In our February newsletter, we share some tips for understanding your utility bill and conserving water, and we highlight some of the sustainability efforts taking place in Yountville and Napa County.
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February 2017 E-News


F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K
Dear friend,

With the copious amounts of rain we’ve had over the past several months, it is tempting to become complacent about water efficiency and conservation and return to our old habits. But now is actually the opportune time to start creating new habits when it comes to water use.  

Short-term gain (especially from something as unpredictable as the weather) doesn’t mean an end to the long-term challenge. Our state will be dealing with water quantity, storage capacity, distribution, and allocation for the foreseeable future so the message is clear: Let’s not get too comfortable. 

The good news is not getting too comfortable doesn’t mean we have to be uncomfortable. There are numerous ways – both simple and convenient – to conserve water. For example, some of the most beautiful yards and gardens we’ve seen are those featuring native and drought-tolerant plants and no or little turf. And another upside, they provide the healthy habitat for butterflies, bees, and birds.  

If you have a water-wise garden or know of one, Napa County RCD is seeking beautiful water-wise and habitat-friendly gardens to showcase in its Bay-Friendly Garden Tour on June 4. Submissions from Napa, Yountville and in between are welcome through end of February (see more in Making Connections section below).  

Resources and assistance about conserving water abound. We’ve got a number of these on our
resources page, including more about water-wise gardening. Fortunately, we live in a place where we can see real life examples and hear real world stories of neighbors getting creative and making small changes that make a big difference. 

Until next time, splash through some puddles. I dare you!  

Jeri Gill
CEO, Sustainable Napa County

January and February are the most expensive months for residential utility bills in the North Bay Area. Cold nights and shorter daylight hours mean more heating and lights; it’s not uncommon for households to see their bills increase by 50 percent or more due to this increased usage. The best thing you can do to reduce bills is to reduce usage; rates increase for electricity and gas as your consumption increases. The easiest ways to reduce usage are to switch away from incandescent bulbs, avoid using electricity-guzzling space heaters, and of course, turn off electricity and heat when you don’t need them. A few appliances can also be energy hogs, such as DVRs, secondary refrigerators and pool pumps.

Want more winter
saving tips? Even small reductions can make a big difference on your bills. You should see them return to normal levels by March or April. Also, don’t forget to check your historical usage found on the front page of your utility bill. It can show you how your current charges and usage compares with this time last year. 

Water use accounts for about 20 percent of California’s electricity use and 30 percent of natural gas used by businesses and homes according to the Public Policy Institute of California. At the same time the water sector can be the most cost effective source for increasing energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Read more...
by Kendra Bruno, AKA Compost Girl,  waste prevention specialist for the City of Napa

Doesn't it seem like almost everything you buy or use requires batteries? I remember growing up - especially at Christmas - and getting a new toy but unable to play with it due to not having (the right) batteries.

The "batteries not included" label has reduced somewhat, but our need and consumption of batteries has only grown. And despite what the Energizer Bunny tells us, batteries do not keep going, and going, and going...they eventually die. So when they die, where should they go and which batteries should you buy to replace them? 

In the News


The Solar Foundation released the 2016 Solar Census Report and the numbers are jaw-dropping. The solar industry added a new solar job every 10 minutes last year, bringing the workforce to a whopping 260,000 U.S. solar jobs. That’s right – more than a quarter million workers across all 50 states who are busy building a better energy future. Source: VoteSolar 

Napa County Roundup

The Town of Yountville continues to make environmental sustainability a priority, and recently launched a new “Sustainability Efforts” app on its website. Read more...

The Napa County Department of Planning, Building, and Environmental Services (PBES) has been working to develop a Climate Action Plan (CAP) for the County for several years.  The CAP is intended to quantify and reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions in unincorporated Napa County, and its adoption would implement an “action item” from the County’s 2008 General Plan Update. Read more...


Legislative Update


The public benefits of connecting the economy, the environment, and the community are real and measurable. Through outreach, community dialogue, and support of public policy development that advances sustainability —make sure your voice is being heard. 

Sustainable Napa County makes it easy to get
 and stay  engaged. Visit our Public Policy Watchlist page for quick links to City and Town Council and Napa County Board of Supervisor meeting agendas.  

Making Connections


Water-wise Gardens Needed for Garden Tour
Napa County RCD is seeking beautiful water-wise and habitat-friendly gardens to showcase in its Bay-Friendly Garden Tour on June 4. Submissions from Napa, Yountville and in between are are welcome through end of February.
For tour application and more,
click here.

Cooling Your Coals
Hot ashes or coals can cause severe burns and severe damage to properties. Follow these safety measures when disposing of them.
  • Use metal cans no more than 30 gallons in size with tight-fitting metal lids.
  • Fill cans with hot ashes only halfway so they cool quickly and are light in weight.
  • Secure metal lids on cans to prevent spread of sparks or embers.
  • Check, stir, and water ash cans for several days until completely cool.
  • Avoid adding hot coals on top of cool coals by using a set of cans that can be used sequentially.
  • Check to be sure that ashes are completely cool before placing them in compost cart.

Recycle More: Now Accepting All Household Batteries
All types of household batteries must be recycled – it is required by state law. Sites throughout Napa accept rechargeable batteries, and some accept both rechargeable and non-rechargeable (alkaline) batteries. In addition, 12 schools (10 public, 2 private) now have battery collection containers onsite. Please separate battery types for easier recycling, and tape the positive (+) terminal on your batteries before dropping off. City of Napa customers can now have their batteries picked up with another Recycle More pickup (no standalone pick-up of batteries). Read more...

Mark Your Calendar

Wednesday, February 8, 7-8 pm
Wild Napa: Salmon & Trout

Sunday, February 12, 11 am-1 pm 
Ten Things to Know About Fruit Trees

Tuesday, February 21, 6 pm
(also March 4, March 18, April 29, May 21 and June 3) 

Composting Workshop

February 28 and March 1, 2017
5th annual California Climate and Agriculture Network Summit

Click here for more details on these events.

Did You Know...

Although Alessandro Volta invented what we now call the battery, Benjamin Franklin actually coined the term in 1748. - source

Battery waste is generated at the rate of 20,000 to 30,000 tons per annual while the amount recycled is only around 1,000 tons per annual, which means that a lot of battery waste is currently occupying landfill space somewhere on the planet or being burnt away and contributing to air pollution and our carbon footprint. - source

In honor of National Kite Day (today),…one of the strangest uses of kite power was developed by a schoolmaster in 1822, who used a pair of kites to pull a carriage at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. Some of his kite trips were recorded at over 100 miles. And because road taxes at the time were based on the number of horses a carriage used, he was exempted from any tolls! - source
Copyright © 2017 Sustainable Napa County, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
1556 First Street, Suite 102, Napa, CA 94559 
(707) 927-3858 

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Sustainable Napa County · 1556 First Street, Suite 102 · Napa, CA 94559 · USA

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