December 7, 2013 on 5:39 pm | In Curious, Green Building, Green Cities, Green Houses, LEED, U.S. Government, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

edited by Jodi Summers

U.S. Political Royalty Hillary Rodham Clinton was the keynote speaker at Greenbuild 2013. Held at Temple University in Philadelphia Clinton was interviewed by U.S. Green Building Council president and CEO Rick Fedrizzi,

She knows A practitioner of minimizing the carbon footprint, Secretary of State Clinton told the audience that being 15% of carbon emissions and 1/3 of energy worldwide, our buildings need to be more sustainable for security and our future. She summarized the USGBC’s  impact over the past 20 years as offered highlights of her personal efforts to  promote sustainability.

In 1993 as a new First Lady, she and Bill Clinton took on a  “greening of the White House” project which involved replacing windows and other building retrofits to save energy and water.

More recently, as Secretary of State she emphasized that that all future U.S. embassies will build to a minimum LEED Silver standard. “I decided we would call that Greening Diplomacy as part of an initiative we started at the State Department both to conserve resources, and to send a message to the world about America’s priorities and values,”

“We know this works. And over the past 20 years you have seen slow, steady progress. But …we’re at a new level. The work has proven itself, we know what to do. We just have to be better organized and focused…to do more.”

On several subjects, Clinton and the USGBC were of similar mind.

“By 2015, the non-residential market for green construction is estimated to grow between $120 and 145 billion,” she said. “The Council is committed to bringing green buildings to every community. I’d like that even speeded up—maybe half a generation.”

(Some pundits loosely interpreted these words as a campaign promise.)

The former First Lady and U.S. Secretary of State encouraged the audience of some 10,000 people to “take what you know works and explain it to anyone who will listen to you…The hope is … that you will be a force for change in the broader world, not just in the green buildings world.”

Some of the highlights of Hill’s speech, in video form:

Hillary Rodham Clinton served as the 67th U.S. Secretary of State from 2009 until 2013, after nearly four decades in public service. Her “smart power” approach to foreign policy repositioned American diplomacy and development for the 21st century. Clinton played a central role in restoring America’s standing in the world, reasserting the United States as a Pacific power, imposing crippling sanctions on Iran and North Korea, responding to the Arab Awakening and negotiating a ceasefire in the Middle East.

Clinton is officially undeclared for the next presidential election.















November 24, 2013 on 7:36 pm | In all, Curious, Green Houses, Net Zero, Solar, Solutions, Trends, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

by Gemma Hastings

As technology has improved it has touched nearly every aspect of our lives. Mobile phones, computers and the internet have changed the way we do everything from talking to friends to meeting deadlines. The home is the next frontier – just take a look at the big screen TV all your furniture is pointing at in the living room and you’ll quickly see the importance of technology in this setting.

Technology is at its best though when it genuinely improves our lives and addresses serious issues for the better. In the future a lot more of our technology is going to be designed to help us use less power and even to end our reliance on fossil fuels. And much of that is going to be found in the homes of tomorrow…

Algae Lamps

The truly exciting technology of the future though may not be technology in the way we think of it at all: it might be biological. Algae lamps are already being tested for use in street scenarios and work by using genetically modified algae that absorbs CO2 and generates light as a bi-product of this synthesis.

There are problems with using these lamps in public – vandalism being one issue that would have to be addressed (the lamps are like giant lava lamps and might prove to be too much of a temptation for some people). However for use around the home they could be much more viable. And that way you wouldn’t just be reducing your carbon footprint – you’d be actively removing CO2 from the atmosphere as well.

Better yet this kind of algae could also be used in paint and other applications. You may not need street lamps at all in the future – because every house on the street might give off its own luminescence.


Water clinging to your windows and walls looks bad, but it also ‘steels’ heat energy from your rooms for evaporation. Coatings of nano-materials can completely seal surfaces and prevent anything from gripping to them or being absorbed. In the future you’ll be able to throw a bucket of water at your window and it will remain completely dry.

Other uses for nanotechnology may be for power cells in your windows allowing them to generate electricity from outside heat. Eventually your entire home might be one giant solar panel…and we’ll be baking in California.


While automation may seem frivolous, it does have uses other than keeping us sat on the sofa. In your smart home, you can automate your lighting and heating to react in certain ways, allowing you can precisely calculate the amount of energy that you’re going to use in a year – part of the Green Button innovations offered by your utility company. Usage analysis allows the smart home to employ more efficient protocols so that we use precisely the amount of energy we need.


Expect the efficiency of our appliances to improve so that green home to the point where we can have the rooms just as toasty and just as bright but use considerably less energy to do so. As technology improves and engineers come up with smarter and smarter solutions, washing machines may no longer be quite the energy hit that they once were. Energy saving light bulbs, electric showers and double glazing are all examples of technologies that have been adopted in the last few decades and we can only expect more of the same going forward.

Solar Power

Environmentalists began pushing for California to mandate that new homes come with renewable energy systems in the early 2000s, as the technology became more scalable and available. Now there’s no other way.

In 2008, California energy regulators adopted a long-term plan that called for having all new residential buildings achieve zero net energy use by 2020 and having all commercial buildings achieve zero net energy use by 2030.

Expect more and more homes to start adopting alternative methods of generating electricity. The use of solar panels has spread recently thanks to improved product and government incentives. Expect this technology improves too it will become cheaper and more practical. Wind turbines and geothermal piping will also start making its way into more of our homes so that even when there’s a power cut we’ll still have plenty of options to carry on using our appliances.

Our future, efficient, self-sufficient and definitely very green.

Author Byline:

This guest post is authored by Gemma Hastings. She specializes in providing informative pieces on environment, ecology, going green, solar power and more. For more information you can visit her website http://www.solarpanelgrants.org.







September 20, 2013 on 7:11 pm | In Act Locally, all, Curious, Green Cities, Uncategorized, Water | 3 Comments

by Jodi Summers

They’ve controlled smoking, now on to controlling water use…soon the City may be monitoring every time you take a shower, flush the toilet, and water the lawn. In 2010, the last time that Santa Monica participated in the Urban Water Management Plan required by the state, SM city officials saddled themselves with a stringent goal committing the city to consume only 123 gallons per person, per day by 2020.

Come 2013, even in the face of major improvements to both public and private facilities, our town of 90,000 residents and upwards of 200,000 workers and visitors goes through 134 gallons per person per day. Getting down to the 123 figure is more than daunting — it may very well be impossible without making life uncomfortable for residents and businesses alike, said Gil Borboa, water resources manager for Santa Monica City Hall.








September 2, 2013 on 6:57 pm | In Act Locally, Curious, Green Cities, Net Zero, Solutions, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

edited by Jodi Summers

The City of Santa Monica is conducting a Zero Waste Survey and would like your input. The City has indicated that there are three different surveys and has provided the following instructions:
We have three different surveys; a Commercial survey, a Single family (house) survey and a Multifamily (apartment/ condo dwellers) survey.  For us to gather the most relevant information, we ask that participants take the appropriate survey as relates to their situation.  For example if someone lives in an apartment and is a business owner, we encourage them to take both the Multifamily and the Commercial surveys. Thank you very much for assisting us with this project.

Here are the links the City has provided, and participants may even be entered to win prizes such as a free kitchen compost pail, a pressure washing service or a bulky item collection service.  Please pass this email to other Santa Monica residents.  The City’s hope is to have surveys completed by September 30th.   A few minutes of your time now can help improve our City.

Single Family Zero Waste Survey

Multi Family Zero Waste Survey

Commercial Zero Waste Survey

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August 3, 2013 on 5:37 pm | In all, Curious, Green Building, Green Workplace, Solutions, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

by Jodi Summers

Don’t you just hate driving around downtown Santa Monica looking for parking? A new automated garage, the kind of the future, is now being tried in Santa Monica. It allows you to park a lot more cars in a lot less space because no driving is involved. The “West Coast’s first automated parking garage” is moving cars around the UCLA Santa Monica Outpatient Surgery Center. Drivers can leave their cars at six bays, where a movable platform takes the car to a crane. The 8,000-pound crane then lowers the car onto one of six levels. Employees swipe their driver’s license or a badge to retrieve their cars, while the public will use a credit or debit card (the garage will open to the public when all the kinks are worked out). Usually the cars can be retrieved in two minutes and people seem happy with the system. “It breaks down sometimes, but when it’s working it’s really great,” according to one nurse.

One of the best aspects of the robot garages, other than never losing your vehicle or dealing with break-ins, is they hold more cars than a typical garage and can be built smaller. West Hollywood and Chinatown both have automated parking garages in the works.






June 26, 2013 on 7:42 pm | In all, Curious, For Your Purchasing Pleasure, Green Workplace, LEED, Uncategorized | No Comments

by Jodi Summers

You can buy the National Office Portfolio = six significant office assets have attained a level of LEED certification and the portfolio is available free and clear of existing debt.

Spread across the country in such desirable cities as Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Washington, D.C., and West Palm Beach, FL. all totaled, nearly 2 million square feet of office space.

Here’s what’s included in the deal:

• Los Angeles – 500 North Brand Ave.  Located in the heart of Glendale’s Central Business District, this 22-story, 413,274-square-foot office building provides tenants with one of the area’s most exceptional office space alternatives. This premier high-rise is conveniently located adjacent to numerous retail, restaurants, and hotel amenities, including the Glendale Galleria, the to-be built Americana at Brand, and the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport (Bob Hope Airport).


• Washington, D.C – One Washingtonian Center, a Class A, LEED, 14-story, 315,929-square-foot office building in the Gaithersburg submarket of Washington, D.C. that recently renewed a lease with Sodexo Inc. to keep its headquarters in the building. Sodexo, is on Fortune’s list of The World’s Most Admired Companies, has the ambition is to become the premier expert in Quality of Daily Life service solutions.

• Palm Beach – Esperante Corporate Center, a 20-story, 256,151-square-foot, and LEED Gold landmark located at the gateway to Palm Beach – Esperante Corporate Center commands spectacular views of the Atlantic, the Intracoastal Waterway and Downtown. Having recently completed a $4.5 million renovation, achieving status, this Class A asset offers WiFi-enabled common areas, a 24/7 lobby attendant, valet parking and a six-story atrium ideal for corporate events. Tenants automatically become members of 5-Star Worldwide, an exclusive program of tenant services that adds value to every square foot.

• Houston – 2603 Augusta, a 16-story, 243,348-square-foot office building located in the West Loop/Galleria area, described as “Houston’s premier submarket.” 2603 Augusta offers Class A, boutique office space and all the amenities of the Galleria at your doorstep.

• Dallas – Preston Commons, 8111-8117 Preston Rd., Dallas 75225 – an office complex totaling 427,800 square feet that includes a pair of eight-story buildings located in the Preston Center submarket of Dallas. The building description boasts, “A revolution in tenant service, 5-Star Worldwide is an uncommonly smart choice for tenants who need a wide array of business and personal amenities to include conference facilities, technical support, a cafe and 5-Star Worldwide personal attention.”

• Dallas – Sterling Plaza, a 302,747-square-foot building asset at 5949 Sherry Lane in the Preston Center submarket of Dallas. Sterling Plaza has one prime objective: To become North Dallas’s premiere office destination offering VALUE, SERVICE, and a fabulous package of AMENITIES. Here, tenants enjoy a one-of-a-kind 5-Star Worldwide amenities program featuring executive conference facilities and concierge services. Come see why Sterling Plaza is “Where Business Shines.”

Interested? Contact us. We’re here to help you with your real estate needs. Please contact Jodi Summers and the SoCal Investment Real Estate Group @ Sotheby’s International Realty – jodi@jodisummers.com or 310.392.1211, and let us move forward together.










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