Alliance News

Lillian Kawasaki Remembered as Leader in Water and Environmental Fields

On July 18, the water and environmental industries lost one of its leaders. The California Sustainability Alliance (Alliance) joins the many others mourning the loss of Lillian Kawasaki, who passed away on that day.

Ms. Kawasaki was a founding member of the Alliance’s Advisory Committee and offered invaluable advice on the organization’s start and early development. We will miss her wisdom and support, and will strive to keep her commitment to the environment and sustainability alive in the Alliance’s work.

Craig McDonald, Managing Director for Navigant Consulting and Project Director of the Alliance summed up Ms. Kawasaki’s influence: “Lillian’s insight, leadership, and vast knowledge of the water energy landscape was essential in shaping the Alliance’s great work in these fields.”

Highlights of Ms. Kawasaki career include launching the City of Los Angeles’ Environmental Affairs Department, heading the city Community Development Department and serving as assistant general manager of environmental affairs and economic development for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Additionally, she was a member of numerous state and federal water policy committees during the course of her career, serving on the board of the Water Replenishment District (WRD) of Southern California and such professional organizations as the Association of Women in Water, Energy and Environment.

For more on Ms. Kawasaki’s remarkable life and commitment to public service and the environment, see her obituary in the Los Angeles Times.

New Green Tenant Guide Released

The Alliance has released the Green Tenant Guide to assist organizations through the process of greening their operations and staff behavior.The Guide incorporates content based on best practice research and is built on the belief that a sustainability program should be treated like any other venture an organization undertakes; it should make business sense, be measurable, and fit within the organization’s overall mission.  This guide recognizes that every organization’s situation is different and it will help organizations discover what makes the most sense for their situation and their audience in order to do the following:Set clear and feasible sustainability goalsEstablish buy-in and excitementDefine metricsCommunicate resultsThe Green Tenant Guide includes a step-by-step approach, specific strategies for greening a workplace, a sustainability program process checklist and a smart goal setting worksheet.To view or download the Green Tenant Guide click here. 

New Redesigned Website Launch

The California Sustainability Alliance is excited to announce the launch of our redesigned website! After 3 years, it was time to update our look and content. Our new website layout will enable us to offer more dynamic content on the homepage, including multimedia and the latest information from our blog and Twitter feed.

We hope that you will join our social media conversation by commenting on our blog posts, “retweeting” our content, and letting us know what topics you’d like to hear about! 

The goal of this website redesign is to make the Alliance’s website as user-friendly, timely, and informative as possible. The website’s navigation has been enhanced to draw attention to our most frequently used tools and information.

The new homepage also highlights the many advisors that contribute to the California Sustainability Alliance. Our experts in green building, sustainable communities, and water-energy provide valuable guidance and technical expertise, without which the Alliance would be unable to offer the tools and resources that it does.

Let us know what you think of the new look! 

New Water Energy Website Content

It’s no secret that California’s energy and water resources are inextricably linked. While electricity generation itself requires substantial amounts of water, the water infrastructure consumes 7.7% of the state’s electricity to transport, treat, distribute and recycle water.

California’s “water-energy nexus” is complex and subject to many external stresses.  During times of drought, surface water supplies dwindle, and we inevitably tap more energy intensive supplies such as groundwater and imported water which increases our electricity demand on the already constrained power grid.  To exacerbate the problem, droughts decrease the generation of hydroelectric power which normally provides 20% of the state’s electricity.   These problems will only get worse as climate change threatens to alter precipitation patterns in California.  As we search for the answers to these problems, a 2005 report by the California Energy Commission reminds us:

“[A] major portion of the solution is closer coordination between the energy and water sectors.  A meaningful solution cannot be reached in the current regulatory environment where water utilities value only the cost of acquisition, conveyance, treatment, and delivery; wastewater utilities value only the cost of collection, treatment, and disposal; electric utilities value only saved electricity; and natural gas utilities value only saved natural gas.”

To foster the goal of greater coordination and understanding, the Alliance has updated and re-launched the Water-Energy Program content of its website with new information regarding the critical relationship between water and energy in California.  The new content highlights the opportunities California has for reducing the energy intensity of the state’s water use cycle, identifies key measures for both water agencies and end users to reduce their water-related energy use, and discusses the regulatory challenges facing water providers striving to save energy as well as high priority policy strategies for overcoming them.

The Alliance’s Water-Energy Advisory Committee has come to the consensus that like energy efficiency, “water conservation is the most cost-effective and environmentally preferred action to save energy and water.”  A second major opportunity, detailed in a recent report by the Alliance, is the expansion of the use of recycled water to safely displace the use of potable water for non-potable uses such as toilet flushing, landscape irrigation, commercial car washing, and fire protection.

The bottom line is that saving water saves energy and saving energy saves water.  Meeting California’s aggressive goals to reduce both energy and water-use will therefore require utility mangers, regulators, and policymakers alike to align their efforts.

We hope this new content will provide the public with better information and support a greater understanding and collaboration between water and energy managers as they work to ensure California has a sustainable water and energy supply for years to come.

New Green Procurement Toolkit and Guide

The California Sustainability Alliance, a market transformation program managed by Navigant Consulting, Inc. (NYSE: NCI), has released the Local Government Green Procurement Toolkit and Guide to assist local governments in adopting environmentally friendly procurement plans.

“Research shows that green products frequently cost no more than other products but produce ongoing savings,” said Craig McDonald, Managing Director with Navigant Consulting’s Energy practice. “By weighing not only the purchase price of a product but also its lifecycle cost and sustainability, green procurement policies can help local governments save money, create local green jobs, and reduce their environmental footprint.”

The toolkit incorporates case studies of eight leading local governments in California and Washington. In addition, it outlines steps for greening procurement policies and includes a variety of resources such as:

  • Draft policy language
  • Sample green bid specifications
  • Best practices from local, state and federal governments across the country
  • Information on eco‐labeling and links to public and private eco‐labeling programs
  • Listings of environmental preferable products and vendors with rankings across 23 sustainability criteria
  • Sustainability case studies

While the toolkit and guide are tailored for local government applications, all organizations can benefit from the policies, processes, and practical resources featured. View or download the Local Government Green Procurement Toolkit or Guide now.

New Videos in the Library

The library includes more than a dozen videos offering insights from our advisors and community leaders on key sustainability issues. Two of the newest videos in our library are part of a series of interviews with Alliance Advisors and team members who were in attendance at this year's annual Sustainability Showcase Awards Luncheon.

Water-Energy Nexus
When it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, most people immediately think of saving energy in the electricity and transportation sectors. Often overlooked is the significant amount of energy used to deliver and treat water.

Increasing the use of local water sources, including recycled water, can significantly reduce both the energy use and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with water consumption. In fact, a recent study by the Alliance estimates that accelerated development of available recyclable water could meet up to 16% of California’s energy efficiency goals.

In an interview with the Alliance, Cynthia Truelove, Senior Water Policy Analyst for the California Public Utilities Commission, discusses six measures identified through her work with the Governor’s Climate Action Team that would achieve greenhouse gas reductions in addition to those covered under California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32). These voluntary measures include: water recycling, renewable energy generation in the water cycle, water use efficiency, water systems efficiency, public goods financing, and storm water management.

To learn more, read the Alliance's recycled water study, or take a look at our other videos!

First Cost Barriers
California’s aggressive energy and climate change goals may be all for naught if we can’t afford to meet them. Fortunately, most sustainability measures – including smart growth, energy efficiency, conservation, and green building – will save money in the long run. Overcoming the initial cost of these programs is key to achieving the long-term monetary (and environmental) savings they will provide.

In an interview with the Alliance, Frank Spasaro, Manager of Energy Efficiency Partnerships for Sempra Energy Utilities, discusses state and national financing programs designed to help local governments and private organizations overcome the first cost barriers to sustainability initiatives.

Visit our video page to watch this interview and others from the Alliance!

New Alliance Library Launched

Filed under: alliance news — Changing business as usual can be hard, but finding information on how to do it shouldn’t be.  That’s why we recently updated our library with over two-dozen California Sustainability Alliance publications and videos on best practices and programs in California.  The library also contains a number of helpful external resources to help you ensure your community is a sustainable one.

Our publications page features guides on green property management, results from our survey of local government sustainability practices, a study on the importance of recycled water to energy and water savings, and more.  These resources provide practical information to help local governments and private organizations tackle pressing issues related to energy, water, and climate change.

In addition, our video gallery contains clips featuring insights from Alliance Advisory Committee members on topics such as green building, the water energy nexus, and overcoming the first cost barriers to implementing sustainability programs. Also featured are guest speakers and award recipients from the 2008 and 2009 Sustainability Showcase Awards giving their perspectives on critical sustainability issues.

Finally, browse and search through hundreds of resources on sustainability through our external resources page.

We hope this library will help local governments, private organizations, and other key stakeholders access the information they need to advance sustainability goals within their communities. Let us know which resources you find most helpful!