Spotlight Articles

EPAToday-imageSSV and GRID Alternatives Install Their First Free Solar Panels

The Net Positive Bay Area project launched in East Palo Alto by Sustainable Silicon Valley (SSV) has recorded its first success story. The latest edition (Spring-Summer 2015) of East Palo Alto Today published from East Palo Alto has brought into limelight Lea Martinez, who is one of the first adopters of the Net Positive project. As part of the project, SSV will conduct a free energy and water audit in her house; then, GRID Alternatives, an Oakland-based nonprofit solar contractor and SSV partner, will install solar panels on her roof, also, for free.The Net Positive... Read More.

By Natalia Timakova, East Palo Alto Today, September 28th 2015

Elsaesser MarkusA Bright Future for Solar – Interview with Intersolar CEO

The solar energy market is heating up, and the future is looking equally bright for solar’s signature industry event: Intersolar. Intersolar is more than an industry conference. With over 20 years in the business of promoting the solar market, Intersolar is now in four continents. After attending Intersolar events, government leaders have introduced ambitious megawatt targets and policies that have created markets—you’d be forgiven for believing there’s a certain magic around Intersolar for creating self-fulfilling market prophesies. Intersolar North America’s 8th annual conference in San Francisco…Read More.

By Gilee Corral, September 15th 2015

ParkedEV1Vehicle to Grid (V2G): How Your EV Could Earn You Thousands of Dollars

Green, quiet and now a workhorse for the power grid – the electric car just keeps getting better. Range anxiety and charging hassles apart, owning an electric vehicle (EV) may finally pay off in the near future. Energy experts from Tesla, EVGrid, Google and the SLAC National Laboratory discussed how this could happen at the Silicon Valley Energy Summit (SVES) held at Stanford University. Energy experts from Tesla, EVGrid, Google and the SLAC National Laboratory discussed how this could happen at the Silicon Valley Energy Summit (SVES) held at Stanford University. Read More.

By Devika Garg, July 10th 2015

Lake OrovilleCalifornians Resort to Mandatory Water Restrictions During Their Worst Drought in History

California is experiencing its worst drought in history. The state is now in its fourth year of an extreme drought that is showing no end in sight. 2014 was the hottest year on record and together with record low snowfall, it is now more important to save water than ever before.

The snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains accounts for 30% of California's water supply. At this year’s annual measuring, the snowpack was only at 5% of what it should be at this time of year. This is the lowest it has been since record keeping began in 1950 Read More.

By Louise Bilham, June 3rd 2015

second-street-studiosFirst Community Housing reaches for Net Positive

“Net positive” isn’t just buzz - it’s the goal of the Living Building Challenge, an ambitious program of the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) that’s daring developers to push the envelope of green building. To say the Living Building Challenge standards are strict is understated, as to date only six buildings have earned the coveted title “Living Buildings”. Yet clearly the Challenge is inspiring developers; according to a November 2014 report by the ILFI, 230+ projects worldwide are signed on to the certification process.

Silicon Valley nonprofit First Community Housing is using a pilot project to test the Living Building Challenge in the area of affordable housing.  Read More.

By Gilee Corral, April 14th 2015

FP-sustainability-baseThe NASA Sustainability Base

The NASA Sustainability Base is one of the most sustainable federal buildings ever constructed. The building has extremely intelligent technology that learns from itself and significantly reduces energy consumption as well as keeping water consumption down to the bare minimum. It also has an abundance of natural daylight, fresh air and is decorated with materials that are beneficial to its employees and visitors health.  Read More.

By Louise Bilham, March 17th 2015

Flooded parking lotThe Drought is Not Over!

Northern California has just experienced its worst storm in five years, making this the wettest December on record. It was powered by the 'Pineapple Express', which streamed moisture from Hawaii to the West Coast resulting in heavy rain, snow and strong winds. Read More.

By Louise Bilham, December 18th 2014

SierraSunTowers-smallLancaster Leads the Way for Net Positive Cities

The city of Lancaster located in LA County is becoming one of the world’s first Net Positive cities determined to produce more energy than it consumes from sustainable sources. They have been dedicated to promoting solar power alternatives as well as other forms of sustainable living and as a result, received the international Energy Globe Award in 2013. Read More.

By Louise Bilham, November 13th 2014

Money TreeCalifornia invests in ‘green bonds

California, your bonds just got greener.

In the wake of the 2014 U.N. Climate Summit, California’s state treasury made two bold moves on the green investment front:

  • The treasury purchased a $250 million green bond from the World Bank, greening its own portfolio.
  • For the first time, California issued $300 million in green municipal bonds to eager investors. Proceeds from the green bond sale will support public transportation infrastructure and water projects, according Bloomberg’s coverage of the sale. Read More.

By Gilee Corral, October 29th 2014

Dried up lakeDrought Emergency – Reduce Your Water Consumption

As California approaches the fourth year of its worst drought in decades, Californians must prioritize reducing water consumption.

Governor Gerry Brown announced the state of emergency in January this year, urging Californian citizens to voluntarily reduce their water consumption by up to 20%. After a state survey showed that water consumption had actually risen, regulators rolled out mandatory water restrictions. Read More.

By Louise Bilhem, October 9th, 2014

FP-Chinas-pushChina’s Push for Environmental Reform

China’s Prime Minister, Xi Jinping, has recently introduced a series of economic and environmental reforms, emphasizing sustainable economic growth and environmental protection. Although China’s bureaucratic engine may partially hinder its implementation, the result of these new reforms has the potential to impact the country’s environmental footprint, as well as the global economy.  Read More.

By Jenna Yonenaga, September 22nd, 2014

FP-Green_Bank“Green Bank” Could Help Californians Prepare for Climate Change

A bill to establish a “green bank” for California is currently under review by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Introduced by State Senator Kevin de León, the SB-1121 California Climate Technology and Infrastructure Financing Act would place California in an elite group of green lending trailblazers. Connecticut launched the first green bank in 2011, New York joined the ranks in December 2013, and Hawaii may be following soon.  Read More.

By Gilee Corral, September 2nd, 2014

Levi 1Levi's Stadium Gets The Gold

The Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara is the new home to the San Francisco 49ers, replacing San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. With 68,500 seats, this $1.2 billion dollar venue is set to be one of the world’s best outdoor sports and entertainment venues, hosting a wide variety of events for the Bay Area. 

By Louise Bilham, September 4th, 2014

Clean Urban TransportationThe Road To Cleaner Urban Transportation

Automobiles propelled our civilization into the modern age by allowing unprecedented levels of convenience and efficiency. Unfortunately, a ballooning global population and sprawling suburban areas have brought negative aspects of car ownership such as traffic, smog, and (most worryingly) the looming specter of climate change. 

By Alex Casbara, Aug 10th, 2014

Honda Smart Homes

Honda Smart Home : A Net Zero Home

Honda Smart Home, a joint Initiative between UC Davis and Honda, is a net Zero energy home that was constructed in March 2014. Now Honda Smart Home US, distributed solar energy and plug-in electric vehicles can join forces to provide zero carbon living. 

By Jyothsna Giridhar, Aug 4rth, 2014

Wildfire SantaClarita

Wildfire Warning : Are You Ready ?

California and Arizona are in the midst of the 2014 fire season. Even though summer just began, San Diego County alone has faced nearly a dozen wildfires that blackened more than 26,000 acres of land and caused over $20 million in damage. Luckily no one was killed , but a fire fighter was injured and thousands of people were forced to evacuate their homes. 

By Louise Bilham July 25th , 2014

Why Biking3

Biking to Work - It's Cool Green and Trending

According to a new report released by the U.S. Census Bureau, biking to work is increasing in popularity faster than any other mode of commuting. This statistic coincides with a surge of national media coverage on climate change. Business leaders and sustainability advocates can use this to promote green transportation initiatives and alternative commuting habits.

By Gilee Corral July 10th, 2014

Transportation and Climate

Transportation and Climate Change

As the changing climate poses a growing threat to Bay Area communities, transportation infrastructure is increasingly threatened by rising sea levels and severe weather events. There are two main policy approaches : mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation addresses root causes – like reducing GHG emissions - while adaptation seeks to lower the risks.

By Di Zhu June 6th, 2014

Carpool 2 part 2

Carpooling Lanes: How Hot is a HOT Lane? (Part 2)

A High Occupancy Toll Lane (HOT) is a road pricing scheme that gives motorists in single-occupancy vehicles access to the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes (HOV). Tolls change throughout the day according to real-time traffic conditions, and are intended to manage the number of cars in each lane and keep our highways less congested.

By Lucrecia Rivera, June, 2014


The Climate Data Initiative – Putting the US ahead of climate change

Last year President Barack Obama unveiled the Climate Action Plan, which aims to cut carbon pollution, prepare the United States for the impact of climate change and lead international efforts to combat climate change across the globe.Following on from this, the Obama Administration has launched the Climate Data Initiative.

By Louise Bilham May 28, 2014

Car Pooling

Carpooling Lanes: More People in Less Space (Part 1)

A High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) or Carpool lane is a highway lane restricted to vehicles with a minimum occupancy, usually two passengers. The concept is “move more people with less traffic”, and yes, they must be people! Children count as people, but neither pets, unborn infants, or inflatable dolls count as an occupant.

By Lucrecia Rivera, May, 2014


Pitching Your Idea To a Venture Capital Group

Microsoft hosted Sustainable Silicon Valley’s “Refine Your Pitch” Workshop on April 30th in Sunnyvale, CA. In this three hour seminar, contributors to SSV’s annual WEST Summit, Competition learned how to sharpen their sales pitch and appeal to venture capital investors and customers. The main workshop leader was Andrew Clark, current SSV board member and Director of Strategy for IBM Venture Capital Group.


By Lucrecia Rivera, May, 2014

Google self driving car

Autonomous Auto

Have you heard about Silicon Valley’s robo-cars? Five years ago, Google released a fleet of sensor-mounted, self-driving vehicles on California roads, and the tech giant recently celebrated 700,000 successful miles with a video explaining how their autonomous car safely navigates the streets.

By Alex Casbara, May, 2014

New bikerack pic

Bikes on Mass Transit

You have made every effort to make your business bike friendly; you offer your employees all kinds of incentives; yet, in spite of all the hard work, long bike commutes are keeping many of your employees from getting on board.Well, this should never be the case.In fact, with some simple pre-planning, anyone seriously committed to sustainable living can commute on a bicycle comfortably and efficiently.

By Suman Mudamula, April, 2014

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