On November 18, 2009, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) together with City of Oakland and more than 37 local organizations celebrated the success of the “Greening of Oakland” campaign. The $3 million campaign started in 2007 and benefitted thousands business and residence in Oakland.
Since 2007, the campaign worked on several projects, helping 2,500 businesses along International Blvd. and 400 in Chinatown become more energy efficient by distributing more than 7,000 compact fluorescent light bulbs to the community at the “National Night Out” program, launching a green job training program with the Regional Technical Training Center, and the construction on 34 solar-powered Habitat for Humanity homes in East Oakland, with more plans in the works.
“Every single action to make more energy efficient community will turn around global warming and save the planet for our children.” State Senator Loni Hancock said. She has chaired the Natural Resource Committee in the state assembly, and has introduced several bill regarding green standards for buildings and more efficient energy use.
Ms. Barbara Kong-Brown, representing Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce (OCCC) was at the ceremony to receive the “Green Heroes” award. Mx. Kong-Brown said, “There are very good responses from the Chinese in Chinatown, they are excited to obtain free high efficiency light bulbs to save money. OCCC made an effort to assist PG&E to locate and provide translators for Chinese business and residents for the greening of Oakland program.”
Representing PG&E, Mr. Tom Guarino described the initiation of the program. He said, “Three years ago, we brainstormed with City of Oakland, we want actual product, no talks, just tangible results, actual services, to clean air that much and to save energy that much. So, we started this comprehensive program that involved more than 37 organizations and many businesses as beneficiary.”
Mr. Tom Guarino continued, “Specifically, beside changing to energy efficient light bulbs, we have put sensor to walls, change refrigerator system; we have also installed solar panels at 3 schools, the Oakland Zoo, and Chabot space and science center in Oakland.
He said it was very exciting actually to see the results and accomplishments that PG&E and all our partners were able to achieve. It is very gratifying and of the more than 3000 business we reached and on average, they saved 20 to 40% of energy use, that is a lot.
Ms. Tamar Sarkissian, a PG&E spokesperson, said, “The purpose of the greening of Oakland campaign is to take Oakland in every level in greening and energy efficiency. This program was budgeted for 3 millions dollars and lasted about 3 years. Today to honoring the organization that participated in the effort. The Paramount Theater is on the list, here, we changed the light bulb and saved 70% of the energy bill.”