Archive for the ‘Energy & Fuel’ Category

Free Federal Tax Incentive Green Decoder

Friday, July 10th, 2009

de-coder-logoDid you know that if you install a Biomass Stove – wood, pellets, etc. that you can nab a  30% tax credit ($1,500  max) up until 2010? Who knows that homeowners can get a 30% tax break for installing Solar Hot Water Heating until  2016? Maybe the new American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) which was signed into law by President Obama in February 2009 isn’t as complicated as the IRS tax code but does anyone really want to delve into the 400 pages of legislation to figure all the ins and outs about how to qualify for the green tax credits available to homeowners?

In a Cliff’s Notes version of the myriad incentives, rebates, and tax incentives GREENandSAVE has created a Federal Tax Incentive Decoder and condensed the material to 11 bite sized pages. Best of all, this resource does not cost a dime and can be downloaded at:


Crude Documentary at 52nd San Francisco International Film Festival

Friday, May 1st, 2009

Photo by David Gilbert,

A documentary or any feature film, like a good dessert, needs good texture. Some docs offer light delicate flavors, while others serve up crisp tawdry offerings but Crude, the latest feature documentary from director Joe Berlinger (Brother’s Keeper, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster) brings a feel so viscous its some wonder that the film and the emotions within it don’t just ooze into the theater.

And why wouldn’t the film be viscous with center of the film swirling around a legal case about the black gold being pumped out of the jungles of Ecuador. Some have called the case the “Amazon Chernobyl” but whatever the name, Berlinger delves head first into this the David versus Goliath story that circles around one of the longest and most controversial legal (not to mention environmental and human rights) cases ever.


Cheers to Biodynamic Wine

Friday, January 25th, 2008

quivira3.jpgLast week as we overnighted in the LEED Gold Gaia Hotel in American Valley, we thought that we should take advantage of what everyone else in the region does – wine tasting. But we figured to be a little different. We hit a few wineries of varying organic, green, sustainable qualities and found a few surprises. First, get it out your head to tie “sustainability” to traditional wine making. As Winemaker Steven Canter at Quivira mentions, “There’s nothing sustainable about bottling wine in a glass bottle, corking the bottle, then shipping it all over the country.”

We scooted into the Madonna Winery tasting room during a quite Sunday afternoon. Located in the Carneros Region of Napa Valley, this family produced wine believes in organic farming, without the use of synthetic chemicals and is a proud member of CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers). But when we asked the two servers if they served organic wine it was as if we asked for a tasting of Miller Lite. One gave this look of confusion and the other got a little condescending. Apparently, they do not make organic wine. According to the servers, that whole organic wine issue deals with the adding of sulfites and they think that serious winemakers have to use sulfites. Everyone gets to do their own due diligence as far as organic this or that but don’t make us feel like idiots for bringing up the question. (more…)

Bay Area Solar Rebates

Friday, January 4th, 2008

sf solarNormally, we live for the present. We’re not about events, deals, and projects that will hopefully start sometime in the future. We’re not big fans of Chevrolet announcing that in three years they plan to unveil the electric powered car the Volt. That’s great; in three years one of us may plan to get married or buy Microsoft. Maybe we should announce that now. That being said, the neighboring Bay Area counties (San Francisco, Marin and Berkeley) recently concocted plans to offer rebates of up to $5,000 for installing solar panels if homeowners use a local contractor. Coupled with state and federal incentives, that could cut in half the $21,000 cost for an average household. Because San Francisco knows that it’s not just about solar, the City will also cover up to 90 percent of the costs of making apartment buildings more energy-efficient, and will pay residents $150 to replace old appliances.

Those crazy green radicals in neighboring Berkeley will finance the cost of solar panels for homeowners who agree to pay the money back through a 20-year property tax assessment. Nearby Marin County offers a $500 rebate to homeowners who install solar systems.

For those who think that these rebate ideas only reside on the West Coast should know that Baltimore offers at least $2,000 toward closing costs for people who buy new homes close to where they work. They call the program the “Live Near Your Work” program. Pretty crazy, huh?

As for San Francisco’s program, the loan part of the program would need to be approved by voters as a ballot initiative, while the refund part would need the support of the Board of Supervisors, San Francisco’s never shy for publicity city council. If this program succeeds then we’ll give them all the Green pub that they can handle.

Largest Green Fleet in the Country

Friday, December 28th, 2007

hybridbus_sanfrancisco_600.jpgSan Franciscans utter a lot about our lovely municipal transit system otherwise known as MUNI but now they have even more reason to spout off about it. Normally when we hear MUNI coming out of someone’s mouth it usually follows on the heels of “Damn.” Now we can change that utterance to “Green Muni”. Sure, the 71 bus might not come on time but when it does arrive at least it will be running on biodiesel. In fact, San Fran now claims to have the largest green fleet in the nation.Of course, the fleet includes not just MUNI but ambulances and street sweepers as well. The fleet runs on virgin soy oil bought from producers in the Midwest. Sure, we’d like the fuel purchased from somewhere local but hopefully that will come in time. (more…)