At WEST 2014: Net Positive call for Action, over 250 attendees explored a wide array of net positive projects from the City of Lancaster to SF Bay Area Super Bowl 50. Sustainable Silicon Valley announced a new action-based initiative, Net Positive Bay Area, with the audacious goal of creating a net positive region by 2050.
During  the summit, attendees broke out into targeted topics  for Conversations for Action; learned about Economic Opportunities: Financing Green Infrastructure; heard about new solutions from entrepreneurs as they pitched their Call for Solutions; and exhibitors showcased their organizations and products.
Attendees were introduced to innovative concepts and strategies, made connections, and embarked on new collaborations. Ray Martin, Board President, Sustainable Silicon Valley, closed the day, thanked participants, shared a vision of a net positive region and world.
Event Highlights
Visionary Keynote Speaker Mayor R. Rex Parris of Lancaster, CA, will share how he and his community are creating one of the first "Net Zero Cities" in the world.
Neill Duffy, Sustainability Advisor for the San Francisco Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee, will explain why they are inspired to create a net zero event.
Chief of Earth Science Division at NASA - Ames, Steve Hipskind will present latest climate science, and news on NASA Earth Venture missions.
Gil Friend is City of Palo Alto's Chief Sustainability Officer and widely considered one of the founders of the sustainable business movement.
Andrew “Drew” Clark is the Director of Strategy at IBM Venture Capital Group and is a top strategist for IBM's key business imperatives including Energy & Environment.
Marianna Grossman is the Executive Director of Sustainable Silicon Valley will announce SSV's new initiative, Net Positive.
Welcome and Introduction
Marianna Grossman, Executive Director, Sustainable Silicon Valley, set the tone of the day by asking the participants to be here in an active way and to be bold. Gil Friend, Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Palo Alto, introduced climate change as an interconnected problem that calls for integrated solutions. "Sustainability is a team sport," he said, "and it will take all of our participation and collaboration to solve it."
Climate Science Update
Steve Hipskind, Chief of the Earth Science Division at NASA-Ames Research Center, gave a climate science update. Projections show increasing heat, drought and disruption. NASA takes the pulse for the planet, collects data about the earth, and makes that data available to the public globally through NEX (NASA Earth Exchange).
Inspiration for Action
Keynote speaker Mayor R. Rex Parris, of Lancaster, CA, told the story of Lancaster and how it is on-track to be among the first net zero cities in the world, plus it will have the most solar power per resident in the state. Parris believes that climate change will be solved in neighborhoods, not at the federal level; after all, the Mayor's office controls building permits, and to make a net zero city, you need net zero buildings. Next year, a new Lancaster law will require a solar panel installation on every new home. The Mayor also drew attention to two companies that worked on his net zero house project: BYD-America provides batteries and has created an electric bus that can travel for 300 miles, and KB homes which has moved beyond building net zero energy homes and they are now starting to build homes that also drastically cut water use, with systems that capture and reuse water.
Net Positive Bay Area Launch

Elan Scheinman, Vice Chair of Board, Sustainable Silicon Valley, introduced Net Positive Bay Area, an action-based initiative to enable the Bay Area to produce more energy than it consumes, sequester more carbon than it emits, and use only locally available water resources.
 This is a project-based initiative, which focuses on tangible steps and measurable results to ensure the area is moving toward achieving these goals by 2050, and thorough documentation will enable other communities to replicate these efforts and help solve climate change.
Net Positive Bay Area Projects:

  • NASA-Ames Research Park: Protocols for Building and Technical System - Dr. Daniel Rasky, Chief, Space Portal, NASA-Ames Research Center
  • East Palo Alto Neighborhood: Community Engagement and Offset Funding - Brent Butler, Community Planning, City of East Palo Alto
  • SF Bay Area Super Bowl 50 in 2016: Delivering a Major Event in a Net Positive Way - Neill Duffy, Sustainability Advisor, San Francisco Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee in Feb. 2016
Demetra McBride gave a brief overview of Silicon Valley 2.0, a geo-economic tool to help decision-makers evaluate the costs of climate impact on infrastructure, public health and well-being. Policy-makers can use this to determine replacement costs, revenue impacts, and changes in operability of infrastructure assets for responsible climate adaptation planning.
Economic Opportunities: Financing Green Infrastructure
Water infrastructure is going through a revolution. This panel discussed water infrastructure, financing, upkeep, and opportunities. There are a few different paths for financing large-scale potable water infrastructure on the Peninsula - impact investing, asset managers like BlackRock, and green bonds. Moderated by San Mateo County Board of Supervisor President Dave Pine, Chad Spitler of Blackrock, Lauryn Agnew, Bay Area Impact Investing Initiative, John Stufflebean, City of Sunnyvale, and Garth Hall, Santa Clara Valley Water District explored financing and structural options for regional management of water resources. SB 628 by State Senator Jim Beall enables enhanced infrastructure financing districts which would help the County of San Mateo build shared recycled water facilities and pipelines. It would also help Bay Area cities create bonds to finance sea level rise infrastructure.
Call for Solutions
Gold Prize: Sustainable Production of Industrial Sugars  - Presented by  David Smernoff  - from   HelioBioSys
Silver Prize: Sustainability Base Gray Water Recycling System - presented by  Michael Flynn
Bronze Prize: SeaWave Battery. -- presented by Gail Work -  from One Earth Ventures Inc.
Judges: Drew Clark, IBM Venture Capital Group, Hon. Rick DeGolia, Vice Mayor Atherton, Michael Hirahara, LinkedIn, and Ashwini Kantak, City of San José .
Referee: Dr. Anthony Strawa, NASA.
Closing Remarks
Ray Martin, Board President, Sustainable Silicon Valley, thanked attendees for participating in WEST 2014: Net Positive call for Action and shared a vision of a net positive region and world.
Host City: City of Palo Alto





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