More on the Summit!
Green California Summit 2009
Green California Leadership Awards
by Racquel Palmese
As testament to the bright spot on the horizon that the emerging green
economy represents - and California's commitment to environmental
preservation despite tough economic times - over 6,000 people turned out
for the third Green California Summit & Exposition.
Attendance at the event,
held at the Sacramento Convention Center from March 16-18, more than
doubled that of the inaugural Summit. The Expo, the largest yet with
almost 300 companies, reflected the confidence that business and
government have that green solutions can solve both economic and
The Summit was created under the guidance of an
advisory board of top government
officials and private sector leaders, co-chaired by Linda Adams, secretary
of CalEPA, and Will Bush, director of the California Department of General
Services. An annual event, it works to assist California government, and
those who provide products and services to government, to navigate
emerging environmental programs and policies and to bring the best
technologies to the service of policy.
"It is a pleasure to extend
my greetings to everyone gathered for this fantastic event," wrote
Governor Schwarzenegger in a welcome message. "Protecting our environment
is one of my administration's top priorities, and I know that the steps
being taken at this conference will help us succeed in our efforts."
Under the theme "Green Solutions for Tough Economic Times," the Summit
offered a host of events and programs addressing major issues and
challenges facing California, from implementation of the state's landmark
Global Warming Solutions Act and green building codes to accessing
billions of federal stimulus dollars targeting green job creation,
infrastructure projects, renewable energy research and development and
"The Summit was an excellent
example of how far California has advanced in the development of green and
sustainable products and services," said Dave Walls, executive director of
California Building Standards Commission. "From
eco-friendly artificial grass systems to electric cars, it had excellent
opportunities for everyone to view the latest green technologies and
attend valuable workshops and training seminars.
"This Summit gave us the opportunity to provide valuable information to
the public via a booth and a workshop," he added. "The workshop presented
California's new green building codes, the first in the nation, designed
to lighten carbon footprints and lower energy and water consumption in the
state's built environment."
The Executive Forum, which took place on Monday March 16, is a yearly
invitation-only luncheon that brings senior state officials together with
private sector leaders.
The 2009 forum, "Growing a
Green Economy," took stock of estimates that California's climate change
initiative could increase gross state product by $76 billion, boost
household incomes by $48 billion and create 403,000 jobs. Speakers
including Janet Lamkin, president of the Bank of America California,
Victoria Bradshaw, Cabinet Secretary to the Governor, and CalEPA Secretary
Linda Adams offered views on the strategies that can keep the state in its
leadership position and support a federal call for change.
"Green is not just a color
anymore, it's a frame of mind and a mode of operations," said Secretary
Adams. "Today, more than ever, green is about proactive change and a giant
leap forward for the United States as it enters a whole new era of
An economic development panel, moderated by sustainability expert Deeptika
Patel, included Barry Sedlik, chairman of the California Green Collar Jobs
Council and Adam Procell, vice president and national director of energy
efficiency and carbon management for AECOM Energy. (Sedlik left the event
early to join the Governor to announce the launch of the
California Green Corps.)
Sedlik cautioned about the potential for stimulus funds to be spent in
ways that bring only short-term relief. "How do we take this opportunity,
this unique set of circumstances right now to the greatest benefit?,
Sedlik asked. "We don't want to create jobs that won't go anywhere."
David Roland Holst, UC Berkeley Professor and co-author of the often cited
Next 10 studies on the green economy, moderated the second
panel on Energy and the Economy. He was joined by Jim Parks, Energy
Efficiency and Customer R & D with the Sacramento Municipal Utility
District (SMUD) and Nancy Hartsoch, vice president of marketing for
SolFocus. Holst evoked the potential of a smart grid that focused not
merely on delivering energy, but on enhancing lives, while Parks gave
examples of SMUD's efforts to increase customer control of energy use - as
well as the source of the energy itself.
The morning sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday offered attendees important
insights into the present interchange between climate, energy and economy.
The good news that emerged amid disturbing evidence of near-term effects
from global warming is that California's policy leadership, rich solar,
wind and geothermal resources, and its history of technological
innovation, make the Golden State the natural place to start a national
Tuesday's keynote, Dan Kammen, founding director of UC Berkeley's
Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory and a member of
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that shared a Nobel Peace
Prize with Al Gore, had just returned from a scientific meeting in
Copenhagen in preparation for negotiations at the
UN Climate Change Conference.
While being forthright about the looming consequences of
climate change for California, he pointed to the dramatic increase in
renewable capacity following the passage of the Global Warming Solutions
Act as evidence that it may not be too late to prevent the worst effects.
Also on Tuesday, CalEPA Secretary Linda Adams helped place California's
climate policy in the context of global efforts, and gave an outline of
the state's efforts to help developing countries such as China and India
to develop a tangible roadmap to emission reduction. As a result of this
work, California has emerged as a global leader in climate policy, and is
expected to play a significant role in the evolution of a new climate
On Wednesday, Michael
Eckhart, president of the American Council on Renewable Energy, offered a
riveting look at the unprecedented opportunities for growth in renewable
capacity. As others before him had done, he made it clear that California
has unequalled ability to quickly capture the economic and environmental
benefits that will come from reinventing our energy infrastructure.
In a rousing speech on the same morning, Phil Angelides, National Chairman
Apollo Alliance, former California
State Treasurer and 2006 nominee for governor, evoked the promise of a
building a green economy that offers good jobs with real growth potential.
"We're making the kind of commitment John F. Kennedy made when he launched
the first Apollo Mission," he said. "In the middle of the Cold War and
with serious economic troubles, America went for an impossible dream, just
as we're doing now."
Making Policy a Reality
"There is no question that
California is setting the pace for the 'green recovery' that leaders in
the public and private sector envision," the Summit co-chairs wrote. "If
there's any place this is within grasp, it's the Golden State!
"The Summit exists to help
you obtain the information, training, technology and relationships that
you need to play your part in this green revolution," they added. "No
matter what your professional role may be, at a time when issues such as
climate change and the reinvention of energy infrastructure are at hand,
this is part of your job."
Education is an essential
element of each Green California Summit, and in 2009, a remarkable group
of policy experts, administrators, thinkers and technology experts joined
together to demonstrate how policy can become reality.
The education program began with a series of daylong
on Monday. In these workshops, some of the country's most expert
practitioners laid out the nuts and bolts of green purchasing, green
fleets, LEED project management and other subjects.
Tuesday began a two-day
program built on dozens of
concurrent sessions focused on the
themes "Green Building," "Transportation," "Green Basics," "Energy" and
"Climate Change." Expert panels brought life and understanding to topics
ranging from the still-evolving (green leases) to well established but
under-utilized energy efficiency strategies. In one of the most popular,
Next10 founder Noel Perry led a panel that engaged a crowded room in the
next steps of AB 32 implementation.
"The Summit was great!,"
said Yvette Rincon, sustainability coordinator for the City of Sacramento,
"I was able to attend the seminars on the first day and I got a lot of
great information that is relevant to what we are doing in the City."
A number of panelists have given permission for their
presentations to be posted online -
for a listing.
On the Exhibit Hall Floor: "Amazing Energy"
From cutting-edge vehicles (including a fuel cell powered motorcycle) in the
Green Auto Mall to the "Green Innovation Connect" pavilion organized by
Nikkei America and JETRO to introduce Californians to the best green
products from Japan, the Exposition was an event in itself, providing an exciting array
of opportunities for exhibitors and attendees. Nearly 300 companies were
"It was so exciting to be the company of such positive, forward thinking,
people who are motivated to change the world, with our GREEN PRODUCTS,"
said Normand Marchand, CEO of Clear Wall Corporation. "The
overall experience was amazing energy. We have made a lot of
California law mandates
green purchasing, and in addition to the many hands-on learning
opportunities for attendees Green Technology worked with the Department of
General Services (DGS), which oversees all purchasing for the state, to
create new ways for purchasers and companies to share information about
the state's purchasing needs and the products that can meet them.
Navigating the process of selling to government can be difficult and
confusing, and exhibitors had a chance to listen to DGS EPP Program
Manager, Bob Tetz, give a one-hour briefing on how to work with the
DGS hosted an entertaining and informative Product Demo Showcase,
where a panel of procurement specialists judged five-minute
presentations by companies before a live (and lively) audience. The
showcase quickly became one
of the most popular events of the exhibition.
Another addition to the exhibit hall for 2009 was the Buyer-Vendor
Lounge, also hosted by DGS. Over two days, exhibitors arrived at the
lounge for scheduled meetings
with one or two government procurement officers to develop relationships
that could help inform procurement of green products and services.
"The buyer/vendor lounge was a great opportunity for me to meet with
vendors that wanted to do business specifically with my department," said
Kevin J. Aria of the Department of Consumer Affairs. "I was
surprised at the number of amazing 'green' products that are out there;
many that I had never even heard of before. Next year, I plan on bringing
more staff with me so that our department can better take advantage of the
opportunities that are available to buyers."
"The buyer/vendor lounge was a fantastic opportunity to connect with those
individuals that are generally difficult to connect with," said Alex Smith
of Suntrek Industries. "This lounge allowed me access to state officials
that were pleased to talk to me, and I have followed up with them and am
excited about meeting with them in the future."
Summit sponsors drew crowds for sessions on their products and services at
a Sponsor Showcase Theater. Presentations ranged from "Greening Fleets in
a Challenging Economy," from Sabertec, to "LED
Technologies - a Utility Perspective," from the Sacramento Municipal Utility
As he did last year,
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger visited to the Expo, spending more than an
hour talking to exhibitors and learning about their products. His first
stop was the Green Auto Mall, where he arrived with an entourage of
photographers, videographers and others in tow. The Governor's
determination to create a new green economy in California, and
his fascination with green products were fuel for many lively interchanges.
"The most telling sign of the robustness and the impact of the
exhibition," said Keith Miller, Publisher of Green Technology, "is that
at the end of the last
day of the event, the floor was still active. In fact, new people were
registering and entering for the first time."
Green Leadership Awards
The Green California Leadership Awards, developed at the request of the
Advisory Board to honor outstanding public sector accomplishments in
environmental sustainability, are coveted among government agencies and
departments. This 2009 awards covered eight categories that span a wide swath of
the sustainability landscape - Climate Change, Energy
Innovation, Transportation, Green Building, Waste Management, Purchasing
and Green Culture.
The winners ranged from CalFire's program for recycling damanged fire
hoses (a problem exacerbated by disastrous wildfire seasons) to
the innovative water recycling initiative by the Orange County Water
and Sanitation Districts.
Project creators and
managers were met with much applause from agency chiefs, board
supervisors, legislators and staff as they received their awards from the
Summit co-chairs, CalEPA Secretary, Linda Adams, DGS Director, Will Bush
and representatives from the companies sponsoring the awards.
For a slide show featuring
the 2009 Green California Leadership Award winners,
Numerous presentations at the Summit alluded to the potential impact of
federal funds on the state's green programs. To help state and local
officials better prepare to access these funds, Panama Bartholomy of the
California Energy Commission organized a special session, "The Revolution Will be Funded,"
to highlight which government agencies will be disbursing billions of
dollars in stimulus funds, and what the priorities for these funds will
Partners in Learning
The Green California Summit also serves as a place where organizations
involved in sustainability can meet during the conference. The Partners in
Learning program provided meeting space at the Convention Center for
groups including the California Commissioning Collaborative, the California
Building Standards Commission, the California Association of Public
Purchasing Officers, the State of California Commute Coordinators Meeting
and the California Agency Recycling Coordinators Committee.
The 2009 Summit provided ample evidence that California, the nation, and the world, are in a state of
accelerated transition and that the Golden State is unquestionably a
leader in navigating the convergence of environmental and economy - at the global
as well as the local level. And, as the Advisory Board hoped, there was
also evidence that attendees came away empowered with information, inspiration and resources to
help move the green revolution forward.
Among them was Dan Chadwick, Public Works Manager for the
City of Fontana. "I absolutely enjoyed the conference this year," he said.
"Our City Council is moving forward with going green and the conference
provided us with the information and the tools for us to respond to
Council direction and to new regulations being adopted for sustainability.
Looking forward to next year's event. Go Green!"