GreenTown Los Altos

GreenTown kicks off Energy Program for 2013


Jan 2013


GreenTown kicked off its Jan. 9th community meeting with an eye on saving energy.  More than 30 people gathered at the Neutra House to hear about GreenTown’s 2013 Energy Program.

Mike McTighe

Mike McTighe, Chair of the Leadership team, kicks off the meeting.

Surprising data on energy conservation: The Power’s in the Plug. Literally. 

Whether you plug in or not, is apparently the key to savings, so noted energy expert Steve Schmidt from High Energy Audits.  Schmidt described his historic success with home energy assessments, noting average homeowners can save hundreds of dollars with little or no expense.  How?  Though helpful, it’s not just about more insulation, weatherstripping or turning down the thermostat.  The power, so to speak, is squarely on plug loads –  anything plugged in and the electricity they use.  Often they draw electricity even when they are seemingly “off.”  And that’s not all.  Schmidt suggested looking at recurring demands such as air conditioners, pool pumps and space heaters, noticing if bills are unusually high year to year – perhaps signaling a need for maintenance or repair.  Schmidt’s program can analyze smart meter bills for the past year to show you areas of waste, without a single home visit necessary.  With Schmidt”s help, average savings for Los Altos Hills residents was $740 per year!  GreenTown likes this program so much that we have an offer to pay for an online energy assessment for the first 50 Los Altos residents who sign up  The Town of Los Altos Hills is also offering this program to Los Altos Hills residents.  Visit the Town’s web page on sustainability Plug in knowledge so you can start saving now…..why wait?

Charting our future: Climate Action Plans so Our Kids Breathe Easier.

Don Bray, Chair of the Los Altos Environmental Commission, presented the city’s work on a Climate Action Plan (CAP) with the goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to at least 15% below 2005 baseline levels by 2020.  Bray explained existing efforts will bring us about half way to the 15% target (set by California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006,  AB32) including:

  • improved mileage efficiencies mandated by the federal government, and state regulations, such as the renewable portfolio standard (RPS), which requires utilities to supply 33% of their electric power with renewable energy by 2020
  • improvements to Title 24, the state’s building energy code, and city efforts already underway, such as the green building code
  • new waste handling contract with Mission Trails.
Next steps will be presented at February 11th’s Environmental Commission Meeting.  This very much work in progress will greatly benefit from your valuable input.  If feasible, we can even stretch our goal to 25%.  Don also presented results from a recent community survey showing top users of gas, electricity and water use far more than the more frugal folksThe transportation survey revealed much car travel is for short trips in town – in fact about 2,500 miles per year, the equivalent of driving to Atlanta every year.  Some of those trips could be by bicycling or walking.  With 50% of green house gases generated by transportation, reduction is key and a focus of both GreenTown and the Climate Plan teams.
Rapt audience

Rapt audience

Promote Electric Vehicles (EVs) and the EV infrastructure.

Gary Hedden, Lead for Los Altos’ Energy Program, explained GreenTown’s interest in hosting an event showcasing electric vehicles (EVs) this year.  Options include working with a group like Charge Across Town – they held a very successful rally in San Francisco last year – or hosting an event on our own, in conjunction with other local organizations.  The details need to be worked out, but with a large contingent of avid EV users and supporters in the audience, we are optimistic it will be a huge success.

For more info, contact

Your Chance To Help the History Museum with exhibition “A Place to Call Home.”

This exhibition, scheduled to open April 17, will look at the evolution of home styles and uses from the late 1700s to today and beyond.  Gary Hedden and Margie Suozzo are working on the home of the future section and if you’re interested in learning more or helping out – contact Gary at

Creating a successful energy program requires YOUR energy, so please join us. Email to find out how you can get involved.

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