Green: the new black

Consumers go green and save green at the same time

All four of the ancient elements were covered at Pleasanton's Green Scene Fair on Thursday: purifiers for air and water, earth-friendly garden design, and fire in the form of solar-powered everything. The sun was one of the main focuses of the event, even if it was forced inside because of rain.

And while these events have typically been the natural environment for the Birkenstock crowd, more and more are coming out for a different kind of green: cash. They want to save money and realize that a one-time investment in something like solar panels can often reap years of rewards.

Laura Ryan, Pleasanton's energy and sustainability manager, is glad that green is the new black.

"It's not a niche market any more. As people get involved in these things it drives prices down because of high demand. The economy being as bad as it is, that's even more of a motivation," Ryan said at the second annual fair, held at CarrAmerica on Rosewood Drive.

The fair featured much of what one would expect at this sort of event: people selling solar panels, electric bikes, motorcycles and chargers for electric cars, others from BART and other transit agencies and rideshare companies encouraging people to use public transportation or vanpool.

Companies offered everything from high-end water purifiers to whole home remodeling, banking on the idea that green thinking will mean black ink in their ledgers.

It also brought in some unexpected vendors. Nuubia Chocolat was a crowd favorite, largely because of its free samples. The company, which recently opened on West Las Positas Boulevard, sells chocolate that's green in attitude, not color, according to CEO Alexandra Saunders of Danville.

"My background is conservation and sustainability," Saunders said. "We have an environmental mission, and we have a mission to produce the finest chocolate."

The company goes as far as buying only from dairy farms that treat their animals humanely and uses paper free of hardwood or rainforest fibers and soy-based inks. The product also just been named best chocolate in the U.S.

Another local vendor was Rhonda Chase Design, a Pleasanton-based jeweler who recently began a line made from recycled materials like newspaper comics rolled and varnished into beads, cans cut and lacquered to create earrings, and necklaces made from reclaimed bottle glass.

Chase said people are often obsessed with things that are brand new, like the latest phone.

"I've been working on ways of making my jewelry more environmentally friendly," she said. "I want people to have the idea that they can have something beautiful and functional without getting it new off the shelf."

Although 93 vendors were signed up to participate, along with a number of informational booths manned by Pleasanton staff, the rain forced a number to drop out.

Ryan estimated 87 vendors were in attendance. Thomas Cosgrove of Clean Energy Associates, who organized the event, said he expected between 500 and 600 people to show up, slightly fewer than last year, despite a last-minute push to let people know the event had been moved indoors.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Oct 6, 2011 at 8:09 pm

"The new black"?

Would someone like to explain this one?

"The new black"?

Jeez. . .


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Posted by Nope
a resident of Amador Estates
on Oct 6, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Green is also the color of slime and phlegm...which are of the same value as investments in 'green' energy.

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Posted by Main Street Jay Walker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2011 at 9:08 pm

The new black is the classic way of saying a trend is "avant garde chic", "in", "cool", "gotta have it to be in the IN CROWD". Traditional associative marketing. Remember the blonde standing by the new 59 Chevy? Or the Marlboro man and his smokes?

That's not saying that green isn't cool, but it certainly isn't the new black (the New Yorker swing set, appletini, cool that is)

My be would be to make being green a better financial bet. That means better technology, lowered expectations and the fact that changing the usage habits of mass energy markets is one heck of a challenge.

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Posted by Never Green
a resident of Valley Trails
on Oct 7, 2011 at 8:40 am

Green is the new "Red" as in the trending "socialist" "communist" "gotta be with IN CROWD" "Occupy Wall Steet, SF, Chicago, etc." Nothing like a little government coercion and "picking the winners" "Solyndra" to get the wheels of commerce moving or insist "Fairness" over "millionaires and billionaires" while subverting "Liberty" "individual freedom" "FREE enterprise" "patriotism"

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Posted by steve
a resident of Parkside
on Oct 7, 2011 at 8:54 am

From a purely capitalistic perspective, it's nice to see people starting businesses (any business, these days) and using some ingenuity to attempt to be successful (maybe even become one of the dreaded 1% some day). However, the govt should not involve itself is picking their favorites and funding them with our money.

From practical side, green is not practical or convenient. Solar panels are inefficient, expensive and ugly to look at. Same with wind power. The notion that America should return to the stone age in order to please self-righteous elitists who are the only ones who can afford these experiments, is ludicris.
Maybe these projects wiil be viable when we finally run out of coal, oil and nuclear materials, but not in our lifetimes.

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Posted by All
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2011 at 9:49 am

Doing and trying all in a timely manner is needed to keep the American economy viable. However, we must use more nuclear, natural gas, shale, hydro, geo, everything....while green dreams are being perfected to point of 'sufficient' supplies. Greens must be honest with themselves and more importantly with us...that will not be happening this decade or next! So, stop blocking all the more traditional power sources. It's very dangerous blocking viable supplies, thinking that somehow will create more won't. That is anti-American thinking....only making America weak, vunerable, and in jeopardy. We must keep meeting our demands, until green dreams become viable enough to meet our needs.
On Pleasanton's front, we must be alert to people and leadership who are ready to use dictatorial tactics to 'force' us into a very costly experiment in genuine central planning. Ears open, eyes forward. We are not experimental lab rats.

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Posted by Patriot
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2011 at 9:59 am

steve, I would say that nuclear is "green" power. I'd also say that solar is useful now, but as a supplement, not a replacement for nuclear.

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Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Oct 7, 2011 at 3:41 pm

White can be the new Black.
Asian can be the new Black.
Hispanic can be the New Black.

But "Green" as the new Black is an embarrassing misuse of an incredibly clever socio-cultural statement.



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Posted by None of the Above
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2011 at 4:34 pm

@ Mike,

Incredibly clever socio-cultural statement my Aunt Hattie.

It's not black as in skin color, it's black as in the classic LBD (Little Black Dress).

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Oct 7, 2011 at 9:03 pm

None of the Above,

I'd agree if the comment were "Green is the new LBD."


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Posted by Jim van dyke
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 8, 2011 at 9:14 am

It was a good event. Next year we need more resources to help people begin to move by bike or foot rather than just cars.

Nice intro on that article!

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