Typically summertime is the time when energy consumption starts to soar higher and higher. Factors such as increased air-conditioning loads, pool pumps having to run longer, and children who are on vacation from school mean using more power at home. In addition to this, all the extra water needed to keep plants alive in the hot Ojai summer uses a tremendous amount of power to treat and pump.
What isn't as visible as your bills increasing is the tremendous environmental impact using this power has in places that are not located in our backyard. Our power primarily comes from the burning of natural gas and coal to create steam, which turns a turbine that generates electricity. We also get a large percentage of our power here in Ojai from nuclear generators. A Google search of "mountain top removal" to secure coal reserves or "hydraulic fracking" to cheaply extract natural gas will reveal the true environmental and social costs of the excessive consumption and inefficient built environment that we inhabit. The recent news of radiation levels from the Fukushima Daiichi disaster increasing in California marine life is a clear indicator that there has got to be a better way to power our world than using sources of energy that wreak havoc on the natural world.
Forty percent of our power consumption is used in buildings and another 30% is for storing, treating, pumping and heating water. That's why the Coalition's Ojai Energy Efficiency Initiative aims to provide all members of the Ojai Valley community, including renters, homeowners, businesses, government, and agricultural facilities, with the resources and support needed to easily "Energize Ojai" to become more energy efficient and reduce our dependence on non-renewable power sources. By reducing our energy demand through conservation, and supporting the installation of solar energy systems and other renewable energy sources, it is possible for Ojai to achieve the goal of becoming a "Net Zero" community. "Net Zero" means that we would consume no more energy than we could produce.
This is no small challenge for the community to undertake, but a tremendous goal that we must achieve in order to secure an energy-independent future that does not destroy our planet for the future generations of Ojai and the world. And it is do-able. Please join the Ojai Energy Efficiency Initiative's efforts by helping to energize our community to become Net Zero this summer by immediately taking simple and affordable actions. We also need your help spreading the information about the support that we can provide to you throughout all your relations and networks.
Read more here.
Dark Skies Initiative
Next Step: More Support Needed
The Coalition has supported the diligent work of members Gail Topping and George Berg for over five years now to prevent the further increase of light pollution in our valley and hopefully reverse the trend. The full scope of our Dark Skies Initiative is to protect wildlife, cut energy waste and minimize light pollution.
At its May 12 meeting the City Planning Commission, after reviewing the lighting ordinance developed by city staff to replace the existing ordinance, requested further direction from City Council to write a better ordinance.
To that end Gail and George are sponsoring a representative from the International Dark Sky Association based in Arizona to present to the City Council and meet with city representatives to answer questions and help develop our local lighting ordinance to best meet our community needs now and in the future. PLEASE COME OUT TO THE JUNE 12 CITY COUNCIL MEETING at 7 p.m. to welcome our out of town guest and let city officials know this is an important issue. What was a fringe environmental conversation even five years ago is now front and center and being seriously discussed at different government levels around the world. Dark Skies are not only important to wildlife, energy conservation and stopping light pollution, but also an important component of our local tourist economy. Imagine a visitor being so taken by the night skies over Ojai and learning why that is important, that she starts a Dark Skies effort back home.
OVGC Solicits Sites for
Fall Eco-Home & Building Tour
We're looking for green homes and businesses to feature on our 2012 Green Home and Building Tour to be held Saturday, October 6 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The event will feature self-guided tours of four homes and one commercial site with clearly identified eco-friendly features. The Coalition began holding the Green Home & Building Tours in 2008 as a way to inspire the public to embrace new green technology and home building practices.
Tour highlights have run the gamut from simple and easy to install rain water harvesting designs for the landscape to high tech solar-based energy systems. Last year's tour homes included a Santé Fe inspired modular home and a custom renovated craftsman with the county's first permitted greywater system.
If you or someone you know has a home or business that utilizes environmentally friendly design, materials, or energy systems and would like to share the efforts, contact Deborah with your questions at 805-669-8455 or download the application online at www.ojaivalleygreentour.com/. Applications are due July 2, 2012, so don't delay.