The Offset Project

"Our focus is to reduce carbon emissions by bringing communities in the Monterey area together, through education and grassroots initiatives"

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Bonny Doon Elementary School Taps Sun For Power

Posted: 10/9/13 Santa Cruz Sentinel

BONNY DOON -- The 66-year-old Bonny Doon Elementary School is looking at the sun for an energy boost.

More than 100 solar panels are getting bolted to the roof during the next two weeks as part of a partnership between the small Santa Cruz Mountains school and Monterey Bay Carbon Fund, a new program of the nonprofit The Offset Project.

Principal Stephanie Siddens said the panels are expected to produce 90 to 95 percent of the school's power, and save nearly $350,000 in electricity costs over 25 years.

The school, with 127 students in grades K-6, should see a 10 percent savings in its electricity bill in the first year, Siddens said.

"Our electricity bill is more than $1,000 a month," she said. "The monthly lease payment for the panels is less than our electricity bill; it's $895 a month."

Bonny Doon Elementary, a one-school district, has financed the solar panels manufactured by SunPower with a $122,000 loan that Siddens said she expects to pay off in five years.

The cost of the panels was subsidized by Monterey Bay Carbon Fund and several partners, including RC Cubed and Cabrillo College.

The project offered two Cabrillo construction-management students job training in solar installation and financing.

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25 for the Next 25**

Kera Abraham, Mark C. Anderson, Sara Rubin, Arvin Temkar and Walter Ryce Monterey County Weekly
Posted: 11/4/13 

Pacific Grove’s Kristin Cushman remembers the first time she ended up in a dumpster: “My kids’ friends, who were in early middle school, walked by and they said ‘Your mom is jumping in the dumpster.’”

“So that’s what that feels like,” she remembers thinking.

She found something more than that awareness. She found recyclables and compostables that could find new lives rather than their scheduled landfill fate.

When Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 341 into law in 2011 - mandating 75 percent diversion of solid waste away from trash deposits by 2020 - she had already launched The Offset Project and was well on her way to working with every major event coming through the area, from First City Festival to Monterey Jazz Festival, Red Bull U.S. MotoGP to the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro Am. The latter led to a national contract with Professional Golfers Association. Her work with the Big Sur International Marathon helped earn the race the nation’s first green rating.

While cities like New York and San Francisco apply similar programs, her food waste - collection program is now standard procedure at events and a range of hotels in Monterey County, resulting in the diversion of tons of waste every couple of months. Scores of volunteers are deputized in sustainable waste management, like the 140 who helped the 2013 AT&T.

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AT&T Pro-Am: Aiming at Zero Waste

Posted: 2/14/13 90.3 KAZU

The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am wrapped up Sunday with a new winner, Pro Golfer Brant Snedeker, and perhaps a new record for diverting waste.

There was a time when the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am made its mark at the Monterey Regional Waste Management District landfill.   “I can remember six or seven years ago, before these aggressive waste reduction efforts started, there was a lot of waste. We’d see six, seven or eight dumpsters a day during the course of the event,” said Jeff Lindenthal, MRWMD’s Recycling Manager.  Now a lot of that trash never makes it to the landfill because of those aggressive waste reduction efforts that begin day one of the golf tournament.  It all started four years ago when the Pebble Beach Company and the Monterey Peninsula Foundation contracted the Offset Project to help make the Pro-Am a zero waste event.  “Our guests are drawn to Pebble Beach by the beautiful natural environment, and preservation of that environment is a real motivating factor,” said Thomas Quattlebaum , Pebble Beach’s Environmental Manager.

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Zero Waste Energy builds dry anaerobic digester in Calif.

The Offset Project participates in open house and takes the food waste collected to this anaerobic digester. 

By Chris Hanson
Posted: 02/072013
An open house was held on January 25 to introduce Zero Waste Energy LLC’s first U.S.-based dry anaerobic digester (AD). The system is located at the Monterey Regional Waste Management District, where it will process waste generated by the area’s hospitality industry.
Unlike other dry digestion plants, ZWE’s digester is compact, quickly constructed, and efficient. Utilizing SMARTFERM technology developed in Germany, the machinery is semi-mobile, space efficient, requires only 3,000 square feet of space, and is self-heating using natural biological processes and recirculation of liquid moving throughout the waste material. 



The Offset Project enters its fifth year with a new focus on ways to trade environmental credits.

by Kate Moser

Posted: 9/25/2012 Monterey County Weekly

As Monterey Bay businesses work to reduce their carbon footprints, the idea of buying renewable energy credits can feel a little ephemeral.

“Oftentimes, people have concerns about renewable energy credits because it just seems as if their money goes into the ether,” says Max Perelman, a senior project manager at BuildingWise, which guides clients through LEED certification.

Homegrown nonprofit The Offset Project, which is on the verge of celebrating its fifth anniversary, has set its sights on making that sustainability more concrete.

The organization is known for its work helping cut waste at myriad special events in the area. “In our last five years, we’ve gone from pretty much nothing to being able to partner with, well, I can’t think of a venue right now that we’re not involved with,” says Kristin Cushman, The Offset Project’s founder and executive director. Cushman rattles off a list of venues that includes Big Sur International Marathon, Mazda Raceway-Laguna Seca, the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Independent Marketplace and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. ((Disclosure: Kristin Cushman is married to Weekly publisher Erik Cushman.)

“I am proud that we’ve been able to have that kind of impact on our community,” she says. “We’re serving a need that wasn’t really being fulfilled.”

Forecasting the next five years, The Offset Project is looking to help the business community in the same way it’s tackled special events.

“We feel that we live in such a destination market, and sustainability is so prevalent in our market,” she says. “Businesses and special events need to reflect those same values they see in our community.”

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