Save Water, Energy, Money and the Environment

Volume 8, Number 10

October 2012

Calling Volunteers!
Energy Vampires
2012 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard
California Gas Price Spikes
Fewer Americans Commuting Solo
Thinking Differently Beyond the Smart Grid
L.A. Metro
Sanitation Districts
West Basin
City of Torrance
Staff Spotlight
Legislation Corner
Cities in the News
15 Inexpensive Green Household Products
October / November 2012 Events & Workshops
A Worthy Read
Interesting Domestic and International Articles Discussing the Environment, Energy Efficiency and Water Conservation



There has never been a better time to help out and be recognized.

Email Martha, call her at 310.371.7222, x 209 or complete our volunteer application and submit it by email or mail.   
You can make a huge difference! 

 Visit Our Cities

El Segundo
Hermosa Beach
Lawndale Lomita
Manhattan Beach
Palos Verdes Estates
Rancho Palos Verdes
Redondo Beach
Rolling Hills
Rolling Hills Estates

SCE Customers in
San Pedro & Harbor City

County Unincorporated Areas in South Bay 



 Southern California Gas Company  


Southern California Edison


West Basin Municipal Water District  


 En Espaņol


Southern California Gas Company
Southern California Edison Sanitation Districts of LA County

  County of Los Angeles 



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To read the South Bay Cities Council of Governments' latest edition of its newsletter,
South Bay Watch,
click here

Where Does Your City Rank in the 

SCE Energy Leader Partnership Program?


Platinum Tier
20% Energy Reduction Stay Tuned


Gold Tier
10% Energy Reduction 
City of Hawthorne
City of Lomita 


Silver Tier
5% Energy Reduction 
City of Carson
City of El Segundo
City of Hermosa Beach
City of Inglewood
City of Manhattan Beach
City of Redondo Beach
City of Torrance 
Valued Level
City of Lawndale
City of Palos Verdes Estates
City of Rancho Palos Verdes
City of Rolling Hills
City of Rolling Hills Estates
City of Gardena

Did You Know?

If you are stuck in a stop-and-go driving situation (or if you encounter traffic lights that are unusually long), you can save gasoline by shifting your automatic transmission to neutral when the car is at a standstill. This practice will not only allow the transmission to cool, but will make it easier for the engine to turn, as well.

Message From the Deputy Executive Director of Environmental Programs


When October reaches us each year, our minds typically turn to welcoming autumn weather and Halloween fun.  But there is so much more.  October has three designations that are particularly suited to the work of the South Bay Environmental Services Center and are described below.


In 1991, a Presidential proclamation designated October as National Energy Awareness Month to promote public understanding of our energy needs and to reduce energy consumption in our everyday lives.  More recently, the focus has shifted to emphasize the need for a sustainable future, creating new clean energy jobs and laying the foundation for our long-term economic security.  Energy is central to our national prosperity, security and environmental well-being.  Energy efficiency programs, such as Energy Upgrade California, put the proclamation into practice.


October is also National Community Planning Month, an opportunity for us to recognize the participation and dedication of the members of planning commissions and other citizen planners who have contributed their time and expertise to the improvement of the South Bay community.  Whether it's adding bike lanes, introducing neighborhood electric vehicles or welcoming the Endeavor to southern California, planners are an integral part of making things happen in our cities in response to change. The South Bay Cities Council of Governments is proud to work with such caring professionals.


The third designation that is entwined with the other two like an Oktoberfest pretzel is Rideshare Month, promoting the use of sustainable transportation modes such as carpool, vanpool, transit, bike and pedestrian trips.  The "Rideshare Thursdays" message is pronounced all year long by radio traffic reporters because Thursday continues to be the worst day of the week for traffic congestion on our freeways in the Los Angeles region.  Ridesharing is an action step in reducing the need for energy. Complete Streets is an integrated planning approach that includes mobility options for our changing demographics as Baby Boomers become older adults in significant numbers.


All three of these designations are not just words on paper but are calls to action.  The articles that follow are meant to raise awareness and understanding of how our use of energy, planning in our communities and choosing how we travel locally are all connected to a sustainable South Bay.       

Catherine Showalter


Energy Vampires

A Wooden Stake and Garlic Might Suffice to Defeat the Traditional Vampire, But a Surge-Protected Energy Strip is What is Needed to Deal With These Energy Suckers!


It's that time to year to be reminded about Energy Vampires! Computers, multi-function printers, power tools, hand-held vacuums, flat screen TVs, DVD players, CD players are some of the electronic devices at your home sucking energy even if you think they are turned OFF! These devices are in "standby mode". Anything with a clock, timer, or remote control is still drawing power. "Standby" mode charges could add up to 10% of your energy bill!


The Simple Solution:

Plug your devices into a surge-protected energy strip and turn it off when the devices are not in use. If you do not feel like turning your surge-protected energy strip off when it's not in use, use a Smart surge-protected energy strip instead. Smart energy strips use a sensor to monitor the flow of electricity to the control outlet and when there is a significant drop, it switches off the power to the controlled outlets. Energy strips do not draw standby power.  Do not plug an energy strip into another energy strip because of a potential overload!  If you have questions, call SBESC at (310) 371-7222.


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The 2012 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard: What Has Changed, What Has Stayed the Same
ACEEE's Annual Energy
Efficiency Assessment is Revealed 
Every year, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) takes a wide-ranging look at energy efficiency in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in their report, the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. The State Scorecard benchmarks the states according to the policies and programs that encourage the efficient use of energy in the utility, buildings, industry, transportation, and public sectors. The report aims to capture the diversity of efforts related to energy efficiency happening at the state level and to encourage friendly competition among the states to craft innovative policies and programs that deliver the economic, environmental, and energy security benefits of efficiency.

What (If Anything) To Do About California Gasoline Price Spikes
Breakdown of Why Recent Gas Prices Have Skyrocketed--This Might Be a Good Time to Consider Alternatives Such As Vanpooling 
Here we go again. A couple refinery disruptions, a pipeline shutdown, and before you know it gas prices in California have jumped more than 50 cents compared to the rest of the country. Soon politicians will be wringing their hands and calling for investigations. Some will blame it on evil oil companies, while others while say it's due to our insistence on using a different gasoline than other states. 


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SBCCOG & It's LUV Program

SBCCOG Receives AQMD's Clean Air Award for Advancement in Innovative Transportation Projects


Dan Medina, Gardena Councilman and 1st Vice Chair of the South Bay Cities Council of Governments (SBCCOG), accepted the South Coast Air Quality Management District's (AQMD) Advancement in Innovative Transportation Projects Award for the innovative Local Use Vehicle (LUV) project which has been in operation for the last 2 years in the South Bay.


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Fewer Americans Commuting Solo
Group Commuting Is On the Rise 
The dismal economy and skyrocketing gas prices may have accomplished what years of advocacy failed to: getting more people to stop driving solo. The share of workers driving to work alone dropped slightly from 2010 to 2011 while commutes on public transportation rose nationally and in some of the largest metropolitan areas, according to Census data out today Thursday.

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Thinking Different Beyond the Smart Grid
Applying Vision for Smart Grid to Transportation Future 
Information and communications technologies (ICT) and machine to machine (M2M) applications will have evolutionary and revolutionary impacts on the Smart Grid and smart cities.  As more of the global population chooses to live in cities, ICT will also exert revolutionary impacts on transportation to help transform it into sustainable transportation.   However, like the coming Smart Grid transformations, tectonic shifts in thinking need to occur that change cultures, mindsets, and perspectives in transportation to make good on these visions.


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California Public Utilities Commission 
CPUC Proposes Formation of Energy Data Center

Aggregated customer energy usage information is available, but access to that information is often difficult. Consolidating that information in one location, such as a data center, should help improve state energy policies and create new market opportunities to save energy.

Energy Upgrade Logo
Energy Upgrade California
More changes to Energy Upgrade California in Los Angeles County.


Energy Upgrade California in Los Angeles County recently announced it has met its projected goals for residential Energy Upgrade Flex Path incentive payouts. Flex Path proved to be a very successful program. LA County increased the original goal of 500 projects to 1,500 projects, and in early October, LA County determined it could fund an additional 150 Flex Path applications for a final program goal of 1,650 projects.

Due to high interest, LA County's Flex Path incentive funds were fully committed on October 12. 
Although Flex Path has ended and the LA County matching funds have ended as well, SCE and So Cal Gas continue to support and provide financial incentives for homeowners who complete qualifying energy efficiency upgrades. With a variety of improvement options, homeowners can increase their home's energy efficiency, reduce monthly utility bills, increase their home's comfort and indoor air quality, and receive up to $4,000 in incentives. LA County's 2% financing program is still available to help homeowners finance their energy efficiency upgrades.


The South Bay Environmental Services Center is the EUC Call Center for LA County. If you have questions about the changes to the program or need clarification on how the program works, please be sure to call 310-371-7222.


Southern California Gas CompanyThe Gas Company

Attention Businesses: Take Care of Your Low-Hanging Fruit: Insulation!


Make insulation a high priority on your list of energy-efficiency improvements. Insulation is inexpensive, so it offers plenty of benefits:

  • low-risk investments,
  • quick paybacks, and
  • low-cost options for reducing greenhouse gases.
Insulation also helps keep employees happy and productive by preventing heat from escaping into the workplace.

Take advantage of rebates offered by Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGasŪ) for qualifying pipe and tank insulation.
Learn More 


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Southern California EdisonSCE  

Holiday Light Exchange at SBESC!


Visit the SBESC office to trade up to two working strings of old electricity-guzzling incandescent holiday lights for two new,energy-efficient LED strings. The exchange will take place on the following dates and times: 


November 13, 15, 16, 2012

9:00 am-5:00pm


November 14, 2012

9:00 am-7:00 pm


Saving with Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) 


Here Are Some Reasons To Immediately Switch Out Your Incandescent Bulbs For CFLs:

  • ENERGY STARŪ-qualified CFLs use up to 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs & last up to 10 times as long, making installation  
    an easy solution to experience savings on your energy bill and  
    reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • When you replace an old incandescent bulb with an energy-efficient CFL, you can save over $68 over its lifetime.
  • The average home has 50 sockets. If 50 lighting sockets are switched to CFLs, that would translate to savings of $40 per month.
  • CFLs now come in many lighting options, such as warm white, which gives off the same light as a standard incandescent.

Learn More


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L.A. Metro



Get ready! Los Angeles County's first High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes debut on Saturday, November 10th at 12:01 am. Metro ExpressLanes, an innovative project to reduce traffic congestion, will open 11 miles of carpool lanes on the 110 Harbor Freeway, between the 91 Freeway and Adams Boulevard, to solo drivers who pay an electronic toll.



There are many benefits to participating in a Metro vanpool:

  • Save money on gas and other commuting costs
  • Receive an ongoing subsidy of up to $400 per month
  • Reduce wear and tear on your car
  • Save time by traveling in carpool lanes
  • Reduce traffic and pollution
  • Qualify for special perks at work, such as preferred parking, prize drawings, subsidies and more
  • Lower commuting stress
  • Meet new friends

Are there any other added benefits?

As an added bonus, both employers and employees can benefit by participating in "Commuter Benefits", a program outlined in the federal tax code, that offers employers tax breaks for subsidizing vanpools for employees. In addition, employees may benefit when they set aside pre-tax dollars for vanpool commuting expenses.


If you are interested in learning more about Metro's Vanpool program and how to qualify for a $400 monthly subsidy, be sure to contact SBESC and ask for Grace.


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Sanitation Districts of LA County

Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County

Medications In The Environment


What are medications?
Medications, which are sometimes called pharmaceuticals in newspaper articles and research papers, include:

  1. Prescription drugs such as hormones (birth control pills, estrogen replacement drugs, etc.), antidepressants, and antibiotics;
  2. Over-the-counter medications such as pain relievers (aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.), cold/flu remedies, and antiseptics (germ killing liquids); and, 
  3. Veterinary medicines

South Bay residents may safely dispose of unwanted medications at the following Sheriff's Substations, Carson, Lomita and South Los Angeles. Disposal of medications can also be taken to the City of Gardena and Manhattan Beach Police Departments.

Learn More  


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West Basin Municipal Water DWest Basinistrict 
West Basin Municipal Water District, City of Redondo Beach Dedicate Water Filling  
Station to Public Use


West Basin Municipal Water District (West Basin) and the City of Redondo Beach are together dedicating a water filling station to public use today to encourage more people to use refillable water bottles and drink safe, reliable tap water. Sponsors of the drinking water station, United Water and Cal Water Service, will also be present to dedicate the station.
City of Torrance
City of Torrance

Torrance Transit Rapid & ExpressLanes Kick-Off Event


Torrance Transit will kick off their Rapid and ExpressLanes bus services on Thursday, October 25 at 10:30 a.m. at the Del Amo Fashion Center parking lot in front or Macy's on Carson St. in Torrance. The new Line 4 created as part of Metro's ExpressLanes project on the I-110 Harbor Freeway will provide an express "North to South" service between the South Bay and downtown Los Angeles. The second new route is the new Line 3 Rapid, an "East to West" rapid bus service that will provide service between the South Bay Galleria and the Long Beach Transit Gallery. In celebration of the kick-off, Torrance Transit will be offering free rides on Thursday, October 25 and Friday, October 26 on Line 3 Rapid service only.   


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Staff Spotlight 
Marcy Hiratzka
Marcy has been with the SBCCOG for 2 years and is extremely thankful to have a job that she loves so much. Since earning her Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Analysis & Design from UC Irvine, Marcy has been fortunate enough to work for Caltrans District 12, Swinerton Builders, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. She continues to draw on her past experiences and apply what she's learned to her current position with the SBCCOG as an Environmental Programs Analyst and Board Secretary. The SBCCOG has given Marcy an opportunity to observe public policy from the different angles of sustainability, regional planning, transportation and legislation. Marcy's main focus is the South Bay Measure R Highway Program, where she works with Metro, Caltrans and the Public Works Departments of the SBCCOG's member cities on infrastructure and transportation project-administration. She loves learning from her experiences here, where she can utilize her passion for public service.


Legislation Corner 

Biggest PACE Green Building Program Launches in California
Fourteen counties and 126 cities in California have launched CaliforniaFIRST, the nation's largest finance program for green building upgrades that uses the Property Assessed Clean Energy financing model in an effort to help commercial property owners reduce their energy and water use.
CA Prop 39 Will Provide Funding for Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency 
A measure on the November ballot, Proposition 39, will provide funding for clean energy, sustainability and energy efficiency projects across California. 
Cities in the News 

Spotlight on a South Bay Business: Whole Foods Market in Redondo Beach


Whole Foods Market in Redondo Beach hosted an Energy Efficiency event on Thursday evening, October 11th to celebrate the market's energy savings. Whole Foods Market and Sandoval Energy engaged FridgeWize to thoroughly analyze Whole Foods Market in Redondo Beach commercial refrigeration system and provide solutions that would potentially reduce the entire story utility usage by 25 percent. This target amount is in line with Whole Foods Corporate goal to reduce all Whole Foods stores utility consumption by 25 percent before the year 2015.

Read More


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Energy Efficiency Products that Can Help You Save Big!
15 Inexpensive Green Household Products that Can Save You Money and Cut Down Your Energy Bill
If you've been feeling the pinch like we have, you've probably learned to shop smarter, pack your own lunch, and cut back on the gourmet coffee, but you might still be missing out on big savings if your home hasn't been optimized for energy efficiency. The good news is that just a few quick and easy DIY upgrades to your home could equate to hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year in savings on your energy bill. Crafting a home energy-optimization strategy sounds more daunting than it is. Here are 15 great inexpensive and easy-to-find green home improvement products that will set you on the path towards a lower energy bill and more moolah in the bank...
Read More


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October / November 2012 Events & Workshops 
Click Here to See a List of Upcoming Workshops & Trainings
Click Here to See a List of Upcoming Events
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