Silicon Valley Clean Energy takes additional steps to reduce local carbon emissions

Silicon Valley Clean Energy, a not-for-profit organization that offers renewable and carbon-free energy, is starting their new phase of action to further fight climate change.

Called the Decarbonization Roadmap, this plan aims to offer affordable, carbon-free power to residents, build energy-efficient buildings, electrify public transportation, successfully integrate new environmentally-friendly technologies into the electric grid, promote green innovation within local incubators and startups and educate the community on the steps they can take to reduce their carbon emissions.

The company’s board of directors approved over $6 million in funding for these projects over the next two years.

With this roadmap, Silicon Valley Clean Energy hopes to meet the goal of cutting carbon emissions within participating municipalities in half by 2030. Member jurisdictions include Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Saratoga, Sunnyvale and the unincorporated parts of Santa Clara County.

Along with providing the public with clean energy, the company is focused on installing more electric vehicle charging stations, investing in electric building design incentives and promoting high-efficiency electric water heaters, just to name a few of their ongoing projects.

The team has also been engaging local high schools through their Bike to the Future scholarship, where teams of students can win $16,000 by designing and showcasing their own electric bike.

Since their launch in April 2017, Silicon Valley Clean Energy has seen nearly a 97 percent participation rate throughout the 13 municipalities and around a 1.1-billion-pound reduction in area-wide carbon emissions.

By April, customers are estimated to save around $20 million in energy costs, which Silicon Valley Clean Energy hopes will be reinvested back into the local economy.

Residents in this area have been served by the same energy provider, PG&E, for over a hundred years, causing some people to be wary of this change. However, “very few …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


Tesla to cut 7 percent of workforce

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Friday that the electric-car maker is cutting its full-time staff by 7 percent as it struggles to cut prices and ramp up production of its Model 3 sedan, the company’s first mass-market vehicle, CNN reports.

The job reductions follow other cost-cutting measures as Tesla struggles to expand profitability. Musk wrote in an email to Tesla employees that the company is “up against massive, entrenched competitors” and has to work “much harder than other manufacturers to survive while building affordable, sustainable products,” reports CNBC. He added that building “affordable clean energy products at scale necessarily requires extreme effort and relentless creativity.”

Tesla shares fell on the news, declining by nearly 6 percent in premarket trading. Read more at CNBC.

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Source:: The Week – Business


Jury awards $21 million to devout dishwasher after she was forced to work on Sundays

By Amy B Wang | The Washington Post

For nearly a decade, Marie Jean Pierre showed up to work as a dishwasher at the Conrad Hotel in Miami’s posh, high-rise-filled Brickell neighborhood.

The Haitian immigrant said she informed the hotel from the time she was hired, in April 2006, that she could not work on Sundays because she was a missionary for the Soldiers of Christ Church.

“I love God,” Pierre, 60, told NBC Miami on Wednesday. “No work on Sunday, because Sunday I honor God.”

For most of that time, the hotel respected her religious beliefs and allowed her to have Sundays off. However, that changed in October 2015, after a kitchen manager insisted on scheduling her to work on Sundays.

Pierre had her pastor write a letter explaining that it would be a violation of her religious beliefs to do secular work on the Sabbath – but the manager allegedly disregarded it, according to a copy of a complaint Pierre would later file against the hotel chain.

The arrangement forced Pierre to ask her co-workers to switch shifts with her if she wanted to take Sundays off. This lasted until March 2016, when Pierre “was terminated for alleged misconduct, negligence and ‘unexcused absences,’ ” the complaint stated.

In turn, Pierre filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, saying the hotel had discriminated against her religious beliefs.

Ultimately, she filed a lawsuit against Park Hotels and Resorts of Tysons, Virginia (formerly known as Hilton Worldwide, which managed the Conrad), saying the hotel had violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

Pierre’s attorney, Marc Brumer, said the hotel had an obligation to “reasonably accommodate” their employees’ religious beliefs – and argued that they could have easily done so for Pierre. Instead, he …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


California sees its first home sales drop in four years

California’s housing market ended 2018 on a down note, with sales for 2018 as a whole down for the first time in four years and home price gains showing signs of leveling off, Realtor economists reported Thursday, Jan. 17.

A volatile stock market and political and economic uncertainty contributed to the market slowdown, according to the California Association of Realtors. But the main culprit was fewer buyers able to afford a home.

“California’s housing market in 2018 was hindered by endlessly rising home prices and interest rate hikes, which combined to erode housing affordability and hamper home sales,” CAR Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young said in a statement. “While the statewide median home price surpassed its previous peak and set a new record in 2018, annual home sales fell for the first time in four years.”

In all, 402,705 existing single-family homes changed hands last year, compared with 424,890 in 2017, CAR reported.

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The median house price for the year as a whole – or price at the midpoint of all 2018 sales – was $570,000, up 6 percent from 2017. That’s the second-smallest decline since 2011.

The slowdown was even more pronounced in …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


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