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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: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, August 9th, 2011
Under: Alameda County, Energy, Environment, General, Hayward | 15 Comments »

San Leandro “more walkable” than Hayward, according to study

The walkability index is a guide that rates cities and neighborhoods based on proximity to nearby amenities such as grocery stores, restaurants, schools, parks, and public transit. 

Here is Hayward’s data and a pretty cool map in which green is good and red is bad in terms of legging it around town. Notice that while the overall number isn’t very impressive, some areas of town are indeed very walkable according to their methodology. In particular, North Hayward is up there at 77, which isn’t bad considering the 85 rank enjoyed by the country’s two most walkable cities of New York and San Francisco. San Lorenzo also got a 58 overall score, while San Leandro was somewhat higher at 65. Castro Valley faired poor for walkers, with a score of 45.

Fun feature: Enter an address and find a walk score particular for where you are. I’ll have you know that the Daily Review’s address is a “Walker’s Paradise” with a score of 98. The Castro Valley neighborhood where I grew up rated a dismal, “Car-Dependent” score of 28, but I could have told you that it wasn’t much fun getting around pre-car without the rating. 

 Here’s the press release from Walk Score.

According to the website, “The 372 largest cities in California have an average Walk Score of 50. The most walkable cities in California are West Hollywood, Albany and San Francisco.  The least walkable cities are Mead Valley, Prunedale and Adelanto.”

Posted on Tuesday, July 26th, 2011
Under: Alameda County, Business, Castro Valley, Environment, General, Hayward, Health, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Transportation | 12 Comments »

Gov’s pick for EPA head has Hayward roots

Matt Rodriquez was selected by Gov. Jerry Brown to run the California Environmental Protection Agency, and his mom called the Review to point out that he’s a son of Hayward.

You might know his mom, too, from her years of service on the City Council.

“I just wanted to drum the fact that Hayward is a really nice town,” said Doris Rodriquez, who was on the council from 1991 to 2004, and also served as an appointed member from 2006 to 2008. She still can often be heard speaking at city meetings.

“It’s been a while since Matt went to Hayward schools, but he did,” she said. Matt went to Southgate, Calaroga (now MLK) and Mt. Eden.

 ”Chabot College, too,” she said. ”It was what I could afford, and he spent two years there before going to UC Berkeley and Hastings. It says something about Chabot.”

She said her other two children also started out at Chabot. One is now the head of the Hayward Education Association, and the other is also an attorney.

“It can make for sort of dull dinner conversation sometimes, but other than that it’s a good deal,” Rodriquez said.

Posted on Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
Under: Castro Valley, Environment, General, Hayward, Politics, Schools | No Comments »

Water conservation comes with a cost

hetchpipeHere’s an interesting story. People have been encouraged to conserve water as much as possible, and have been succeeding. Which is good, but it cuts into funds earned by the water suppliers that charge by gallons used. And in the case of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission – which provides the Hetch Hetchy water that Hayward uses — that means they aren’t getting money needed to pay for seismic improvements to the 100-year-old system that pipes in water from the Sierra Nevada. As seen in the photo of the pipe near the Dumbarton Bridge, the system could use some work, and it’s being done. So the SFPUC is talking about a rate increase of nearly 50 percent, which, as the story mentions, does not mean everyone can expect such a jump on their water bills, but it’s still significant.

Spoke with Hayward Public Works Director Bob Bauman, he said they knew a hike was coming down the pike. It was expected to be significant — at least 20 percent — but not 47 percent.

Bauman said that because of agreements that are in place and the manner water is tranferred through the system, opting to switch to, say, EBMUD water is not an option. He added that even if it were, EBMUD couldn’t handle the extra demand and besides, Hetch Hetchy water is superior.

“We have a great deal,” he said. “One of the things that brings some businesses to Hayward is the fact that we have very good water. It’s always a big point for Hayward.”

There will be a presentation on the matter at a May 3 City Council work session, Bauman said.

Posted on Thursday, April 21st, 2011
Under: Environment, General, Hayward | 12 Comments »

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, April 5th, 2011
Under: Development, Energy, Environment, General, Hayward, Health, San Lorenzo, Schools | No Comments »

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.


Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, March 10th, 2011
Under: Energy, Environment, Hayward | 1 Comment »

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.

Posted on Monday, March 7th, 2011
Under: Energy, Environment, Hayward, Real Estate | No Comments »

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, February 28th, 2011
Under: Alameda County, Business, Calendar, Castro Valley, Energy, Environment, General, Hayward, Politics, Real Estate, San Leandro | 5 Comments »

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, February 11th, 2011
Under: Energy, Environment, Hayward, Real Estate | 3 Comments »

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, January 31st, 2011
Under: Alameda County, Castro Valley, Energy, Environment, Hayward, Odds & Ends, Politics | 1 Comment »