Greener Pastures

July 21, 2009

Portola Valley is hosting a fantastic monthly speaker series. The “Green Speaker Series: Local Heroes on Local Issues” is a program of six talks by local speakers covering energy efficiency, water use, and other green topics focused on helping homeowners make more sustainable choices. The series is held every fourth Tuesday through September, from 7 to 9 at night. You can check it out here (and notice also how much more user-friendly the Portola Valley website seems compared to our own Town’s website).

The July 28th entry will be on renewable energy, or as the website puts it, “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Solar Energy But Were Afraid to Ask” with Craig Rush, a volunteer with Grid Alternatives. The program includes a discussion of the different types of solar and explanations of government incentives for installing renewable energy on your home.

On August 25th the event may well be the most important in these dry times since it covers water conservation. Bobby Markowitz will speak on rainwater harvesting and “closed-loop landscape design”, while Chip Krug will talk about landscape irrigation efficiency.

On September 22nd, the series finishes with a talk on food and climate change with Laura Stec, an accomplished chef, and Eugene Cordero, a professor of meteorology at San Jose State.

Unfortunatley we missed a program about energy efficiency, which detailed home energy audits done in Portola Valley and talked about how to increase homes’ energy efficiency, with “special consideration given to Portola Valley climate and architectural styles.” The series also included the “greening” of a particular home in Portola Valley. There was a program on Green Building / and building material salvage and one on Green Interior Design including green product decision-making, indoor air quality, and finding greener alternatives for materials in your home.

Our own Town should be taking steps to encourage green and eco-friendly development and renovation. We can speak only for ourselves but it is obvious from the description of the Portola Valley sessions that we have a lot to learn. Our Town COWncil should take a leadership role in helping us all live greener lives. They might even consider coordinating with our neighboring towns to jointly present this type of important program.

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