:

Sunday 12-1:30PM at Church in Ocean Park
Wednesday 7-8:30PM at Santa Monica Public Library

Please scroll down to view your workshop’s post.


In the News
>>EPA Finds Greenhouse Gases Pose Threat to Public Health, Welfare -
The proposed findings, filed April 17, 2009 for a 60-day public comment period, identified six greenhouse gases that pose a potential threat to humans and the environment.

>>New Tax Incentives for Greening Your Home - The Stimulus plan approved by Congress in February 2009 offers tax refunds for four types of energy-efficiency updates. Via The New York Times

>>Report outlines possible effects of warming on California - "A compilation of research papers suggests that climate change will mean the state will have less water, experience a loss of cropland and see soaring wildfire rates."

>>How to survive the coming century - "A 4 °C rise could easily occur. The 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, whose conclusions are generally accepted as conservative, predicted a rise of anywhere between 2 °C and 6.4 °C this century. And in August 2008, Bob Watson, former chair of the IPCC, warned that the world should work on mitigation and adaptation strategies to "prepare for 4 °C of warming"." Includes an interactive map to explore how humans can adapt to a warmed planet. Via New Scientist.

>>How Will Global Warming Impact California? - "The more global warming emissions are reduced, the less severe the impacts will be. California has a choice: continue contributing to an alarming rate of global warming by emitting large quantities of global warming pollutants from its cars, electricity plants, and factories, or lead the nation and the world in slowing global warming by making significant cuts in emissions." Via Union of Concerned Scientist.

Sea Levels to Surge 'at Least a Metre" by Century end - "A few years ago, those of us who talked about the impact of the ice sheets were seen as extremists. Today it is recognized as the central issue,"

>>Fifth of world carbon emissions soaked up by extra forest growth, scientists find - "Trees in the tropics are getting bigger, which means they are soaking up an extra 5bn tonnes of CO2 a year." Via

>>Bubbles of warming, beneath the ice - "As permafrost thaws in the Arctic, huge pockets of methane -- a potent greenhouse gas -- could be released into the atmosphere. Experts are only beginning to understand how disastrous that could be."

How Conclusive Is Climate Change Research? - via NPR's Day to Day, January 28, 2009 · Stanford University biology professor Stephen Schneider worked alongside former Vice President Al Gore to research the significance of global warming. Host Alex Cohen talks with Schneider about the state of climate change research today.

Come Dry Spells and High Water - Climate change is "largely irreversible" for the next 1,000 years even if carbon dioxide emissions could be abruptly halted, according to a new study led by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Via

>>Google PowerMeter - Our lack of knowledge about our own energy usage is a huge problem, but also a huge opportunity for us all to save money and fight global warming by reducing our power usage. Via Google.

Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)

Via GreenLAGirl.

>>LADWP is distributing CFLs -
These energy saving light bulbs can help you save up to $34 per bulb on your electrical use. Install them immediately and start saving energy and money. CFLs offer many advantages over traditional incandescent bulbs. A CFL lasts for approximately 10,000 hours compared to 1,000 hours for an incandescent bulb. CFLs operate at a lower temperature and are less of a fire danger. CFLs help reduce your air conditioning use, as the lack of heat results in a cooler environment. Via LADWP.

>>Lighten Up in '09: Shopper's Guide to Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs - "All CFL bulbs aren't equal. Some have lower mercury content than others, and some last much longer. Unfortunately, you can't tell the best of the best by their labels - or the U.S. government Energy Star logo." This guide will help you select bulbs with the least mercury. Via Environmental Working Group.

>>Yes, There Are Dimmable Compact Fluorescent Bulbs - read Low Impact Living's guide to dimmable CFLs or go here to see a product list.

>>The Best CFL Bulbs for Indoor Lighting - Low Impact Living's guide to CFLs.

How Fluorescent Lights Work (same principle as CFLs) - CFLs Responsible for Less Mercury than Incandescent Light Bulbs Ironically, CFLs present an opportunity to prevent mercury from entering our air, where it most affects our health. The highest source of mercury in our air comes from burning fossil fuels such as coal, the most common fuel used in the U.S. to produce electricity. A CFL uses 75% less energy than an incandescent light bulb and lasts at least 6 times longer. A power plant will emit 10mg of mercury to produce the electricity to run an incandescent bulb compared to only 2.4mg of mercury to run a CFL for the same time.

>>CFL Disposal - Used CFLs should be disposed with your Household Hazardous Waste. You can also drop them off at Home Depot or Ikea.

Entire EPA Fact Sheet on CFLs and Mercury

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
>> - Local LED retailer

>>How LEDs Light Emitting Diodes Work

Energy Efficiency & Rebates
>>Community Energy Partnership free Home Energy Efficiency Tune-Up worth up to $200 - Benefits include: saving energy, saving money, increased comfort, reducing peak energy demand, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For more information or to see if your home qualifies for a tune-up, please call toll free at (800) 968-5203 or email

>>LADWP Residential Home Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs - Receive rebates on Energy Star refrigerators, dual pane windows, and air conditioners.

>>Southern California Edison Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs - Receive rebates on Energy Star refrigerators, whole house fans, air conditioners and more.

>>Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency - Tax credits are available at 30% of the cost, up to $1,500, in 2009 & 2010 (for existing homes only) for:
* Windows and Doors
* Insulation
* Roofs (Metal and Asphalt)
* Water Heaters (non-solar)
* Biomass Stoves

>>USDOE's Appliance Energy Estimator - Estimate the energy consumption load of your appliances using this handy reference guide or formula.

>>Standby Power Summary Table - Visit this site to view the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's study of standby power usage (aka vampire energy) for many of your commonly used products.

>>Home Energy Saver - According to Paul Rauber from the Sierra Club "Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's exhaustive Home Energy Saver requires lots of data but pinpoints what's costing you money and which upgrades will save you the most."

>>Smart Strip - auto switches your devices on/off automatically, to save energy and save you money on your electric bills.

>>Kill a Watt - Identify the real energy abusers in your house. See how much it costs you to keep your computer running all day. Kill a Watt review

Insulation & Green Construction
>>Weatherize & Insulate - Save up to 20 percent of your heating and cooling costs. (from Alliance to Save Energy)

  • Warm air leaking into your home during the summer and out of your home during the winter wastes money. A handy homeowner can seal up holes to the outside by weatherstripping doors and sealing windows and other gaps along the home’s foundation. A combination of air sealing and adding insulation to attics, basements, and crawlspaces provides tremendous energy savings and increased comfort.
  • The easiest and most cost-effective way to insulate your home is to add insulation in the attic. If you have less than 6 or 7 inches, you can probably benefit by adding more. Most U.S. homes should have between R-38 and R-49 attic insulation. In order to achieve this, many homeowners should add between R-19 to R-30 insulation (about 6 to 10 inches).
  • Other effective places to add insulation include unfinished basement walls and crawlspaces. Insulating walls can be more complex, but it can be worthwhile to do if you have little or no insulation now. Check with a contractor for advice.
>>To see a variety of greener insulation materials visit the Green Building Resource Center in Santa Monica.

>>Looking to build? Visit Living Homes to learn about pre-fab, LEED certified living homes and take a virtual tour of some of these architectural wonders.

Global Warming
An Inconvenient Truth - The companion website to the movie and book.

- Excellent web resource for tracking the real information about Global Warming. Written by Ross Gelbspan, author of the two ground breaking books on Global Warming we mentioned, The Heat is On and Boiling Point.

>>Smoke, Mirrors and Hot Air
- The Union of Concerned Scientists article on the connection between the "Global Warming skeptics", their funding by Exxon Mobile, and the skeptics history of performing the same disception for the Tobacco industry.

>>Misinformation regarding Global Warming provided by Exxon

>>End Mountain Top Removal -
Find out your connection to mountain top removal. Mountaintop removal is a radical form of coal mining in which entire mountains are literally blown up -- and it is happening here in America on a scale that is almost unimaginable. Mountaintop removal is devastating hundreds of square miles of Appalachia; polluting the headwaters of rivers that provide drinking water to millions of Americans; and destroying a distinctly American culture that has endured for generations.

Renewable Energy

>>How to sign up for LADWP Green Power - Demonstrate your commitment to the environment by signing up for our Green Power which allows you to purchase renewable energy from LADWP. For a small premium—currently, three cents per kilowatt hour—you can support renewable energy, a cleaner environment, and a greener Los Angeles.

- The City of Santa Monica's excellent new resource for those looking to add Solar Power.

>>L.A. County Solar Map - Gives residents and businesses a simple and fast way to find out whether you can save money and the environment by installing solar panels. The Solar Map uses and advanced solar engineering model which uses roof size, pitch, and shading from nearby trees, buildings, and mountains to provide a building's solar potential.

>>Grid Alternatives - Get active! Join this great nonprofit organization that
works to bring the power of solar electricity and energy efficiency to low-income homeowners, and to provide community members with training and hands-on experience with renewable energy technologies. As a volunteer you receive hands on training and will have the opportunity to be part of a solar installation. Sign up to receive reminders of their next training opportunities.

Solar Power PhotoVoltaic (PV) Financing
>> - offers renewable energy loans.

>> - PV with no upfront costs and higher KiloWatt cost.

>> - PV with small upfront investment and lower KiloWatt cost.

- PV company which in addition to selling the panels now also sells the service the Panels provide, called a Solar Lease program. With the SolarLease, you pay as you go, instead of all at once. Monthly lease payments combined with the lower electric bill is usually lower than what you are currently paying the utility company. So you can save money every month! Not only that, but this savings can grow over time as utility rates continue to increase. That's because utility rates have historically increased over 5% every year. With a SolarLease, you can lock in lower electricity rates for the term of your lease.

>> - Think Solar technology is expensive? Visit this blog to learn more.

Carbon Offsets
>>Carbon Neutral Digest - website tracking latest news regarding carbon offsetting

>>Carbon Offset price comparisons
- link to the ever growing and changing list of organizations to offset your CO2 based on price

>>Carbon Offset Recommendations from Tufts University

>>Carbon Offset Consumer Handout from Tufts University

>>A few suggestions to help you select an offsetter:
Climate Friendly
My Climate
Native Energy

Controversy over Additionality
>>LA Times hands it to Native Energy
- from Carbon Neutral Digest.

Documentaries on ENERGY
>>An Inconvenient Truth -
former Vice President Al Gore presents a compelling look at the state of global warming in the fascinating and startling documentary

>>The 11th Hour -
a documentary concerning the environmental crises caused by human actions and calls for restorative action through a reshaping of human activity.

>>Burning the Future: Coal in America -
Writer/director David Novack examines the explosive conflict between the coal industry and residents of West Virginia. Confronted by emerging “clean coal” energy policies, local activists watch a world blind to the devastation caused by coal's extraction. Faced with toxic ground water, the obliteration of 1.4 million acres of mountains, and a government that appeases industry, our heroes demonstrate a strength of purpose and character in their improbable fight to arouse the nation's help in protecting their mountains, saving their families, and preserving their way of life.

The End of Suburbia - A movie that discusses the dwindling supply of cheap energy in the form of fossil fuels and its effect on society.

Literature addressing ENERGY issues
>>An Inconvenient Truth -
Gore’s follow-up to the bestselling Earth in the Balance. Both the book and film were inspired by a series of multimedia presentations on global warming that Gore created and delivers to groups around the world.

>>The Heat is On -
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ross Gelbspan exposes the machinations of oil and coal companies and conservative politicians to undermine the public confidence in science and thereby defer action against global warming. This riveting expose is a spirited call to action against the corporate disinformation campaign that threatens us all.

Boiling Point - Gelbspan, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, offers no less than a call to arms in this treatise on how global warming is a threat and how it can be avoided.

Power Down - If the US continues with its current policies, the next decades will be marked by war, economic collapse, and environmental catastrophe. Resource depletion and population pressures are about to catch up with us, and no one is prepared. The alternative is "Powerdown," a strategy that will require tremendous effort and economic sacrifice in order to reduce per-capita resource usage in wealthy countries, develop alternative energy sources, distribute resources more equitably, and reduce the human population humanely but systematically over time.


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