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Mayor Kelly Fergusson
Menlo Park, CA
 


April 7-9, 2008

 

A View from the Summit
Policymakers and Technology Innovators Convene in Sacramento

States throughout the country are following California's lead in implementing  controls on environmental contamination and innovative incentives for green building, energy efficiency and recycling.

From March 12-14, California also experienced another significant first: the first Green California Summit and Exposition. Guided by an advisory board composed of senior state officials, the Summit was designed to forward state and local programs to build clean and sustainable communities.

The event began on Monday, with a series of pre-conference training sessions and an executive summit designed to look ahead toward the critical issues of the coming year. By Tuesday, the floor of the Convention Center had been transformed into an captivating showcase for products and services that can help to transform California communities, and a crowd gathered in anticipation of the ribbon cutting.

In recent months, Governor Schwarzenegger has attracted international attention for his environmental policy efforts. His goal is to make California government, at all levels, a model of ingenuity and innovation that will inspire and encourage the private sector and all of California's 30 million citizens to pursue sustainability.

State agencies, cities and communities throughout California have taken up the gauntlet, forming a web of innovative environmental partnerships that include utilities, universities, non-profit organizations, corporations and consultants. Many cities, from Los Angeles to Palo Alto are vying to be the "greenest" communities in the state, the country - even the world.



"I budgeted two hours to walk through the exhibit hall, but for a guy like me, it was a trip to Disneyland I was there for more than five hours and still wanted more time."

Andrew Hurst, Presenter, Sustainable Operations Coordinator

California Environmental Protection Agency
 


The greening of California government has meant that each one of its hundreds of thousands of employees and the contractors and suppliers who work with the state must become aware of the challenges and participate in meeting those challenges. That could mean anything, from setting up an office recycling program or implementing two-sided printing systems, to designing an entire community that is energy efficient, healthy and self-sustaining. 

Achieving these goals means training people to run the programs and manage the building projects; and  learning what's available in green purchasing, green maintenance, green fleets, green design. 

The Green California Summit and Exposition brought together almost 3,500 people from all levels of California government and those in the private sector who work with government. There were representatives of 38 government agencies, jurisdictions and the state legislature. They spent two days learning and sharing information about "going green," visiting with 270 exhibitors, participating in a selection of over 45 training sessions and seminars.

Attendees were inspired by keynote speakers; they networked with colleagues and hundreds of representatives of green organizations, consultants and manufacturers.  Organized by
Green Technology (and Green Technology Magazine), the event was shaped by an advisory board co-chaired by Rosario Marin, Secretary of the and head of the Governor's Green Team, and Linda Adams, Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency.



"Attendees were riveted to their seats and were excited and energized. As a presenter I was extremely enlightened by the class attendees as they offered up their  different experiences. I found this experience valuable and I want to help next year."

Craig Duehring, Presenter

California Air Resources Board
 


Highlights of the event included two keynote presentations. Ed Begley, Jr., legendary actor-environmentalist and host of the popular HGTV series "Living with Ed," set the tone for the Summit by entertaining and enthralling a packed auditorium. Known to take buses to major Hollywood events and to live in a totally self-sustaining home, he shared personal stories and collected wisdom about his sometimes outlandish adventures in sustainability.

The afternoon keynote was Ray Anderson,  founder of Interface Corporation, one of the world's largest manufacturers of carpeting, and author of A MIDCOURSE CORRECTION.  He spoke about a profound transformation which led him to become the "greenest chief executive in America," his company well on its way to becoming not only sustainable, but "restorative" - a net contributor to the environment.  Interface was one of the first eight carpet manufacturers to certify one of their carpet lines to meet California's Department of General Services California California Gold Sustainable Carpet Standard, which mandates the use of environmentally friendly carpet in all state buildings."

The Convention Center itself was "greened" for the event. Guidelines were developed to reduce the event's ecological footprint in a partnership with the
City of Sacramento, the convention center, Sacramento Regional Transit and Classique Catering. The convention center partnered with SMUD (the Sacramento Municipal Utility District to supply "green power" from renewable sources during the event.

Recycling bins were located throughout the convention center, packing supplies were reused wherever possible, serving containers were recyclable, two-sided printing was implemented for session materials. All summit shuttles ran on natural gas, offset options for emissions were offered to those who traveled to the event by
Drive Neutral
.



"There was a very high level of interest among all in attendance, which included the City of West Sacramento Architect, City of Orange Architect, Mayor of the City of Beverly Hills and others. Eighty percent of those in attendance asked for my contact information after the class ended. I have never had such a high percentage of interest as this."

- Chuck Shinneman, Presenter

Director of Sustainability & Technology, Capital Engineering
 



Training sessions included one and two-day classes and dozens of seminars.
All presenters were experts in their fields from government agencies and the private sector. Intensely researched through focus groups and by soliciting feedback from representatives at all levels of government, training classes and seminars covered the four tracks of sustainability: energy efficiency, green Building, environmentally preferable purchasing and local government initiatives.

Among the most popular were classes dealing with solar powered buildings, indoor air quality, green purchasing and contracting, and a course called "Greening Your Building Toward the Bottom Line."

Pavilions and Information Centers

With an emphasis on building, buying and working green, information centers and pavilions and table-top discussions on the exhibit floor provided attendees with orientation on essential topics. A Green California information center offered live internet access to web-based resources including the new
Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Best Practices Manual, as well as experts in each subject area and product samples.

The California EPA/Air Resources Board hosted a Transportation Information Center that provided information on motor vehicle programs such as the California Hydrogen Highway Network and the Alternative Fuel Incentive Program. Office Depot, which holds the state contract for office supplies, hosted the Green Office Pavilion. Other major providers such as Weyerhaeuser, Hewlett Packard and Energizer batteries, also featured their wares at the Pavilion.


"The Expo was great and it is very encouraging to see so many vendors offering green products. What a change since 1999 when we started these green building efforts and we had to fight with the manufacturers! It has been a rocky road but certainly rewarding!"

Leon Alevantis, Training and Expo Attendee
Senior Mechanical Engineer, Facilities Management Section,
California Department of Health Services


More than a dozen alternative fuel automobiles and trucks were on display in the Green Auto Mall, including cars from Phoenix Motor Cars, General Motors, Toyota and others. The SMUD Energy Pavilion highlighted many of the latest technologies in energy efficiency, including the latest developments in lighting, chemical-free water treatment, next generation cooling technologies, renewable incentives and more.

A unique space dedicated to educating government decision makers on the environmental issues associated with computers and IT systems was sponsored by Hewlett Packard. Fifteen manufacturers and consultants participated in the Pavilion, which was staffed by experts who spent time discussing the quickly-emerging field of "green information technology." 


"The timing was perfect as the City of West Sacramento is committed to greening efforts.  Everyone needs to attend this event; it's not just about one area of the department; this involves all staff in whatever duties they have."

- Paulina Rosenthal, Attendee
Administrative Analyst, Recycling Section
Finance Department, City of West Sacramento


At the end of the intense three day program, it was evident to all that a valuable new forum for interchange between the public and private sector had been created, with the potential to bring together ever increasing numbers of program managers, technicians, experts, and government workers who share the goal of preserving and restoring the Golden State's unique environmental resources.

One of the most frequent comments by attendees was that the Summit made it overwhelming clear that a new day had come for California, with a heightened level of commitment to environmental protection and the laws and incentives needed to make this commitment bear fruit.

"I can think of no better outcome for our advisors," said Green Technology President Bob Graves. "They have worked long and hard to build a road to a greener future for California, and it's hard to overstate how important it is just to make this fact real to all who work in government. This is the first step in accelerating progress toward the Governor's goals."

The 2008 Green California Summit will be held at the Sacramento from April 6-9. For more information, click here.

At the request of Summit advisors, Green Technology is also organizing a Green California Schools Summit, which will take place from December 4-6, 2007 at the Pasadena Convention Center. For more on this event, click here.




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