Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Yet Another Green Sighting on Abbot Kinney

Your fellow green commuter here with another report on a sighting in Venice that yet again demonstrates the ever-growing buzz and support amongst the organic and eco-friendly townspeople on the west side.

Smart Car USA just opened up shop on Abbot Kinney, and as seen from the picture below they are making every effort to get noticed and draw in the crowd of the many in this area who want to improve the health of our planet.

In addition to this report, the Venice house we visited just recently has officially been posted on eBay and is up for auction for the highest bidder. With a starting bid of $2.85M, and the recent upset in the housing market, it might be a while before someone picks it up.

In any case, do try and visit the Smart Car store once they officially open up shop... Who knows, you might walk out with one of those pocket-sized vehicles racing up and down the streets of Venice with an organic soy latte in the cup holder and the latest hip and flashy hemp outfit money can buy!

- Patrick

Friday, December 7, 2007

On the way to work...

It's amazing the things you see on the way to work these days... Particularly the multitude of green and organic stores that have cropped up along Main Street and Abbott Kinney in Santa Monica and Venice.

One such store is epOxyGreen. According to their profile on GreenHomeGuide.com - another excellent online resource for green-living:

epOxyGreen offers the highest quality in sustainable building and design products. epOxyGreen has set a mandate within its business philosophy to distribute products that adhere to the standards of a review process by experts in this emerging industry. We are committed to maintaining the integrity within the definition of “sustainability” and “Green,” while helping to create an economy of scale so that these products become more available and affordable to the public. epOxyGreen offers full-service project management to address clients’ specific needs. Each client project is assigned a project manager to ensure clear communication and seamless follow-through of product orders and licensed professionals referred by epOxyGreen. 602 Venice Boulevard, Venice, CA 90291, Phone: 310-578-2123.

So next time you're driving around that area, have a look around... You will be surprised at the number of stores opening up offering eco-friendly services and products.

- Patrick

Monday, November 12, 2007

Programs for Green LA

While browsing the web I came across the web site of “Programs for Green LA". These programs are green initiatives from Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

I found information on this site very useful and thought to share with you. They have a verity of Green initiatives for LA including:

1. Trees for a Green LA
2. Energy Efficiency for a Green LA
3. Solar Energy for a Green LA
4. Electric Vehicles for a Green LA
5. Green Power for a Green LA
6. Recycling for a Green LA
7. Educational Services for a Green LA

I will recommend visiting @ http://www.ladwp.com/library/statichtml/homepage_greenla.html , http://www.ladwp.com/ladwp/areaHomeIndex.jsp?contentId=LADWP_GREENLA_SCID


Venice House at 710 Milwood

A few weeks ago, Guidance employees were invited to visit the environmentally friendly house at 710 Milwood Ave in Venice.

The house was developed as part of a combined effort between various sponsors and charities. The information site for the house can be found here.

Some intelligent and eco-friendly features of the home, besides it's $3M+ price tag, include solar panels for zero external power dependency, automatic ceiling vents to control room temperature during all seasonal cycles, and some of the most modern and high-end appliances and furniture.

The home is built without the use of any toxic materials. Rainwater is captured to irrigate its own landscape. The garden is composed of drought tolerant and indigenous plants. The hardscape is permeable, so that rain water seeps back into the earth, helping to prevent erosion.

Every aspect of the home is practical, highly efficient and green. It is an example of how man can live in harmony with the environment.

Below is a list of pictures from that visit:

Friday, November 9, 2007

Connect with Nature

When we told Guidance employees to “take a hike,” we meant it!
And take a hike we did at beautiful Malibu Creek State Park.
In an effort to connect with nature and be reminded of the
environment we’re helping to protect through our
Guidance Green Initiative, on September 23rd we enjoyed a hike
to the Rock Pools with a stop at the Visitor Center along the way.

Ready, Set, Hike!

Nature in the Balance, or
is it Balance in the Nature?

Catherine and Mia

The Stewarts enjoy the
Visitor Center
Thanks to rain a couple of days
before, the creek was bursting with
life, including turtles.
Mia at our final destination,
the Rock Pools.

Greening Your Business

Valerie from Bentley Prince Street, an eco-friendly manufactuer of broadloom and carpet tile, alerted me to this site-- http://greenbiz.com/ -- which has tons of resources and information for greening your business and understanding more about the industry.

I have subscribed to all of their news feeds and email blasts-- here's are a few examples of what they have:


    Monday, November 5, 2007

    The race to create a more fuel-efficient vehicle

    Exciting news from our neighbors in Santa Monica, the X Prize Foundation. If you aren’t already familiar with them, the X-Prize Foundation “creates and manages prizes that drive innovators to solve some of the greatest challenges facing the world today.” They do this by staging competitions, offering large monetary rewards for winners in categories that include aerospace technology, genomics, and now, automotive innovation.

    According to their press kit, the goal of the Automotive X Prize is: “To inspire a new generation of viable, super-efficient vehicles that help break our addiction to oil and stem the effects of climate change.”

    The grand prize will be awarded to the teams that “win a stage race for clean, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 MPG equivalent fuel economy.”

    So far, more than forty teams in five different countries have signed up for the challenge. The competition will take place in stages that will culminate sometime in late 2009.

    If you’d like more detailed information on the Automotive X Prize or the X Prize Foundation, you can visit their web site at http://www.xprize.org.

    Wednesday, October 24, 2007

    So Cal Fires and Air Quality Effects / SF Climate Challenge

    Fourteen large wildfires have developed spanning seven counties in California since Saturday, thanks to the Santa Ana winds, and the prevailing extreme drought conditions... I had been looking around the past couple of days for information on long-term air quality effects and pollution rehab after firestorms past and found some interesting stuff on Wunder Blog:

    Air quality
    Not surprisingly, air quality due to particulate matter has been awful in Southern California (Figure 1). Exceedances of the Federal air quality standards by more than a factor of two have occurred the past three days in both Los Angeles and San Diego. Hightened particulate pollution is strongly correlated with increased death rates, particulary in vulnerable populations, such as those with heart conditions, athsma, or other lung diseases. Everyone should avoid any outdoor exertion; people with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly, and children should remain indoors. Keep your windows and doors closed unless it is extremely hot inside. In these cases, seek alternate shelter. Run your air conditioner if you have one. Keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing additional smoke inside. EPA's Airnow website has more information.

    Figure 1. Visible satellite images taken midday on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Overlaid on the images is the peak daily particle pollution Air Quality Index (AQI) levels due to smoke. Poor air quality became more widespread across the region as the number and size of the fires increased from day to day. Smoke is visible as white or bluish-white streaks. Blowing dust (brown streaks), reducing visibility under three miles, is also apparent on the images. Image credit: NASA and EPA."

    As horrifying and post-apocalyptic as that all may sound, it also led me to find information about the San Francisco Climate Challenge, which I think is a fantastic resource for those interested in better understanding the
    impact that our long-term choices concerning energy consumption can have on the planet. Although the cash prizes they are offering are for SF residents only-- we Southlanders can learn a lot from this initiative and perhaps establish one for LA. I expect there to be more info coming soon on this...

    Monday, October 15, 2007

    Montreal Ahead of the Green Curve?

    During my visit to Montreal last month, I came across a variety of "eco friendly" initiatives across the city that demonstrated some of the more advanced recycling programs the city has in place.

    One of the most surprising findings, were these 6 foot tall transparent plastic recycling bins placed on every floor in every corner of their shopping malls. I also noticed these placed in locations across the city in smaller forms - sometimes attached directly to a trash bin to encourage recycling.
    One other interesting thing I learned that nearly everyone in Montreal is very environmentally conscious. On several occasions when parking my rental car to pick some one up, or even step out for a second, I had someone ask me to turn the engine off - it became a habit right before leaving that I've even become conscious about it today. When your car is idling and parked, turn it off! Simple, yet effective enough that if you aggregate all the minutes your car spends idling in park it has a fairly big impact.

    Finally, Montreal is a very clean city. Trash is rarely found lying around in the streets. People are more responsible and aware about waste. Almost every household I went to had a recycling bin nearby. Overall, it gave me a very positive impression of the city and how mentally aware everyone is - if people care, then the impact is much greater!

    Friday, October 12, 2007

    CEO Jason Meugniot Rides The Bus

    (Thursday October 4, 2007)

    As part of Guidance's commitment to a sustainable environment, we celebrated National Rideshare Week today by altering the way we commute to work.

    So, this morning at 8:15 A.M. PT, I left the Porsche in the garage, kissed my kids and wife goodbye after breakfast, helped them into their SUV, and I walked up my street headed for the bus stop.

    This morning's ride marked my first local bus ride in over 20 years. As a kid, my buddies and I used to ride the "Big Blue" from our homes to the beach to surf in the summer. But this was the first time I rode the bus to work. And while it was new in many respects, the trip itself was quite familiar...

    Thursday, August 30, 2007

    Upcoming Webinar: Learn Powerful Sustainable Business Tools

    Forwarded to us from our friends at Interface / Bentley Prince Street:


    Hosted by InterfaceRAISE Managing Director Jim Hartzfeld, this webinar series will show you:

    ~How Interface became a world leader in sustainability
    ~How emerging challenges pose new business risks and opportunities
    ~How customers, shareholders, employees and the planet can benefit

    Register For The First Webinar In Our Series

    The Business Case for Sustainability: The Interface Story Featuring John Wells, CEO, Interface AmericasWednesday, September 1911 AM EDT

    You'll learn:
    ~What sustainability is in the business context
    ~How Interface has turned sustainability into a competitive advantage
    ~Practical steps that every company can take to be more "green"

    InterfaceRAISE is a strategic resource for sustainability education and guidance based on the dramatic metamorphosis of Interface, Inc., into a global sustainability pioneer.

    Wednesday, August 29, 2007

    Offsetting your Carbon Footprint through Renewable Energy Credits

    2007 has been a watershed year for Guidance in terms of our environmental policy and the actions we’ve taken to reduce our impact on the environment. Guidance’s use of Renewable Energy Credits to offset the carbon emissions associated with our business activities led this Green Team member to wonder how I could become personally carbon neutral.

    The website http://www.begreennow.com/, a unit of Green Mountain Energy, provides a great tool called the Carbon Calculator that makes it easy to calculate your own personal carbon footprint in five easy steps.

    I was surprised to discover it will cost me less than well under $100 per year to purchase enough Renewable Energy Credits to become carbon neutral.

    Want to calculate your personal carbon footprint and take steps to become carbon neutral?

    Click on this link – http://www.begreennow.com/redoffset/begreenreduceofset_cal – then follow the five steps below.

    1) You'll be prompted to enter your electricity usage. You can determine the number of kilowatt hours of electricity you use by looking at your electric bill. Enter your monthly usage and the Carbon Calculator will multiply that figure to arrive at your yearly usage.

    2) The Carbon Calculator will ask you to enter information about the number of cars you drive, the makes and models, and number of miles you log each year. Your work commute has already been included in Guidance’s carbon emissions calculation, so you only need to calculate the miles you drive in your personal time.

    3) You’ll be prompted to enter some information about your personal air travel for the year. Guidance has already included your business travel in calculating our company carbon footprint, so you’ll only need to enter your personal air travel here.

    4) You’ll be asked to enter some information pertaining to the amount of natural gas you use. Here again, you can get this information from your monthly Gas Company bill.

    5) Once you’ve entered all the information, click the button labeled “Offset my emissions”. The Carbon Calculator will calculate your total emissions and tell you how many Renewable Energy Credits you will need to purchase to become carbon neutral.

    Monday, August 20, 2007

    Nothin' But Sand

    Guidance hit the beach on June 30th as the Green Team spent the morning cleaning up Mother's Beach in Venice.

    The project was a joint effort between the Guidance Green Team, Heal the Bay, and local Boy Scout Troop 108.

    A huge thank you to all of you who joined in the clean-up effort. It was great seeing familiar faces and meeting new people too.

    Particularly satisfying was the number of children who participated, and we applaud the adults for setting an example and teaching them the importance of respecting our planet.

    We most certainly made a difference and left the beach in a much cleaner state than we found it, and had fun and good food in the process!!

    A few statistics from the event --

    In total, we collected:

    28 Band aids/bandages
    29 Plastic grocery bags
    44 Balloons/ribbons
    49 Plastic straws/stirrers
    101 Plastic bottle caps/rings

    Plus countless cigarette butts, styrofoam pieces, broken glass, unidentifiable plastic and paper pieces, as well as 3 articles of clothing and a bar of soap!!

    46 adults and children participated !!

    75 hot dogs and 20 turkey dogs were consumed!!

    And coming up next...

    Our next outing will be a tree planting event with the Tree Musketeers!!

    Dates will be announced soon, so keep checking back.

    Wednesday, August 15, 2007

    The 11th Hour

    Coming to theatres this Friday August 17th is The 11th Hour, Leonardo diCaprio’s feature-length documentary about the impact humans are having on the earth and what the film’s producers refer to as the “environmental crisis.”

    If you didn’t know, diCaprio isn’t just a talented actor, but also a passionate environmentalist who is using his Hollywood clout to draw attention to environmental issues.

    Despite the use of the word crisis, The 11th Hour’s media kit emphasizes the film does not paint a doomsday scenario, but rather attempts to offer "hope and solutions." Featuring a slate of prominent environmental activists and thought leaders, the film’s message is that “the time for action is NOW” and “most of the solutions are available now.”

    As a documentary, The 11th Hour will be opening in limited release, with only two threatres in Los Angeles showing the film this weekend. If you’re interested in seeing it, here’s some info on theatres and showtimes.

    The Landmark - 10850 West Pico Blvd (Across from the Westside Pavillion)

    Showtimes: The film will be playing this Friday, Saturday,
    and Sunday at 12:10pm, 2:30pm, 5pm, 7:30pm, 10pm each day

    The ArcLight - 6360 W Sunset Blvd (between Vine and Ivar)

    Showtimes: The film will be playing this Friday, Saturday,
    and Sunday at 11am, 2:10pm, 4:50pm, 7:30pm, 10:20pm each day

    For more information about the film, visit The 11th Hour website at www.11thhouraction.com.

    Wednesday, August 8, 2007

    Instant Messaging for a Good Cause

    Members of the Guidance Green Committee recently became aware of a really cool initiative ongoing at Microsoft that makes it easy to contribute to your favorite social and environmental causes.

    Tied to Microsoft’s Windows Live Messenger, the “I’M INITIATIVE” gives a percentage of the ad proceeds from your instant messages to the cause of your choice. Since starting the initiative in March 2007, Microsoft has raised more than $35,000 for these worthy causes.

    Here’s how it works:

    • Make sure you’re using Microsoft Windows Live Messenger version 8.1. If you’re not currently using version 8.1 you can download it here.
    • From your Contacts window, click the arrow next to your name and select "Options".
    • Next to your name, type one of the following codes (including the asterisk) for the cause you'd like to support, and click OK.

    To select American Red Cross code = *red+u
    To select Boys & Girls Clubs of America code = *bgca
    To select Humane Society of the United States code = *hsus
    To select National AIDS Fund code = *naf
    To select National MS Society code = *mssoc
    To select ninemillion.org code = *9mil
    To select Sierra Club code = *sierra
    To select StopGlobalWarming.org code = *help
    To select Susan G. Komen for the Cure code = *komen
    To select U.S. Fund for UNICEF code = *UNICEF

    It’s that simple.

    So take five minutes today to choose an organization to support and add it to your Windows Live Messenger. If you’re not currently using Windows Live Messenger, you can download it by clicking the banner below.

    Wednesday, August 1, 2007

    Guidance Achieves Carbon Neutrality

    Guidance is excited to announce that we have achieved a goal we set for ourselves in early 2007 to achieve carbon neutrality by 2009. We did it – a full eighteen months earlier than expected!

    For 2007, Guidance’s purchase of renewable energy credits offset 100% of the carbon emissions associated with our business activities. The renewable energy source derives from wind and biomass production facilities.

    Our commitment to utilizing renewable energy credits helps avoid over 99 metric tons – or 219,000 pounds -- of CO2 per year, which has the equivalent impact of not driving over 243,000 miles.

    We are extremely proud to have reached this important milestone and will continue to look for other ways to lessen the impact our activities have on the environment. Our environmental policy, published as a Declaration, details the many ways in which we are working to reduce or eliminate our impact on the environment.

    Acknowledgement and thanks goes out to Green Mountain Energy Company who worked with us to calculate our carbon footprint and secure the renewable energy credits to offset our carbon emissions.

    Tree Musketeers: How the Provisor's spent a Saturday

    My son Alex and I took a Saturday and participated in the Tree Musketeers "Trees to the Sea" event off the Imperial Highway median. The objective on that day was to spread mulch across a two mile section of the median; the mulch helps the trees by preventing weeds and trapping moisture. It was a hot day and a messy job, but our team spread 1000's of pounds of wood chips (mulch).

    Alex felt great helping out and we met some very friendly people.

    Tree Musketeers is a non-profit organization with a mission to help young people become leaders of environmental and social change in the Earth's Communities. For more information you can visit their Web site at http://www.treemusketeers.org/

    Thursday, May 31, 2007

    Volunteer Opportunity

    Nothin’ but Sand

    Saturday, June 30
    9:30 a.m. to Noon
    (bottled water and lunch will be provided)
    Guidance has Adopted a Beach in Marina del Rey
    Who: Everyone is invited to join us for some fun in the sun, including spouses, children, friends, family.
    When: Saturday, June 30, 2007, 9:30 AM to Noon.
    Schedule: 9:30 a.m. arrival; 9:45 a.m., Heal the Bay Speaker presentation; 10:00 a.m., begin clean up; noon, lunch provided if you can stay.
    What to bring: Supplies will be provided by Heal the Bay. Guidance will provide bottled water and lunch. Please wear sunscreen and dress appropriately.
    Where: Mother’s Beach, 4101 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey.
    What to Expect: A free educational presentation by a member of Heal the Bay’s Speakers Bureau 15 minutes prior to starting at 9:45 a.m. Volunteers will be picking up trash and compiling data on trash they collect.
    Signing Up: Please let Catherine know by Wednesday, June 6, if you will be participating and whether or not you will have additional adults and/or children joining you. Guidance Green T-shirts are being ordered, so please let Catherine know how many and what sizes for you and your party in your email response.
    Catherine Lanzarotta Office Manager310.754.4000 direct clanz@guidance.com Guidance www.guidance.com
    4134 Del Rey Ave Marina Del Rey, CA 90292310.754.4000 main 310.754.4010 fax

    Tuesday, May 1, 2007

    Carbon Footprint

    Your carbon footprint is a representation of the effect you, or your business, have on the climate in terms of the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2 ) emissions you produce. Many of your actions generate carbon emissions, which contribute to accelerating global warming and climate change. By measuring your carbon footprint, you can get a better sense of what your individual impact is and which parts of your lifestyle deserve the greatest attention. Over 88% of Guidance's carbon footprint is a result of electricity usage! Remember to power off your computers and turn off lights when not in use.

    Wednesday, April 11, 2007

    Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel

    Ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) is diesel fuel with substantially lowered sulfur contents. As of late 2006, most diesel fuel sold in the US and Canada is ULSD.

    Moving to lower sulfur content will allow the application of newer emissions control technologies that will lower emissions of toxic gases from diesel engines. These new emissions standards will extend to some US states in 2007.

    ULSD was proposed by the EPA as a new standard for the sulfur content in on-road diesel fuel sold in the US since late 2006, except for California and rural Alaska. This new regulation applies to all diesel fuel, diesel fuel additives and distillate fuels blended with diesel for on-road use, such as kerosene, however, it does not yet apply to train locomotives, marine, or off road uses. By December 1, 2010, all highway diesel will be ULSD.

    The allowable sulfur content for ULSD (15 ppm) is much lower than the previous U.S. on-highway standard for low sulfur diesel (LSD, 500 ppm), which not only reduces emissions of sulfur compounds (blamed for acid rain), but also allows advanced emission control systems to be fitted that would otherwise be poisoned by these compounds. These systems can greatly reduce emissions of oxides of nitrogen and particulates.

    Because this grade of fuel is comparable to European grades and engines will no longer have to be redesigned to cope with higher sulfur content and may use advanced emissions control systems which can be damaged by sulfur, the standard may increase the availability of diesel-fueled passenger cars in the U.S. European diesels are much more popular with buyers than those available in the U.S.

    The refining process that removes the sulfur also reduces the aromatic content and density of the fuel, resulting in a minor decrease in the energy content, by about 1%. This decrease in energy content may result in reduced peak power and fuel economy. The reduction is only slight and will likely go unnoticed.

    Other countries, including Canada, China, Russia and Sweden have mandated similar requirements.

    More info can be found here:

    Thursday, April 5, 2007

    Green is Better

    CIO Magazine (April 1, 2007) just published a special report Green Is Better http://www.cio.com/article/101506/Green_IT_Leading_Your_IT_Department_Toward_Environmental_Sustainability_and_Increased_Profits The story of how VistaPrint reduced their data center costs was intriguing, especially as it made a decision to move away from blade servers to virtualization. According to the article, data centers account for 1.5% to 3% of electricity consumption in the United States. WOW! We’ve just begun to evaluate our hardware choices based on environmental impact, but there are very real TCO savings to be had by doing so. The challenge is great, but the beneficial impact can be greater.

    Jon Larsen, Vice President

    Saturday, March 10, 2007

    The Green Challenge

    At Guidance, we have recently been inspired to explore how our company can positively impact the environmental issues that affect us today. We have all agreed wholeheartedly that this issue is an important one and must be addressed, and action must be taken.

    But what does it take to "go green"? How will it affect our company? Who do you go to for support? These are some of the challenges that face us during the "Greening of Guidance". We are hoping that by documenting our process that we can begin to create a community of like minded individuals and companies that together can respond as a community to the "Green Challenge".