Did You Know?
- On a bright sunny day, the sun shines approximately 1,000 watts of energy per square meter onto the Earth’s surface.
- PV cells produce no air pollution, hazardous waste, or noise, require almost no maintenance, and last for about 30 years.
- Solar hot water systems are less expensive and pay for themselves more quickly than solar systems for electricity – typically in 5-10 years.
Submitted by Steve Richard (firstname.lastname@example.org) Challenge A few years back I wrote a success story titled “Home Lighting Audit” that shared our experience transitioning much of our house to CFL light bulbs. At the time of the story we had replaced 51 incandescent bulbs with CFLs. Starting around 2010 I realized that CFLs were a [...]
Submitted by Linda Riebel with additions and photographs from Alison Hill Challenge In 1983 I moved into a house that had a washer but no dryer, so I learned to use a drying rack and an outdoor clothesline. When I bought the house some years later, I didn’t want to write a large check [...]
Written by Linda Riebel of Sustainable Lafayette, based on an interview with Manager, Shelley diGiovanna (email@example.com). Acalanes Apartments comprises 5 buildings at the top of Risa Road, not far from the reservoir. The owners’ green consciousness was already high when they erected the first building 40 years ago – around a living tree! I went [...]
Written by St. Mary’s students Hamida Valji and Eurkres Ayi based on interviews with Nicco Royce, Julia Welch, Marshall Welch, Richard Carp, Steve Woolpert, Scott Logan, and Matt Carroll. While this story is about a college campus, many of the steps undertaken by the college staff and students are applicable to elementary, middle, [...]
Submitted by: Brad Wade (firstname.lastname@example.org) Challenge We knew that we would install a solar photovoltaic system “sometime,” but the need to replace the roof and gutters provided the motivation to actually go and do it. Rightly or wrongly, we figured that the new roof would be more weatherproof if the supports for the solar panels [...]
Submitted by: Kim Curiel (email@example.com) Challenge How to prepare a family meal on a hot day yet keep the house cool while making the best use of the hot summer sun and not polluting the air with barbeque smoke? My Nana Jessie first introduced me to solar cooking when I was in the first grade [...]
Written by Maureen Isaacs (Sustainable Lafayette Intern) Challenge When Gwenn and John Lennox looked into remodeling their house, they found that the costs were almost equivalent to demolishing their house and starting from scratch. They decided to take this opportunity in disguise to create a house with minimal initial and future environmental impacts. Solution Details [...]
Submitted by John Hall (firstname.lastname@example.org) Using LED technology lighting, you will never have to change another light bulb and you may save on your house heating bill. We have essentially unlimited energy from the sunlight. Only 7 billionths of the Sun’s energy strikes the earth but that energy striking the earth is 3 billion billion [...]
Submitted by Karen Maggio (email@example.com) Challenge: We packed up the car this September to take our youngest child to college and, before we drove away, shoved a FOR SALE sign in the front yard. We all talk about that day when the kids are grown and what we will do and where we will eventually [...]
Submitted by: Michael Dawson (firstname.lastname@example.org) Challenge I constantly try to find ways to make our home more energy efficient, but the benefits of these changes aren’t easily measured. There’s a large information gap between incremental improvements and the monthly arrival of the electricity bill. I wanted to know: how can I track the effects of [...]
Temple Isaiah’s main focus was to do “the right thing.” For them, this meant overall making less of a carbon footprint by reducing their use of electricity and trashcans as well as changing their light bulbs and many other easy fixes.
Submitted By: Steve Richard (email@example.com) Challenge I think we installed our first CFL light bulbs in the spring of 2006. I recall putting my first bulbs on a couple lamps and a few outdoor lights. That was a good start, but I didn’t feel particularly confident about what to do next. I was full of [...]
Submitted By: Tina Tankka (TinyT74@comcast.net) Challenge To make changes around our home that conserve energy, reduce waste and generally make it more sustainable. Solution Details We’ve just changed all our bulbs to the compact fluorescent ones. The lighting is remarkably “not blue” and pleasing. And it certainly makes turning on a light a lot less [...]
Submitted By: Greg Wikler (firstname.lastname@example.org) Challenge Practicing what we preach has always been an important concept that my wife and I have learned throughout our lives. As a professional consultant in the energy efficiency field for over 20 years, I have to confess that on the home front I wasn’t making a sincere effort to [...]
Submitted By: Steve Richard email@example.com Challenge One of my goals has been to reduce our home’s overall energy consumption by 25% through efficiency and conservation. There are all the standard recommendations like a) adding insulation and generally sealing your home better, b) changing light bulbs, c) adjusting your thermostat, d) replacing old appliances, etc. etc. [...]
Submitted By: Louise Clark (LouiseClark@comcast.net) Challenge I had a simple goal: to upgrade my 52 year old house so that it would burn no fossil fuels. This might sound a little overwhelming, but fortunately I have an engineer son who was willing to tackle the challenge for me. Our home feels a little like a [...]
Submitted By: Vali Frank (firstname.lastname@example.org) Challenge We moved to Lafayette last September during a heat wave, and fairly quickly were horrified both by the heat and shortly thereafter our power bill. One month it topped out at 1800 kw per month, for a power bill that was over $600. After living in Berkeley and Oakland for [...]
Written by Sustainable Lafayette based on an interview with Joanne Tan (email@example.com) Challenge Joanne Tan is as enthusiastic as anyone that we’ve met about making her home more energy efficient and reducing her contribution to global warming. Besides that her 30 year old furnace was often malfunctioning and left her family in coldness for a [...]
Submitted By: Bart Carr (firstname.lastname@example.org) Challenge I’ve been interested in solar power for many years. Early on, the expense and effort of setting up an “off-grid” solar power system was a real obstacle. An off-grid system relies on batteries to store whatever power is generated. Since off-grid systems are totally isolated from PG&E’s electrical distribution [...]
Submitted By: Becky Shafi (email@example.com) Challenge A few months ago my dad told me I should get a solar clothes dryer. I said “Oh, that sounds interesting. How does it work?” He says, “It’s great! It’s so easy. It works fast, and your clothes will smell really good.” “Hey, I want one of those,” I [...]
Submitted By: Steve Richard (firstname.lastname@example.org) Updated: August 2008 UPDATE: We have now been running our solar system for 17 months. Over that period our electricity bill has averaged $46/month, compared to $200-250 before (reduced 80%), so we have saved over $3,000 so far. Our lowest bill is in the middle of the summer (negative) and [...]
Submitted By: Kana Ryan (email@example.com) Challenge “Honey, I turned the kids green!” Being “Green” is not just a catch phrase uttered by lovable Kermit but rather an important focus in our culture today. To help my children learn more about environmental efforts and to do something constructive we embarked on a battery collection community service [...]
Submitted By: Tiffani Neal (firstname.lastname@example.org) Challenge 82nd and Zeal is a locally run online retailer of inspirational, fair-trade and environmentally friendly clothing, which is produced from fabrics such as organic cotton. Benefits of eco friendly clothing are quite the same as organic foods. Clothing made from organic fabrics are free of toxins and pesticides which [...]
Written by Sustainable Lafayette based on an interview with Polly Bernson (email@example.com), the owner of Diablo Rapid Print. Challenge Diablo Rapid Print has been in business in Lafayette for over 50 years! The current owner Polly Bernson has owned the business since 1993 and is a long-standing member of the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and [...]
Written by Sustainable Lafayette based on an interview with Louise McMenamin (Louisejohns@mac.com) who is one of the owners. The ABsolute Center is a popular yoga and Pilates studio in Lafayette, across the street from Trader Joes. The Center was started by three women who had worked together at Oakwood Athletic Club—Katie Santos, Louise McMenamin, and [...]
Submitted By: Kristen Altbaum (firstname.lastname@example.org) Challenge We were trying to heat and cool our home more efficiently. After adding 450 sq feet of living space to our kitchen/family/great room, our a/c unit was no longer strong enough to effectively cool the area on the hottest days of the year. This 9 ft. tall room is [...]
Submitted By: Linda Riebel (email@example.com) Challenge: In the typical home in the U.S., air conditioning uses more electricity than anything else — 16% of total electricity used. In warmer regions, AC can easily exceed 50% of your summer electric bill. In Lafayette, many homes have central air conditioning, which typically uses 3500+ watts. That’s a [...]
Submitted By: Bart Carr (firstname.lastname@example.org) Challenge Last November, our old water heater died. A dead water heater is something that can’t wait to be fixed or replaced. We (my wife Surinder and I) moved quickly and decided to explore “tankless” gas water heating systems. We knew that a growing number of people were turning to [...]
Written by Sustainable Lafayette, based on interviews with Fred Brill (Superintendent), Stephanie Teichman (School Board), and Bruce Wodhams (Principal of Springhill Elementary). Challenge Back in February 2007, a couple of Springhill parents (including Leon Lee) had the simple urge to “leave some sort of legacy”. They thought that figuring out how to get solar panels [...]
Submitted By: Doug Merrill (email@example.com ) – Chair, Commission on the Environment Challenge St. Anselm’s is a small Episcopal church in Lafayette. In 2007, we set out to reduce our energy use and carbon footprint. Solution Details Our biggest accomplishment was the installation and operation of a photovoltaic system (a system using solar panels to [...]
Submitted By: Terry and Jeff Black (firstname.lastname@example.org) Challenge “It’s too cold in this house! I am turning up the heat!” One of us was always making these comments during the winter. Finally we decided to have our attic insulation checked. We had not done anything about it in the 11 years that we had lived [...]
The Strand family in Orinda is typical of many families in Lamorinda–they have three active kids and a live-in parent, and are always on the run. With so much going on how do they find time to stop and think about how to live more sustainably?
Going Green at the Lafayette Health Club Article written by Sustainable Lafayette based on an interview with Debbie Swigert, the owner of the Lafayette Health Club Challenge Debbie Swigert started the Lafayette Health Club all the way back in 1981 with a small studio space. Since then the LHC has grown into a much larger [...]