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BEST Of 2015 Green


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Halfway There

In April, Sonoma County Winegrowers announced that more than half the county’s vineyards had completed sustainability self-assessment, just 15 months after the organization announced the bold commitment to become the nation’s first 100 percent sustainable wine region by 2019. The next step is third-party certification, which is completed or underway for all 34,346 of those assessed acres. “This milestone is another example of our winegrowers’ efforts to ensure that agriculture remains the fabric and economic driver of this amazing community,” says Karissa Kruse, SCW president. “This continued momentum also gets us one step closer to the reality that ‘Sonoma County’ on the label will soon be synonymous with sustainably grown and made wines.”
 

All Aboard!

In early April, Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) welcomed the first of its planned 14 clean-diesel, energy-efficient trains to the North Bay with a ceremony held at Cotati’s newly remodeled station. When completed, trains will run at a top speed of 79 miles per hour from Cloverdale to Larkspur, with a first phase from Santa Rosa to San Rafael.
 
Pictured: NorthBay biz COO John Dennis poses in front of the inaugural SMART rail car.
 

 

Solar Sonoma

In many ways, the North Bay is leading the charge (pun intended) when it comes to solar energy. In Sonoma County, a few large solar projects have recently upped the ante.
 
Redwood Credit Union recently completed construction of a 2,036-panel rooftop solar array at its administrative offices on Cleveland Avenue in Santa Rosa (pictured). Designed and installed by Novato-based SolarCraft, the system produces up to 662 kilowatts of power and is estimated to provide more than 60 percent of the facility’s energy needs. Since purchasing the building in 2005, RCU has undertaken a significant, environmentally friendly remodel of the site, which led to its LEED silver designation in 2008.
 
And less than a year into providing default electricity service to residents and businesses in Sonoma County, Sonoma Clean Power (SCP) has contracted with San Francsico’s Pristine Sun to build a 12.5-megawatt floating solar project, the second largest such installation in the world. “This project is unique, because it will be located on irrigation water ponds [containing fully treated wastewater], protecting Sonoma County farmland while reducing our dependence of fossil fuel,” says SCP board chair Mark Landman.
 
Last year, the town of Windsor became the first in Sonoma County to set up an online permitting system for solar photovoltaic systems and other common, over-the-counter building permits. The streamlined process has benefitted both professional and residential customers.
 
So let the sun shine—we’re ready to make the most of it!

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