Living La Vida Local

water conservation or rationing. The statewide drought declaration is the first since 1991, when Gov. Pete Wilson acted in the fifth year of a drought that lasted into 1992.

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Today’s interesting statistic… buildings account for 29 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions, according to Andy Ehrlich, senior vice president of B&D Consulting, a national advisory and advocacy firm.



Southern California property owners (and property managers) of existing residential multifamily complexes with two or more dwelling units may qualify for rebates from Southern California Gas Company (Sempra). The rebates are for upgrades such as high-efficiency dishwashers, attic insulation, wall insulation, and natural gas storage water heaters. Rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis until December 31, or until funds are depleted. To qualify, energy-efficient products must have been purchased and installed on or after January 1, 2006, and applications postmarked by December 31, 2008. The amount and availability of rebates may change during the year. Contact the Multifamily Rebate Program Info Line Program at (800) 427-4400.



BOMA - The Building Owners and Managers Association International- has unveiled a standardized contract that allows building owners to reduce energy costs via retrofitting their buildings and at the same time finance those retrofits without placing additional debt on their buildings. The model contract, developed by BOMA in cooperation with the Clinton Climate Initiative, is an agreement between an energy service provider and a building owner in which the energy service provider guarantees to save the building owner a certain amount of money on energy costs each year by retrofitting a building. In return, the building owner agrees to pay the energy services provider out of the savings realized through the retrofit.

The new BOMA-CCI model energy performance contract is designed to overcome those obstacles by providing a standardized contract that addresses all of the legal and technical issues involved in negotiating such a deal, and it also provides a blueprint for financing the contract via a lease between the building owner and the energy services provider. Henry Chamberlain, president and CEO of BOMA stated the association’s objective was to create “a turn-key program and a simplified contract” for building owners. Get all the details @ 


by Susy Borlido Holyhead
Account Director, BGP

As Business Greening Program Director, I always get asked the question “What are the top five actions I can do to green my business?” Well, my advice is to always go for the lowest hanging fruit that will give you the biggest ‘bang for buck’ in terms of cost and/or resource saving. So, from my six years of experience doing my job, here are my top five:

Create a companywide Environmental Policy that includes the following (include this document in your Company Handbook and have employees initial after reading):

1. TURN IT OFF. Use Natural Daylight via windows/skylights when available. Turn off equipment, lights, appliances etc. when not in use. Set lights on timers to turn ‘ON/ OFF’ via business hours or implement an ‘opening and closing’ policy company-wide.

2. Implement a companywide environmentally-friendly purchasing policy that ranges from office products to janitorial supplies. Ensure that all paper products are chlorine-free and contain 30-100% post-consumer content recycled materials.

3. Use green, less toxic cleaning chemicals. A great resource for this is They list cleaning chemicals that are green certified by a 3rd party non-profit group. You can find effective green cleaning chemicals.

4. REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE. Stocking employee kitchens with reusable dishes, mugs and silverware can save thousands of dollars a year! When you compare the costs of continuously having to stock disposables - and then hauling the trash away - to purchasing one set of reusables, the answer is obvious. Purchase condiments like sugar and cream in bulk. You can divert over 80% of trash by composting your food waste and recycling cans, plastic, glass, mixed paper. Hauling recyclables costs less than hauling trash.

5. Dispose of electronic and hazardous waste properly. It’s a California state law that these items must not end up in the trash. Electronic waste includes unwanted computer equipment, cell phones and anything with a plug. Hazardous waste includes batteries, fluorescent lights and paints. Contact your local City Waste Division for more details and for disposal procedures - for Los Angeles area, you can drop off electronic items for free at


Computer Use California and the Nation
We’re a bit of a statistics fiend, and although statistics on computer use among ethnic groups is not necessarily realy estate related, we found the information fascinating none the less…

Three in four Californians (75%) use a computer at home, school, or work, a statistic that has held steady since 2000. A 2008 survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found similar results (74%) nationwide. The percentage of Californians who use the Internet has increased since 2000, from 65 percent to 70 percent. Today, Californians and adults across the nation are equally likely to have Internet access at home (63% vs. 62% in the 2008 Pew survey) and a broadband connection (55% each).

White, Black, Older Californians Increase Use
Differences emerge in the way demographic groups use technology.

  • Race/ethnicity: Since 2000, computer use has grown among whites (79% to 85%) and blacks (76% to 83%), as has Internet use (70% to 81% for whites, 60% to 82% for blacks). Among Latinos, computer use has declined (64% to 58%) and Internet use is unchanged (47% to 48%). Asians have seen declines in both their use of computers (91% to 81%) and the Internet (84% to 80%).

  • Age and income: Internet use has grown sharply among those age 55 and older (42% to 58%), but not among adults with household incomes less than $40,000 (47% to 49%). Adults under age 35 are more likely to use the Internet (78%) than older adults. Almost all adults with household incomes of $80,000 or more use computers (94%) and the Internet (92%).

Fewer Latinos Have Computers, Web Access at Home
A digital divide is also apparent among ethnic/racial groups, income levels, and regions when comparing rates of computer ownership, Internet access, and broadband connections at home.

  • Race/ethnicity: Less than half of Latinos (48%) have a home computer compared to about eight in 10 or more for whites (86%), Asians (84%), and blacks (79%). Just four in 10 Latinos (40%) have Internet access and a third (34%) broadband connection at home. In contrast, majorities in other racial or ethnic groups have both Internet access and broadband.

  • Income: Among households with incomes under $40,000, half have home computers, but only four in 10 (40%) have home Internet access and just a third (33%) have broadband. At higher income levels, overwhelming majorities of Californians have home computers, Internet access, and broadband.

  • Region: Majorities in each region of the state say they have home computers and Internet access, but Los Angeles residents report lower rates of broadband connection (48%) than residents in the San Francisco Bay Area (65%), Orange County/San Diego (58%), Inland Empire (56%), and Central Valley (53%). Rural residents are somewhat less likely than urban residents to have a computer (65% vs. 73%), Internet connection (58% vs. 63%), or broadband (51% vs. 56%).

What Are Californians Doing Online?
Californians are far more likely than they were in 1999 (PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and Their Government, September 1999) to report that they go online to shop (52% vs. 30% in 1999) or get news about current events (55% vs. 43% in 1999), and slightly more likely to seek information about their work or jobs (49% vs. 45% in 1999). Half of Californians (50%) look for health information online or visit government websites. Less than half (47%) bank or manage finances online or look for community events and activities (47%). Fewer go online to use government resources, such as downloading forms (43%); get housing or real estate information (40%); engage in education activities, such as taking a class (27%); or use social networking sites (26%), such as Facebook, MySpace, or LinkedIn.

Stark differences emerge in the way demographic groups use the Internet. Latinos are more likely than they were in 1999 to go online for news (35% vs. 28%), but far less likely to do so than whites (67%), blacks (62%), and Asians (61%). Comparing age groups, most people under age 35 (62%) and between ages 35 and 54 (61%) get news online, compared to 41 percent of residents age 55 and older.

While more Latinos report shopping on the web today (29% vs. 16% in 1999), they are far less likely than whites (67%), blacks (63%), or Asians (58%) to research or make purchases online. Among other differences:

  • Health information: While half of Californians say they get health information online, lower income adults (30%) and Latinos (31%) are the least likely to do so.

  • Social networking: Half of residents under age 35 use social networking sites, compared to 20 percent in the 35-54 age group and 8 percent of adults over age 55.

  • School websites: More than half of parents (56%) visit their children’s school websites. However, only 30 percent of those with household incomes under $40,000 do so, compared to 84 percent of those with incomes of $80,000 or more.

Who’s Texting?
Some experts have suggested that mobile devices may be the platform to bridge the digital divide because a phone and service plan costs less than a computer and Internet connection. In California, 75 percent of all adults and solid majorities in all demographic categories have cell phones. Whites (83%) and blacks (78%) are more likely than Asians (72%) and Latinos (63%) to have cell phones.

Nearly six in 10 use their cell phones to send or receive text messages, and younger residents (87%) are the most likely to do so. They are also most likely to use their cell phones for email or to access the Internet. Overall, one in four Californians uses cell phones for email (26%) or to go online (25%).

About the Survey
This is the first survey in a series on public opinion and information technology conducted with funding from the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) and ZeroDivide. The report is based on a telephone survey of 2,503 California adult residents, including 2,253 interviewed on landline telephones and 250 on cell phones, conducted between June 3 and June 17, 2008. Interviews were conducted in English, Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese), Vietnamese, and Korean. The sampling error for the 2,503 adults is +/- 2%. The sampling error for subgroups is larger.

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