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Monday, March 19, 2012

Central Valley News Highlights

Here are some news clips from last week

Workshop to discuss opportunities in clean energy

Madera County Scores Big Energy Savings with Energy Lighting Project

Valley gets $200K grant for electric car planning

Exeter adds efficiency to city buidlings and schools

Grant project lights up Kingsburg

California offers subsidies for natural gas and propane-powered vehicles 

Free university science course offered to high school students 

Parlier brings energy efficiency to the streets

Madera County school district gets state-backed loan for solar power 


Friday, March 16, 2012

New Corporation Structure for New Generation of Entrepreneurs - "B" Corporation

Good evening Friends and Colleagues,

I am by no means an expert in this topic. I have been completely fascinated by it and have been following it since the moment I heard about it. If I were to start a company today, one of my short term goals for that company would be to become a certified B Corporation.

I first heard about the Benefit "B" Corporation last year at a fundraiser for the International Green Industry Hall of Fame: .

Donald Simon, who was the featured speaker at the fundraiser, told us about some of the problems corporations where having with the sustainability movement. In short, the public over the past few years has been looking to corporations to "do the right thing" and to put people and the community before profits.  Businesses have been getting hammered through social networks for the destruction of communities and the environment.

The root of the problem is that a C or S Corporation's main objective is simply to create a profit, while a company's products and services could be benefiting society.

So, what happens when groups of people buy up stock and gain majority ownership of a corporation in order to control or steer a business in a new direction? Chaos?

This is where the B Corporation comes into focus.

The B Corporation builds on the idea of the Triple Bottom Line. The Triple Bottom Line is a theory that Profits, People and Society can work together, and all can win. These three ideas are not in competition with one another; they must work together for society to function properly.

In order to become a certified Benefit Corporation, you must follow a set of guidelines. B Lab is the third party that certifies companies as Benefit Corporations. Here is a link to the B Corporation website:

The information there is fascinating. You will see that there are over 500 B Corporations in the United States generating almost 3 Billion in revenue. So far in 2012, seven states have adopted the B Corporation structure. Those states include: California, New York, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, Vermont and Virginia. A few more states are pending.

Here is a great article that was published in the New York Times:

Even better article by Forbes:

I hope this information is useful.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Central Valley News Highlights

Here are some news stories from last week.

I was also sent an interesting article from a reader. If you have articles you want me to post or discuss, please send it my way. Again, I appreciate all feedback.

San Joaquin Restoration:$70 million goes down river

Gasoline prices level off this week

Electric-vehicle workshop set for Fresno
One from a reader:

PG&E bills stay flat despite big drop in natural gas prices

Thursday, March 8, 2012

PG&E - 3rd Party Programs

Good evening Friends and Colleagues,

Many clients ask me, "How do I save money through energy efficiency? Where is a good place to start?"
My first response is usually, " Do you know who your PG&E rep is? Have you talked to your utility?"

Many of my clients over the years have been in the PG&E territory. Therefore, I have a better understanding of the PG&E programs and how they operate. I apologize for those readers who are outside of PG&E. However, the information I am going to provide today should be applicable to all of the utilities throughout California.

"How do I contact my local rep?"

If you are a business owner in the PG&E territory, call the PG&E business line:

They will ask you your account information, and then begin to ask to you about your goals for energy efficiency. You want to ask PG&E to provide a energy survey for your office. It may take anywhere from one to three weeks for them to assign/send a PG&E rep to your office. It just depends on how busy they are. This survey is not a comprehensive energy audit.

When PG&E first arrives at your office, they will typically take a look at your bill to see what Rate you should be on. The amount of energy and the business sector you are in will help the rep determine if you are on the right Rate. A simple rate change and start saving you money right away.

Another thing the PG&E rep will do when they survey your office/building is to determine what type of 3rd Party Program would be most beneficial. PG&E 3rd Party programs can vary from no to low cost lighting replacements to whole building retrocommissioning. This is a link to all of the 3rd Party PG&E Programs:
You will see that there are programs for residential customers.

Many people do not realize that these programs are already paid for, by all of us. What I mean is that a portion of our utility bill (that we pay monthly) for both commercial and residential users are used to fund these 3rd Party Programs. All the different utilities in California have some sort of 3rd Party Program available to customers. Rebates are also funded through our monthly bills. This is a link to the Rebates available for businesses:

You want to take advantage of all these programs.  I recommend researching all of the rebates and programs mentioned in the link above. You can also contact the 3rd Party Programs directly, and they will also service you. Before you purchase any equipment or remodel your building, contact your PG&E rep. Find out if there is a rebate or program available for you.

If you have any questions, please email me. I am more than willing to help you.

I hope this information is useful.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Central Valley News Highlights

Here are some interesting news highlights from last week:

House Approves California Water Bill

Exhibitors Announced for Second Annual Fresno Food Expo

Mayor Swearengin: PG&E Rate Reduction Proposal Would Provide Economic Boost

Finally, some good economic news for Central Valley 

A Bold Plan to Reshape the Central Valley Flood Plan

Will renewables continue their global push in 2012?

High-speed rail closer to bids on initial Central Valley project

Gasoline Prices Rises for 24th Day

Friday, March 2, 2012

Green Business Program - Green Lodging Program - REACON

Good afternoon Friends and Colleagues!

As you can guess, my topic today is the Green Business Program, Green Lodging Program, and REACON.

I am very familiar with the Green Business Program. Many years ago I worked with a non-profit called Thimmakka located in Oakland, CA. Thimmakka,, certifies minority owned businesses as Green through the Bay Area Green Business Program. Since then, many green/sustainable business certifications have emerged or copied the Green Business Program.

So, what is the Green Business Program? Where are these Programs located? How do I become certified?

The Green Business Program is a set of guidelines/ procedures that any business owner can implement in order to become Green/Sustainable and receive a certification for their accomplishment.

Generally, the Green Business Program requires any business to:
- track water and energy usage, solid and hazardous waste generation
- adopt a written environmentally preferable or green purchasing policy
- establish a green team that can help guide efforts to green your business
- provide on-going incentives or training opportunities to encourage management and employee participation
- inform customers about efforts to meet Green Business Standards
- assist at least one other business in learning about the Green Business Program and encourage them to enroll

If you click on the above link, you will see that there are four areas in which the Green Business Program ask you to focus your efforts. They are in: Water Conservation, Solid Waste Reduction & Recycling, Energy Conservation, and Pollution Prevention.

The Green Business Program is located in the following Counties:
Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Ventura

In order to become certified, you would need to contact your local Green Business Program coordinator. The coordinators are typically non-profits or within a branch of a local government office. They will help guide you in reaching all of the goals/tasks you must reach to become certified. Guidance includes taking advantage of rebates, free utility programs, sourcing of vendors and products, and contractor recommendation.

As mentioned earlier, the Green Business Program inspired a few other agencies to create similar programs. Those being the Green Lodging Program ( and REACON  (

REACON is the closest program to the Central Valley and primarily focuses on businesses located in the Stockton and San Joaquin county. If you compare the guidelines of  REACON and the Green Business Program, you'll see there are subtle differences between the two.
The Green Lodging Program is focused on greening hotels and has specific guidelines for that industry.You will notice that many of the standards of the program are similar to the Green Business Program and REACON, but has a few more guidelines required for hotels.

In my opinion, all of the guidelines and programs are very attainable.These requirements don't ask you to install solar or replace air conditioning equipment, which are big ticket investments. That is not the point of these guidelines. Instead, they focus on things that anyone can do both in your home and in your business.  To me, they are affordable and common sense measures that will create long-term payback. Printing on both sides of a piece of paper is just one of the no cost measures that will help you achieve certification.

There are many more programs/certifications in California. They can range from new construction guidelines to restaurant guidelines. I will be talking about some of these down the road. However, the Green Business Program, Green Lodging Program, and REACON have been talked about in the Central Valley and the Economic Development Corporation's Clean Energy Cluster.

I hope this information is helpful.