SFCC Presents Sustainability Series | Evolving Energy Policy for a Sustainable Santa Fe

I attended this panel discussion on September 12th, part of a series.

Santa Fe Community College, Sustainability Seminar Series 2016, Evolving Energy Policy, Sustainablie Santa Fe

Santa Fe Community College Sustainability Seminar Series 2016 Evolving Energy Policy for a Sustainablie Santa Fe

It was put together by Christian Casillas together with the Santa Fe Community College. This first one on September 12th was on the Evolving Energy Policy for a Sustainable Santa Fe

SFCC Presents Sustainability Series on Mondays in September

Christian Casillas, Renewable, Appropriate Energy Laboratory

Christian Casillas-Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory

The moderator, Beth Beloff has been involved in the development of sustainability strategies at corporate and municipal levels. She’s the founder and principal of Beth Beloff a business towards Inciting Sustainability.

Beth Beloff & Associates. Incite Sustainability

Beth Beloff & Associates Incite Sustainability

The panelists were

Alexandra Ladd
Asian studies degree
housing planner in Santa Fe
acting interim director of economic development

Craig O’Hare
green building
special assistant for clean energy for the governor of New Mexico
water conservation, long range planning and watershed management

Erick J. Aune (ahn né)
transportation planning
planning director for Aztec, New Mexico

Daniel House Werwath
affordable housing,
co-founder mix santa fe
interfaith housing
creation of affordable housing projects

Adam Cohen
lead faculty of green house technologies and operations at SFCC
mathematics, marine
taught public High School
green farms; high quality foods with minimal
dvlopment os sustainable agriculture programs at SFCC

The site will have each of the panelists’ presentations digitally.

I took notes of each of the panelists’ presentations, which I’m sharing here.

Alexandra Ladd does census tracking according to the demographics of age, income, the local hispanic population, etc. She points out that the current trends are to displace the younger and darker skinned populations to the south of the city with the point that we want to preserve the city as a mixture of diverse groups living together. The trend has been for youth and the hispanic population being shut out from center of town.

Ladd mentioned that on any given night in Santa Fe, 100 young people don’t have a safe place to sleep or eat. As is the trend around the world, this leads to prostitution.

Ironically, an article from the Guardian came out this same day, on September 12th, “US teens often forced to trade sex work for food study finds.”

Alexandria Ladd also mentions that 1 out of 5 kids are in poverty and that in the center of town, 1 in 4 are over 65 in age. In fact, 50% of the residents are cost-burdened by housing costs. Only 1/3 of people living in SF work here, therefore the that commute to other places to work are spending money in these other communities.

Improving public transportation is an obvious way to help with people in poverty. The demographic projection for 2020 is that 50% of people living in downtown Santa Fe will be over 65 years of age. She implores that we need to ensure that our decision making is empowering the leadership of young people.

Craig O’Hare, talks of the efficacy of renewable energy efficiency. He mentions that promoting a green economy is important, specifically with respect to his concern about global climate disruption. Stating that the global climate change statistics have become more dire than predicted,
we need to get onto renewable a.s.a.p. He talks about Home Energy Efficiency. Specifically efficiency technologies.

• Renewable Energy: solar > solar electric
• the building envelop: walls, ceiling, attic, doors windows: with the goal to reduce air leaks & increase insulation. With respect to this he mentioned that within your own home, you can get out a lighter and check electrical plugs, windows, doors and seal for leaks. Areas with leaks will cause the lighter to flicker.

The Santa Fe Community college has an excellent ‘building performance certification program’ to insulate one’s home. He mentions that even with the best technology, windows let heat out. The best are triple panes, filled with argon gas…yet if you don’t have capability to invest in these, duct tape is also great for insulating. However, as you make the home tighter with less leakage, there are concerns about CO poisoning. NG & Propane Furnaces and Water Heaters can send carbon monoxide into the air. Fortunately, HVAC & major appliances have better technology. He points out that ceiling and portable fans are effectivee at cooling, in addition to shading your windows with trees, awnings, portals, etc.

LED lights have warm and cool light quality; warm = 2700 Kelvin.

The Santa Fe, NM County government site has a Residential Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Forum with incentives for common sense energy.

craig O'Hare, Renewable Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy Forum

craig O’Hare Renewable Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Forum

New Mexico has the 2nd best solar resource. The new design of solar electric photovoltaic cells convert the sun’s light (not heat) into electricity. Yet, the utility companies are fighting this. Solar thermal produces water and space heating. He runs ads all over the county offering free solar power with a 30% federal income tax credit and 10% state income tax credit, that would be exempt from paying etstate sales tax.

• wind energy is naturally site specific

 

 

 

The next panelist Erick J. Aune speciality is public transportation.

The quest is personal mobility, which equates to freedom, which comes down to the vehicle of choice. His talk induced a wider philosophical perspective into questioning why we do what we do. Humans want access to experiences, asking why we do things, where are we going? For the most part is it for convening in addition to the economic element, going to work.

He pointed out the history of transportation in this area,the ancient roads and pathways. Pointing out that transportation surpasses coal-fired power plants for most CO2 emissions in the United States.
There is a significant production of greenhouse gas emissions from transport, because ‘in America, we love to drive’.

He speaks of the importance to recognize the value we put neurologicaly, socially and emotionally on driving, mentioning that it is extremely difficult to compete with the automobile. He mentions,
Jarrett Walker’s ‘Human Transit’ book.

Jarrett Walker, Human Transit

Jarrett Walker Human Transit

Erick Aune asks What If environmental sustainability was the goal, and all other things became subordinate to a commitment to reduce greenhouse gases?

All sorts of technologies and organizations can help towards this cause; smart phone data, bike shares, Zagster, meters, ride-shares, Über etc.

Daniel House Werwath is the affordable housing and community development guy. He talks of real community sustainability as it relates to housing. Buildings produce 39% of our greenhouse gases. New construction is needed; talking about zoning with respect to ‘infill’, social fabric and cultural diversity. He’s a community developer who wants to create energy efficient buildings. Presently he’s involved in developing a local Arts & Creativity center and affordable live-work rental properties.

He reiterates the point made by Alexandra Ladd, the zoning panelist, that “we are segregating low-income, people of color and younger people to far outside of town. Therefore he’s an advocate of zoning for higher density housing, investigating ways to broaden public participation in land use and policy making, and using technology so that everyone has a voice.

Adam Cohen is on the Greenhouse faculty for the Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) on hydroponics (a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil) and aquaponics, “a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic animals supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water.”

SFCC, Greenhouse Management, School of Trades, Technology, Sustainability

SFCC Greenhouse Management School of Trades, Technology, Sustainability

He’s talking about food; not just the energy/water nexus, but agriculture.

Food is how we store energy as a whole. There will be over 9 Billion people on planet by 2040. Over-fishing has lead to an 80% depletion of fish; almost every species we eat are either critically over-fished or will be gone, cratered to irreversible levels. Agriculture amounts to 70% of the usage of water and 40% of the land goes to agriculture. The present day agricultural systems account for 14% of global greenhouse gases. In New Mexico, 97% of the food is imported – less than a weeks worth of food in the grocery stores. Therefore fossil foods are involved in the transport chain; ie. 250 to 1,000 miles.

He claims that two generations have been brought up on processed foods. They are low in cost, yet also low in nutritional value. These habits are a strong contributing factor to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Just as the blog I posted previously about “Food Sovereignty” in which the Gangsta Gardener Ron Finely talks of his guerrilla gardening in Los Angeles.

Adam Cohen mentions that any economy that only produces raw materials is tied to poverty. He speaks of the
Omnivore’s Dilemma” book, and the cost for transporting the ingredients of a single salad my involve 3,000 to 35,000 miles.

Regarding food security, Cohen states that New Mexico is first in the nation for childhood hunger, at 18.6%. All of this pointing to the fact that we need to grow our own food ~ it is one of the easiest things we can do. Fortunately, there has been an increase in farm to table efoorts, farm to schools and farm to restaurant operations. For example, in the last 5 yrs in Dallas, Texas, he saw 14 farmer’s markets start up in addition to food co-ops, CSA’s farmer’s markets. Even the big box supermarkets are showing marked increase in preference for ‘locally grown’ food, because they save money with respect to transportation.

The bottom line, we need to produce more food > controlled environment agriculture (greenhouses). For example in northern New Mexico there are 7 months of growing, whereas greenhouses will provide 12 months a year; to grow a much larger portion of food will increase food sovereignty and community development.

In Europe 90% of agriculture is done in controlled environment spaces – greenhouses. Once again the point is made in this discussion that we have a society addicted to fossil fuels.

We need food and Ag education, and it’s best to start with children with the food education.

We need to change our food culture: We are addicted to fossil fuels and maintaining the status quo.

Currently they are putting up a teaching facility at SFCC to teach people in NM how to grow food for New Mexicans; 12,000 footage of greenhouse space. With these hydroponic and aquaponic techniques, for the same quantity of harvest, they use 95% less water. With aquaponics, there is zero waste. In aquaponics, one feeds the fish, and then the waste of the fish is converted to fertilizer, which fertilzes the plants.

These systems are simple. 1. they can be done on the counter top 2. this can involve marrying the traditional heritage of agriculture with new techniques.

The rest, is up to educating ourselves and taking the steps towards making positive changes wherever we can.

CASSE, Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy

CASSE, Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy

On this note, here’s a site I happened upon that can be another guide to the same principles brought up towards allowing sustainability to evolve. CASSE, Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy

As George Monbiot elegantly states in his blog “The Purse is Mightier than the Pen” the biggest pitfall is money.

 

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Carol Keiter, the blogger, PA

Carol the blogger back in Pennsylvania

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About carolkeiter
Aspiring writer, artist, musician and composer who was born and raised in the United States and has resided in several European countries. Communication is my forte; both through using various tools and in approaching people of divers backgrounds to gather information. Speak conversational - advanced intermediate - French, German and Spanish. Love interacting with people in cultural centers as much as going to remote places to learn more about the different creatures that share our planet. Love of the outdoors and of a variety of outdoor sports. Driven to learn and expand my own consciousness and understanding through curiosity and love of life. Creative skills merge with analytical ones, leading to an interest in a myriad of topics; ranging from politics, economics, science to environmental. Motivated to use my art, music and writing to support and educate people towards humane practices that support and respect all of life, including practices supporting a healthy planet.

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