The color green doesn't just mean St. Patrick's Day and the City of Dublin's Irish roots. More and more these days, green is referring to the increasing number of environmentally friendly programs the city is putting into place.
One of the largest and most visible will begin soon at Dublin Civic Center, where the city is about to install $2 million worth of solar panels.
"The Civic Center portion of the project (not including the library) is 369 kilowatts from 1,368 panels in seven different arrays," says Roger Bradley, the City of Dublin's environmental services manager. "The system will generate approximately 550,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, meeting about 70 percent of the Civic Center's annual needs."
The arrays are being assembled atop carport structures behind the library. This will mean a little less parking there when completed, but that area is rarely filled except during large, special events.
Because construction will be in progress until the expected completion date in June, a few logistical changes need to take place at March's St. Patrick's Day Festival. The carnival rides, normally placed where the solar power construction will go on, are being moved to the Dublin Sports Grounds parking lot off Dublin Boulevard nearest the roadway entrance to Civic Center. In addition, the main performance stage will be moved behind the library next to the baseball fields.
The Civic Center is just the tip of the solar iceberg according to Bradley.
"Solar arrays will be installed at all city facilities, including the library, Shannon (Community Center), the senior center and at firehouse numbers 16, 17 and 18. Future facilities will be looked at as part of the development process," he says.
For example, the to-be-built Emerald Glen Aquatics Center is expected to use solar power to help generate electricity to heat and maintain the pool -- which is normally a very expensive proposition.
You may have also recently noticed work crews on mechanical cherry pickers around town replacing the high-pressure sodium streetlights with far more energy-efficient light emitting diode (LED) streetlights. There are about 3,100 lights being swapped out.
Bradley says the city is also installing some centralized irrigation controllers and water flow sensors in all city parks and installing low-flow water fixtures in city bathrooms to conserve water.
"The city is always looking for opportunities to be better environmental stewards. While there is not a specific fund set aside for future projects, the city evaluates each project on an individual basis with the emphasis on enacting those projects that not only benefit the environment, but also generate sufficient savings to justify their implementation."
Mr. Swalwell Goes to Washington: As you can tell from the wafting sounds of partisan bickering loudly emanating from the East, the 113th version of Congress is in session. Recently sworn into office was U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, Democrat from Dublin, who has vowed to reach across the aisle to Republicans to try and help reduce the decibel level.
Swalwell was named to the House Homeland Security Committee and as the ranking Democrat on the Committee on Science, Space and Technology's Subcommittee on Energy. The latter was especially important to the Congress member, who wants to see more startups and private sector science jobs created in partnership with the Livermore Lab.
"I've been received very openly. They (the Democratic leadership) named me an assistant whip, which means I joined the leadership team on the Democratic side," he says.
Swalwell is actually making his second tour of duty in the nation's capital. Eleven years ago he was a Congressional intern, an experience he says gave him a head start in understanding many of the basics and helps to "keep me grounded."
Nearly 200 supporters from the Tri-Valley flew to Washington to attend his swearing in and to attend a celebratory event that the Congress member says felt more like a "wedding party." A few days later, as Inauguration Day approached, Swalwell got a little hometown surprise.
"I accidentally came across a group of Dublin High School students who were in town for the inauguration and a 'Close-Up' school program trip. I wasn't expecting them and just came around the corner and saw them. I just lit up because it's great to see people from home."
Contact Alan Elias at email@example.com.