Category Archives: General Meeting & Committee Updates

Living Room Conversations for Sustainability

Engaging with friends and neighbors we may disagree with about complex sustainability topics like climate change was one of the highlight topics at the February 2019 Sustainable Rossmoor (SR) general meeting. Joan Blades described Living Room Conversations and facilitated small-group conversations.

The small-group conversations gave attendees insights to rebuild civil discourse across ideological, cultural and political party lines. The conversations help embrace shared values. Topics included climate change, recycling and composting, and reducing plastic waste.

These conversations increase understanding and reveal common ground. And sometimes even help us to discuss possible solutions.

SR Steering Committing will be looking into information and training related to constructive dialogue using Living Room Conversations.

Living Room Conversations is a national organization committed to encouraging conversations. Joan Blades is the co-founder of Living Room Conversations. She is the co-founder of several nonprofit organizations, such as MomsRising.org, MoveOn.org and allsides-forschools.org.

Blades is a co-author of “The Custom-Fit Work-place,” winner of a Nautilus book award in 2011. She authored “The Motherhood Manifesto.” “The Motherhood Manifesto” won the Ernesta Drinker Ballard Book Prize in 2007. She was a software entrepreneur and a co-founder of Berkeley Systems – best known for the flying toaster screen saver and the computer game “You Don’t Know Jack.” She is also an attorney.

Read the Rossmoor News article about the February meeting. See pages 5B and 16B. Rossmoor News January 30 article about Joan Blades (see page 5B and 16B,

Rossmoor’s Dumpster Diva

Kathleen Epperson, Rossmoor’s Dumpster Diva, was the featured presenter at the January 2019 Sustainable Rossmoor (SR) meeting. She gave a lively history and experience of her and her neighbors becoming expert recyclers.

Kathleen gave dozens of examples of what she’s found in dumpsters. She also gave tips for deciding what to put in the blue recycle, grey landfill and green composting containers.

Slide from Kathleen Epperson's presentation at January SR meeting.Slide from Kathleen Epperson's presentation at January SR meeting.

 

 

 

 

Have a “Trash Talk” party a your entry. Kathleen will help you plan it. Trash Talk parties provide discussion, questions and answers. Here are examples:

  • Question: Do you bag your clean, dry plastic bags inside a larger, see through plastic bag? Why Bag Bags?
  • Answer: Flimsy, loose bags fly off the truck… One reason plastic bags are on the side of the road! …or get stuck in the newspaper bundles Plastic contaminates the paper!

Tips from one of her slides: Found in RECYCLE but DOESN’T BELONG there!:

  • Salad dressing (bottle must be empty and without a cap )
  • Chicken bones in take-out container
  • Kleenex, cleaning wipes, paper towels
  • Fabric
  • Loose shredded paper (must be knotted in a bag)
  • Plants and dirt
  • Snack & candy wrappers

Slide from Kathleen Epperson's presentation at January SR meeting.Slide from Kathleen Epperson's presentation at January SR meeting.

 

 

 

 

Download her 38-slide PowerPoint presentation in pdf format by clicking on this link: Adventures of a Recycle Dumpster Diva.

The January 12, 2019 Rossmoor News had a first page article about Kathleen advocating for recycling. You can read “Dumpster Diva: Advocating for recyling is one woman’s mission.”

For more information see pages 18 through 22 of the 2019 Rossmoor phone book or go to RecycleSmart.org
For help planning a “Trash Talk” party for your entry contact Kathleen.

Sustainable Development Goal Ideas for Rossmoor

The United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), American concern about climate change and Sustainable Rossmoor (SR) planning for 2019 were the highlight topics at the December 2018 SR general meeting. Jim Ware motivated the attendees by describing the five of the 17 SDGs related to SR’s mission and led group discussions.

Five of the 17 UN SDGs related to SR goals are (click on links for descriptions, facts and figures, and 2030 targets):

 

 

 

 

 

Jim showed Yale Program on Climate Change Communication research results. Overall, 70% of Americans are worried about global warming. Additionally, it was noted we have about 12 years to change and save our environment.

After the presentation the attendees gathered in groups to discuss what SR accomplished and learned in 2019, and what SR should focus in 2019. Here are the results.

Accomplishments 2018:

  1. Handout related to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot was distributed to members and others.
  2. Earth Awareness Week was well attended
  3. Composting Pilot Program
  4. 30 EV charging stations on GRF properties
  5. Support for GRF Water Reclamation
  6. Earth Matters bi-monthly articles in Rossmoor News
  7. Monthly SR movies
  8. Formed residential solar committee/program
  9. Worked with GRF to get 2-stream trash containers
  10. Public advocacy with City of Walnut Creek and Recycle Smart to promote Reuse, Recycle, Rot
  11. Raised money for future Sustainable projects
  12. Organics recycling
  13. Right-sizing
  14. Sustainable Rossmoor initiated Assembly Bill 634 was passed which allows condo owners throughout California to install solar panels without concent from other owners
  15. MOD solar array
  16. Distribution of recycling bags and organic pails
  17. New posters ready to install in trash enclosures (Move In, Move Out, what goes where)
  18. Guest speakers were informative and provided new learning for attendees

Learned:

  1. Earth Awareness Week was over ambitious
  2. Continuous education is crucial
  3. Permit process through Walnut Creek is significant implication factor
  4. Work carefully with GRF management to get things done
  5. Difficult but possible to create change
  6. Working cooperative with GRF is beneficial for all
  7. We need to continue thinking creatively to encourage change
  8. Microplastics and sunscreen impact the oceans and our water

Brainstormed Focus Ideas for 2019:

  1. Continue outreach with Rossmoor and City of Walnut Creek
  2. Recycling compliance
  3. Continue awareness education and participation
  4. Survey Rossmoor residents to ascertain areas of expertise
  5. Continue to expand solar array and recycling programs
  6. Build culture
  7. Water conservation inside manors
  8. Collaborate with Garden Club on sustainable issues (no public water yet)
  9. More education regarding: Recycling, Water, Solar, Infrastructure updates = increased value of our property
  10. Develop legislation that precludes single-use plastic
  11. Sponsor events that demonstrate recycling

Residential Solar and Virtual Net Metering

Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Virtual Net Energy Metering (NEMV) were the highlight topics at the November 2018 Sustainable Rossmoor general meeting. Resident Norm King described his experience having NEMV installed in Mutual 48. Jeff Parr, owner of Solar Technologies, explained solar basics, how NEM and NEMV work, their installation and considerations.

NEM and NEMV is a bill crediting system for community solar. It refers to solar installed on a roof shared among residents. NEM is good for single family or town homes. NEMV is for condo or multi-unit complexes.

Mutual 48 Solar and NEMV Installation

Norm King shared Mutual 48’s experience making solar available to all of its residents, regardless of whether or not their individual manor has a south-facing or shaded roof. The process started in 2015 with all member meetings to learn advantages of solar, determine support, and adopt a “fairness principle.” In 2016 24 homeowners signed up, PG&E requirements were met, and building and fire permits were applied for. By the end of 2017 MOD, and building and fire inspections were completed. In 2018 there are significant electricity bill reductions and CO2 savings. Click here to download the 2-page Word file of Norm’s presentation notes which has an outline of activities for each year.

Norm King describes getting solar in Mutual 48 at Sustainable Rossmoor November meeting.
Virtual net energy metering and solar panel installation on multi-unit complexes

Benefits of Solar

Jeff Parr said residential solar panel systems reduce energy costs and have tax incentives. Plus, we’ll be doing our part to help the environment and combat climate change. It takes 5 to 7 years to recover our investment. Purchasing solar can increase the resale value of our homes by more than $5,000 per kilowatt added. Solar Technologies is the firm developing the one-megawatt solar array for Golden Rain Foundation.

For more information check the California Public Utilities Commission Virtual Net Metering web page (http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/General.aspx?id=5408).

September Meeting – Recycling: “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”

Sustainable Rossmoor’s guest at the September meeting on was Jim Nejedly. Jim is the President of the Board of the Central Contra Costa Sanitation District. He is the General Manager of the Mt. Diablo Resource Recovery (Recycling) Center. He described the recycling processes we often take for granted. He explained challenges we face now that China does not accept many recycle materials.

Jim described the Mt. Diablo Recycling Center. The center moves 400 tons of recycling materials daily. Paper represents almost 40% of what the Center recycles. A big problem for recycling is plastic bags. Plastic bags “gum up” machinery. Jim urged the audience to place bags in one plastic bag. He gave several ways we can help the recycling process.

  1. recycle plastics marked with 1, 2, and 3
  2. recycle glass, aluminum, tin, newspaper, and cardboard
  3. rinse and scrape jars and cans
  4. don’t put items like car seats and carpeting into the recycling bins
  5. reuse items.

Jim talked about Recycle Smart. Recycle Smart is developing a system for Rossmoorians to recycle usable items such as clothing. The Recycle Smart web site describes how it is delivering high quality, cost effective solid waste reduction, recycling, and refuse programs. These provide and promote sustainability in our communities. The site has tips and tools for homes, schools, and businesses.

Check the Center’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MtDiabloResourceRecovery.

How to use the EV charging stations in Rossmoor

How to use the EV charging stations in Rossmoor at a glance*

The three groups of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations are almost complete. Gateway has the first set of charging stations available for use. There are 10 parking spaces with charging connectors at each location: the Gateway parking lot across from the bus stop, the west side of the Fitness Center parking lot, and the Event Center parking lot. Each location includes two handicap-accessible-compliant stations.

The GRF Board has adopted some rules for use:

  1. Parking at all locations is NOT dedicated to electric vehicles.

Parking is first-come, first-served for all vehicle types from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

  1. Parking IS dedicated to EVs between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  2. There is a three-hour limit for charging between the hours of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  3. EVs plugged in over three hours between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. will be charged a penalty rate of twice the normal rate.
  4. Rates do apply for charging. The rates include the cost of electricity plus a 20 percent mark-up for GRF and any fees charged by the service provider Greenlots (currently a 5% surcharge).
  5. Rates will be available on the Greenlots website (www.greenlots.com/ev-drivers/ and APP.
  6. Residents with electric vehicles will need to call or go on the Greenlots website to register and get the APP or a RFID key fob. See accompanying article from Greenlots on frequently asked questions.

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Charging at the Gateway EV charging station using the Greenlots App (notes by a SR member)

  1. activate the Greenlots App on your mobile phone (this is not the RFID key fob procedure)
  2. scan the station bar code or enter the station number by hand:  the Gateway Station ID number is:  112476U  (Note the Station ID 112476U is same for all 10 Chargers/Connectors at this location; it will be different for another location such as the Events Center.)
  3. select the “Connector” (See screen-shot with purple circle around the “8 SAEJ1772” connector entry. Touch the screen for a drop-down box showing all the connectors available at this location and select the one you intend to use.)
  4. touch “START Charge“  (touch “STOP Charge” when finished)

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Here are frequently asked questions on charging electric vehicles at the new EV charging stations in Rossmoor.

Q: How does a driver start a charge session?

Start a session with the free Greenlots APP, a Greenlots RFID card or call 855-7584. Sign up at www.charge.greenlots.com.

Q: Can my electric vehicle use the stations in Rossmoor?

Yes. Most electric vehicles are equipped with the standard J1772 level 2 charging port. For DC Fast Charging Stations, CHAdeMo or CCS are also standard on most electric vehicles.

Q: Can a driver pay with a credit card?

Yes, you can pay with a credit card using the mobile APP, or by calling 855-900-7584.

Q: How much does it cost to use?

Session fees vary and are determined by the site owner, but the Greenlots APP lists the pricing for each station.

Q: What if the driver needs help?

The customer care team is available to assist drivers 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be reached by calling 855-900-7584.

Q: How can a driver find the Greenlots APP?

It is available for free on the App Store and Google Play.

Q: How can a driver order a Greenlots RFID card?

After signing up, log in to your driver account to request an RFID card or call 855-900-7584.

Q: Can the stations be used in the rain?

Yes. The station is safe to use in all weather conditions, but charging may be slower in cold or hot conditions.

Download How to use the EV charging stations in Rossmoor at a glance

* EV Charging Station Information courtesy of the Rossmoor News, July 25, 2018; p. 8A.