Buy a smart, Plant a Tree

To celebrate its one-year anniversary in the U.S., the folks behind the smart car (no capitalization required apparently) are going to plant a tree for each car sold in 2008 and 2009.

That's a nice forest -- in 2008, smart says they sold 24,622 fortwos.

Under the aegis of American Forests, the trees will grow in the Cache River State Natural Area, in southern Illinois.

Presently the only place to buy a smart in the Valley is at the Universal City dealership, although the company's website says a Thousand Oaks location is "coming soon."

Santa Clarita Greening Group Formed

This article was posted on the website of The Signal of Santa Clarita Valley on March 28.

Homeowners associations, or HOAs, act as the rule-setters for neighborhoods across the Santa Clarita Valley. If SCV Off The Grid has its way, HOAs will also become the trendsetters in the environmental movement by using their considerable clout and finances to help homeowners go green.

The SCV Off The Grid effort, which began in January, promotes awareness and implementation of large-scale retrofits for solar, wind and watershed technologies in the Santa Clarita Valley to support future marketability of property in the area. The group holds meetings every month, open to residents, to encourage ideas and create potential grass-roots coalitions. Click here to read the entire article

New Motion for L.A. Solar

The Energy and Environment Committee of the L.A. City Council passed a motion on March 25 to direct the DWP to come up with an alternative to the failed Measure B initiative. The motion states:

It is believed that the Measure failed passage because its lack of an inclusive public process in the development of the proposal. A variety of stakeholders ... expressed concern about the development of the Measure and their inability to fully engage in its inception. They also expressed concerns about its potential cost and impact on the ratepayers.
Interesting that the final sentence there isn't the first sentence. And also interesting that one of the main reasons that many voted against the proposal is the face that this is not a program that needs the voter's approval.
I THEREFORE MOVE that the Department of Water and Power, in conjunction with the City Administrative Officer and the Chief Legislative Analyst, report to the Energy and Enviromnent Committee in 30 days on an inclusive community outreach plan for the development of a solar proposal that meets the needs of interested stakeholders, and calls for the use of the most reliable technology that minimizes program cost and impact to the ratepayers.
Bets on how many dollars will be paid to an outside consulting firm to come up with the community outreach plan?

Burbank Announces $15,000 in Garden Grants

Burbank Water and Power will be offering two grants for the development of water-efficient demonstration gardens this year.

The program is anticipated to continue over the near four years.
"The grants available for the Demonstration Gardens are up to $15,000 per grant," said Joe Flores of the BWP. "There will be two grants awarded per year for the next four years totaling up to $120,000 in grant funds."

"A demonstration garden really inspires people by showing how beautiful their landscape could be while using a fraction of the water they are using now," said Timothy Wheeler, a landscape consultant. "The sponsor organization benefits by having a beautiful rich garden that increases their visibility and can help highlight their services.”

Click here to apply for the Community Demonstration Garden Grant application or contact the BWP Conservation Department at (818) 238-3730.