Save Water, Energy, Money and the Environment

Volume 9, Number 8

August 2013 

Calling Volunteers!
California Is Proof That Energy Efficiency Works
Sales Surge
L.A. Metro
The People Have Spoken
Sanitation Districts
California, Catch the Next Big Energy Wave
West Basin
Why Do We Need Lawns Again?
City of Torrance
Article Headline
Staff Spotlight
Legislation Corner
Cities in the News
August / September 2013 Events & Workshops
A Worthy Read
Interesting Domestic and International Articles Discussing the Environment, Energy Efficiency and Water Conservation

Ireland Looks to Be A World Leader in Wave Energy

Sweden is a Model of Sustainable Waste Management

Rainwater Recycling Program Teaches Kids about Water Conservation

Is This Chip the Key to Desalination?

5 Need to Know Facts About Water Conservation


Green Apps Make Energy Efficiency Fun


7 Tips to Make Recycling Easy 


Repurposing Ideas for Planning a Garden


Trash Facts: 11 Surprising Stats About The Things We Throw Away 


How Green is Your State? [INFOGRAPHIC]


Is Residential Demand Response Hot? Or Is It Just Hot Outside?



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

Complete our volunteer application and submit it by email or mail.   
You can make a huge difference! 

 Visit Our Cities

El Segundo
Hermosa Beach

Manhattan Beach
Palos Verdes Estates
Rancho Palos Verdes
Redondo Beach
Rolling Hills
Rolling Hills Estates

SCE Customers in
San Pedro, Harbor City
 / Harbor Gateway & Wilmington

County Unincorporated Areas in South Bay 



Southern California Gas Company  


Southern California Edison


West Basin Municipal Water District  


 En Espa�ol


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 
City of Lomita


Gold Tier
10% Energy Reduction 
City of El Segundo
City of Hawthorne
City of Manhattan Beach

City of Rancho Palos Verdes


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

Did You Know?

Message From the Deputy Executive Director of Environmental Programs


As we near the end of summer, beach days are numbered and school doors are beginning to open.  It is time to get serious once again about formal education and yet we find

Ride with the Wind Day celebrated on August 23rd as our chance to enjoy a carefree day to soar above the earth.  The idea is to kick back and enjoy one of the last days of summer.  Let the wind carry you away in whatever direction it is blowing, leaving your troubles and worries behind for a spell, as you waft in the air.


The transition this time of year is moving from one stage to another.  "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are," is a message from Theodore Roosevelt with renewed relevance over time.  It is a challenge to make something of each day.  Learning is certainly not limited to a classroom setting as we learn something new each day through our experiences. 


At the South Bay Environmental Services Center, we are initiating a new workshop series to help you "do what you can" in regards to sustainably saving energy, conserving water and recycling while beautifying your homes and neighborhoods with "California-friendly" landscaping.  Is it necessary to get in the car for that short trip?  Or is it an opportunity to use "active transportation" by walking or biking?  Raising awareness is the first step.  Let us help you with ideas based on "what you have and where you are" - ideas that will foster clean air and pure water for future carefree summer fun for generations to come. 


In your own way, catch a ride with the breeze, or float along slowly like a gentle, late summer cloud.  No matter the speed, I invite you to peruse the articles that follow and share in the excitement of learning and doing, by signing up for one of our workshops.  



Catherine Showalter


Southern California Gas CompanyThe Gas Company

A Few Simple Tips Can Help You Prepare For Emergencies


Your best defense against natural disasters is to be prepared at all times. Make sure you have an emergency response plan for your home and your workplace.

Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas�) and other qualified professionals can help by inspecting gas appliances.

For any suspected gas emergency, or questions regarding a gas odor or carbon monoxide, please call SoCalGas immediately at 1-800-427-2200. 

Read More


Go Paperless with Bill Reminders!


Do you need a reminder that your Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas�) bill is due? Go paperless and set up payment reminders in My Account! 


Need copies of your SoCalGas bill for your records? If you need copies of your bill for your records, you can always access up to two years of your bill account history.

Go Paperless 


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California Is Proof That Energy Efficiency Works
According to the Director of the California Energy Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, the State's Model Can Help Meet the President's Climate Goals

California's 40 years of remarkable success in using energy efficiency to avoid dirty power generation and save utility customers billions, as detailed in a new NRDC fact sheet released in July, offers valuable lessons to help meet President Obama's climate action plan.


Cutting energy waste by improving the efficiency of America's homes and businesses -- and the appliances and electronic devices within them -- is essential to reduce the nation's need to build new power plants and to cut dangerous emissions from existing ones. Power plants are the largest source of America's carbon pollution, and the president is ordering his administration to take steps to help curb it.

Read More

Southern California EdisonSCE  

What is a Flex Alert?


Warm weather is officially here in the South Bay and there are more hot days ahead.  To help spread the word about how the South Bay can conserve energy, please read this important article about FlexAlerts.  Southern California Edison (SCE) and South Bay Environmental Services Center (SBESC) are encouraging our customers to be prepared for heat waves and potential outages. Together we can do amazing things to conserve energy during this warm season.
Learn More About 'FlexAlert'


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Sales Surge
Electric Vehicle Sales are Skyrocketing

Americans bought 40,000 new electric vehicles in the first six months of this year - more than twice the number purchased during the same period last year. And that was after sales of plug-in cars tripled from 17,000 in 2011 to 52,000 last year.

Read More


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L.A. Metro
Metro Releases Latest Report with Preliminary Data on ExpressLanes' Performance on 10 and 110 Freeways


The Metro ExpressLanes pilot project publicly released its second performance report Monday morning, offering a statistical look at how the project is faring on the 10 and 110 freeways. This is a follow-up to the first report, released in March.


I'll offer the same caveat we did in March: Metro and Caltrans officials stress that the data is preliminary and subject to change. The U.S. Department of Transportation has hired the Battelle Memorial Institute, a private nonprofit research firm, to conduct a full and thorough evaluation of the ExpressLanes and their overall effectiveness after they've been opened at least one year.

Read More


Vanpool: How to Get Started


Get started with at least five (5) commuters ready to share the ride and save. Whether just starting a vanpool or a vanpool group already on the road - both new and existing vanpool groups with a valid vanpool leasing agency agreement are eligible to participate in the Metro Vanpool Program. Program requirements are detailed in the Metro Vanpool Program Participation Guidelines(pdf) and Metro Vanpool Participation Agreement (pdf). Individuals or groups under 5 can still participate. 

Read More


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The People Have Spoken
America's Favorite Way to Save Energy During Summer Is...

Summer is legendary for high energy usage. June, July, and August unleash by far America's most prodigious electricity consumption of any consecutive 3-month period.


Likewise, Opower's own energy data storehouse - the world's largest, spanning more than 50 million households - suggests that this year's summer energy consumption is off to a predictably running start. Not to mention that just last Friday, New York City set an all-time record for its electricity demand. Such is life in a country where nearly 90% of homes have air conditioners, up from 63% just 20 years ago.

Read More


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Sanitation Districts of LA County

Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County

Industries in the South Bay Honored For Being "Good Corporate Citizens"


"In order to protect public health, we maintain a strict code of compliance for our industrial dischargers," notes Grace Robinson  Chan,  Chief  Engineer  and  General  Manager  of  the  Sanitation  Districts. "It is important to take note of those that meet, and often exceed our requirements. Their efforts help run our wastewater collection and treatment systems more efficiently." Ms. Chan announced the certificate awardees at the meetings of the Sanitation Districts' Boards of Directors.

Read More


Trash Free Lunch Challenge


Schools are invited to participate in the Trash Free Lunch Challenge and reduce their waste while saving money, too. The challenge, created in partnership with the nonprofit Grades of Green, helps divert waste from landfills by motivating schools to reduce lunch waste and save schools thousands of dollars in supplies and waste hauler fees.Participating schools ask students to bring lunches that eliminate trash by using reusable lunch containers, reusable water bottles and cloth napkins. All students, including those who buy lunch, sort waste into recycling and composting. 

Read More  

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California, Catch the Next Big Energy Wave
'Blue' Projects that Harness Ocean Energy are Taking Off Elsewhere. Why Not Here?

The first U.S. offshore wind turbine hooked into the U.S. power grid in June, but not in the "green" state of California. It happened on the opposite side of the continent, off the coast of Maine, using a floating wind-generator prototype well suited for the deep ocean water typically found off the coast of California.
Read More


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West Basin Municipal Water DWest Basinistrict 
Water Reliability 2020 is a Program to Reduce Dependence on Less Reliable Imported Water to Coastal LA from 66% All the Way Down to 33% By the Year 2020


West Basin will achieve its Water Reliability goals by more than doubling its effort to recycle water, double its conservation efforts, increase its programs to educate our youth about conservation and begin an ocean-water desalination program.

If you are a part of a business or organization that would like to learn more about Water Reliability 2020, give us a call (310) 371-7222 to schedule a presentation. 

Learn More and Support the Program Here


Save Water and Energy This Summer!


On the hottest summer afternoons, everyone can help prevent power outages by minimizing energy and water use. Turn off all unnecessary lights, postpone using major appliances until after 6 p.m., and turn your air conditioning thermostat up to 78 degrees or higher. Also, hold off on using water for things like showering, washing your dishes, washing your clothes during the hottest part of the day and avoid using water outdoors. Check with your local water agency for specific advice on when it is best to water in your area. 

Water/Energy Nexus Fact Sheets


Why Do We Need Lawns Again?
Reevaluating the Great American Lawn 

A growing number of Americans can look back and remember a yard of green grass as part of their childhood. The patriotic image of a single-family home and a white picket fence would seem momentarily out of place without the mowed lawn, but how often are they actually used? What is the underlying impetus besides their (seemingly) traditional picturesque quality? Given a closer look at what all of real costs of having a lawn actually are, it may be time to question whether or not they're as vital as American culture would suggest.

City of Torrance 
City of Torrance

Madrona Marsh Temporarily Closed


In review of the findings and data presented by Los Angeles County Vector Control, and as a precautionary measure, the City of Torrance closed the Madrona Marsh Preserve on August 5th. The Preserve will remain closed until additional data is provided by Vector Control. 
The Urgent Need to Forge a 'Low-Carbon, Water-Smart Electricity Future'
What Lies Ahead for America's Renewable Energy Sources? 

Water and energy - we're using a lot of the former in order to harness the latter, which poses an increasingly urgent dilemma for stakeholders across society. The energy we rely on to maintain our living standards typically comes from burning fossil fuels, which, in turn, not only draws down and degrades our water resources, land and air quality, but intensifies the negative effects of climate change.

Read More


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Volunteer Spotlight 
A Personal Account: Daisuke Saito 


I am 35 years old from Japan and came to Torrance to volunteer at SBESC while being accommodated at a local homestay. In Japan, I worked for a newspaper company for 10 years as a writer & editor. My area of specialization was information technology (IT), government policy and local government. I often interviewed IT companies' Executive and Government Officers to write articles about government policy, new service, technology and strategies used by such companies as Microsoft and IBM. Recently, IT companies have begun investing and developing technology for Smart Cities. Smart Cities are cities that provide facilities to people without harming the environment and use minimum natural conventional resources in order to achieve maximized economic growth and increased standard of living. Through my work I became very interested in Smart Cities and considered changing jobs to survey them. The environmental aspect of Smart Cities is an important element, and although I was knowledgeable about IT, I did not understand the environmental side as well. Therefore, I decided that I wanted to go back to school and get my Master's degree in the study of Environment and Smart Cities. I was planning to study at the University of Malaysia this September, however I felt I needed to gain some experience and learn more about the environment first. So I found SBESC through their website and applied for a volunteer position. 

Read More About Daisuke's Experience


Legislation Corner 

California Nonresidential Building Owners Must Disclose Energy Usage
On September 1, owners of non-residential buildings 50,000 square feet or greater will be required to disclose energy usage when they sell their properties. California Assembly Bill 1103 has now been codified into regulations, which will require disclosure of the building's most recent 12 months of energy usage prior to any sale, lease or financing of the entire building.
Read More

California Schools Reap Dollars from Prop 39

California schools are gearing up to make energy efficiency improvements with money allocated from Proposition 39, and the onslaught of projects may be a boon to companies involved in energy efficiency retrofits.


Proposition 39 was passed in November 2012 to close a corporate tax loophole that benefited out-of-state corporations. It will generate about $1 billion annually for California with half of the money going to the general fund and half toward measures designed to save energy at schools. The energy efficiency funds will be available for five years.

Read More
Cities in the News 
Los Angeles Completes the World's Largest LED Street Light Retrofit
According to an article by Justin Gerdes for Forbes, last month the city of Los Angeles completed the world's largest LED street light retrofit, changing over 141,089 street lights to energy efficient LEDs. Other cities have since followed Los Angeles' lead in the bulb swap, but the Californian city reigns as the largest, securing itself as a leader in energy efficiency. The city plans to retrofit additional streetlights in subsequent phases.


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August / September 2013 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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