Conversations about energy conservation

Mayor Sweeney and volunteers get ready to get the word out about energy conservation.

Mayor Sweeney and volunteers get ready to get the word out about energy conservation.

Volunteers, city officials and the Keep Hayward Clean and Green Task Force hit the streets last week to do some door-to-door tutoring on ways residents can save money and help the environment by using some energy-saving tips. It was organized by Engage 360, a  group with a goal of spreading the word about energy conservation in various communities throughout the state, including Hayward, a city that prides itself on promoting sustainable practices. Here’s a flier for a contest the city is holding that could win homeowners free energy efficiency improvements.

Here’s the press release on the event, as well as some tips, from Engage 360: Continue Reading


Chabot College faculty group supports power plant appeal

chabotlogoHad a story over the weekend about Chabot-Las Positas Community College District being the sole party still fighting the approved 600-megawatt Calpine powerplant at the Hayward shoreline, about a mile and a half away from the campus.

I just received a letter of support from the Chabot-Las Positas Faculty Association, which was sent to the district’s trustees. Find the full text after the jump, and here’s the district’s web page dedicated to the subject. Continue Reading


Mega what? It’s a big solar farm, at the shoreline

Design engineer Stephen Grider talks about the new solar units at the Hayward Water Pollution Control Facility on Wednesday, March 9, 2011 in Hayward, Calif. The eight-acre solar site will produce energy for the water treament plant.

Design engineer Stephen Grider talks about the new solar units at the Hayward Water Pollution Control Facility on Wednesday, March 9, 2011 in Hayward, Calif. The eight-acre solar site will produce energy for the water treament plant.

Had a story on the 1MW solar installation at the shoreline. Unfortunately, the photos didn’t make it in the paper because of a lack of space, so here’s one of them. It’s a pretty impressive-looking deal, and if you want to learn more about it, find the REC Solar press release after the jump.


Continue Reading


Hayward committee says no to RECO

While Sustainability Committee members all like the idea of people greening up their homes, making them more energy efficient through added insulation, air leak studies and the like, they didn’t want to impose a Residential Energy Conservation Ordinance on homeowners at this time.

The matter will go before the City Council in May with a recommendation to make it a voluntary thing, coupling it to an education campaign to let people know what options and incentives are out there to help them retrofit their homes.

Note that the decision was not without a warning, from Commissioner Mendall and Mayor Sweeney, that residents should take advantage of those incentives and take it upon themselves to improve their homes before they are told they have to do it.

Sweeney said he “missed where if ducts are leaking, how if people are paying double their energy bill, how that’s good for a homeowner. I missed the explanation of how a green home hurts property values, and I heard a little bit of that philosophy out there in the room tonight.”

Meeting is available on video, which is unusual for Sustainability Committee meetings.


Calendar for week of Feb. 28

 Here’s this week’s calendar. Just about to head to San Leandro to see what they say about options for a medical marijuana ordinance. Tomorrow, the Hayward City Council is poised to take steps to save redevelopment assets from a possible state take. And Wednesday’s Sustainability Committee meeting could be a big one, as they will be looking at the draft Residential Energy Conservation Ordinance. They moved that meeting into the main Council Chambers instead of the work session room, in case people turn out. Continue Reading


Hayward’s latest green proposal would affect homeowners

"RECO lawww!"

"RECO lawww!"

Hayward’s mulling a Residential Energy Conservation Ordinance, or RECO, and we had a story on it in today’s paper.

City officials really want to hear from the public on this. At the last Sustainability Committee meeting, some citizens expressed that they didn’t think the city was doing a good enough job of letting people know about it. There was talk of possibly including a notice in every water bill, but that would be fairly cost prohibitive.

 San Francisco and Berkeley passed such ordinances back in the 1980s.

Alice LaPierre, city of Berkeley building science specialist, said many residents “are on board with the idea of efficiency” and that the intent of the ordinance is to “protect residents from rising energy costs.”

“They will see a payoff immediately, and they’ll notice they have a more comfortable home,” she said.

Hayward residents at the last meeting and Realtors alike said they’re all for energy saving measures that will help the environment. But the real estate people I spoke with said it should be done in a more voluntary manner, instead of putting prohibitive requirements on homeowners or parties involved in a real estate transaction. Continue Reading


Events for week of Jan. 31

Items of interest: If you have any acquaintances in the restaurant industry, the city is holding a “Survive to Thrive in the Restaurant Industry” event on Feb. 7. Talk about ways to evolve, such as using social media to promote your eatery.

Also, on Wednesday the Hayward Sustainability Committee is going to be talking about the Residential Energy Conversation Ordinance, something that has brought out the real estate community to speak against it at past meetings. Continue Reading


Calpine says Russell City Energy Center is a go


UPDATE: Here is the story.

The EPA rejected all appeals regarding the federal air permit issued in February by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Calpine representatives say that was the final hurdle for the 600-megawatt facility near the Hayward shoreline; spoke briefly with opponents, who said there may be other ways to block it.

Working on a story for tomorrow, but find the Calpine release after the jump. Curious quote from Kim Huggett, the new president and CEO of Hayward’s Chamber of Commerce about how the power plant will “be a magnet for bringing new business to Hayward.” Continue Reading


Conversations about conservation concerns

Any thoughts on Hayward’s Residential Energy Conservation Ordinance? Here’s our preview story on the special Sustainability Committee meeting tonight, and here’s the city’s report on the matter. At previous public meetings, members of the real estate community turned out to speak against it on the grounds that it can only damage a market that’s already hurting, particularly if the requirements are triggered upon sale of a property.

Staff is recommending three such triggers: Older homes have a deadline in 2023 or 2025 for upgrades, improvements costing more than $50,000 would require compliance for the property, and buyers would have two years after purchase to comply. Costs of various retrofits ranges from around $1,000 to $4,000, according to the report.


Blackout blues in Hayward

Police said about 2,000 residents had their power knocked out until wee morning hours on Thursday, starting around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday when a car crashed into a power pole on the 26100 block of Eldridge Street.

Despite a dramatic, power-pole shearing crash, only one person was injured, and it was minor. Rob Ritchie lives nearby and sent us this photo. “I was sitting at my computer working on a project, when a huge thundering sound occurred, followed by an explosive sound, as well,” wrote Ritchie. “Instantly, all power went out. I went outside and looked down the street to see quite a horrific sight!”

Police said they had to put out stop signs and assign officers to direct traffic in the area. “It was a mess,” said Lt. Christine Orrey.

Ritchie said he has been trying to get speed bumps installed on his street for nine years. “Cars constantly speed on this street, sometimes at very high speeds for the conditions,” he wrote. “Perhaps the city of Hayward will reconsider, before other tragedies occur.”

Another Hayward resident called and said he had just taken his mother to a dialysis treament at a Jackson Street clinic when the lights went out. Karl Kanoho said patients had to be transported to hospitals because the facility has no backup power. His mother hadn’t started treatment yet and had to come back the next day.

“None of the (dialysis centers) have backup generators,” Kanoho said, adding that he felt lucky because his mother wasn’t in critical need of the treatment. “But it could have been a disaster.”

Anyone else with a blackout story?