Sustainability workshop stresses water conservation and solar energy use


Helen Cox (pictured at a different event) spoke about water conservation at a seminar presented by the Institute for Sustainability (File Photo)

Jonathan R. Diaz

Helen Cox (pictured at a different event) spoke about water conservation at a seminar presented by the Institute for Sustainability (File Photo)
Helen Cox (pictured at a different event) spoke about water conservation at a seminar presented by the Institute for Sustainability (File Photo)

CSUN faculty, staff and students got tips on being environmentally friendly at home and got familiar with solar energy at a workshop presented by the Institute for Sustainability. The workshop, called Sustainability in the Home: Tips on Going Solar, was held in the basement of the Oviatt Library.

The first part of the workshop was presented by geography professor and  director for the Institute of Sustainability, Helen Cox.

She spoke about ways to reduce waste, carbon emissions, water and energy consumption and improve environmental quality.

“Sustainability is the development of planning for a safer environment for future generations,” Cox said.

One of the most used sources of energy is electricity and is measured through kilowatt-hour (KwH). The price of electricity varies, but in California it is approximately 12 cents per KwH.

There are four ways to prevent air and heat leaks through different forms of insulation according to Cox.

The first type is called rolls and batts which are blankets of insulation that are made from mineral fibers.

The second type is the loose-fill insulation made from fiberglass in the form of loose fibers or fiber pellets.

Rigid foam insulation is much more expensive but effective as there are various ways that the insulation is conducted, such as wall sheathing.

The last form of insulation is caled foam-in-place, which can be blown into walls and attic floors to reduce air leakage.

Cox also spoke about water conservation and the California drought.

“The water use in California is a big concern because we are in a drought, yet people still rely on this resource,” said Cox. “One person uses 120 gallons of water per day, which is a lot of water.”

As a way to save water, those living in the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) service area can get a rebate for “selling” their lawn.   The California Friendly Landscape Initiative program began in 2009.

LADWP will provide rebates for homes or businesses that remove their grass and replace it drought-tolerant landscaping.

A single family home can get a rebate of $2 per square foot of healthy, green grass removed.

Local water districts and those living in Metropolitan Water District’s Service are can find similar rebates via

The second part of the workshop was presented by the Institute of Sustainability members and Pick My Solar experts Max Aram and Chris Blevins.

Blevins focused on how solar energy works, the key factors, how to install solar panels and the financing options.

Pick My Solar is a company interested in educating homeowners about using solar energy as opposed to electricity. Blevins said there are different companies that provide solar panels and installation to consumers.

“What Pick My Solar does is help homeowners find the best bid deal of solar energy through possible installers to save money,” Blevins said.

He explained solar energy is used through the solar panels that are installed on the roof of a home as opposed to using electricity that is taken from the use of fossil fuels.

“The goal of Pick of My Solar is to provide awareness or transparency to the solar market, as not many people understand solar energy,” Blevins said.

Some students in attendance found the seminar helpful.

“I learned a lot about ways to condense the use of energy, especially on water,” Margarita Ochoa, junior, business major said. “I also liked the presentation on solar energy because a lot of stereotypes were cleared up.”

The workshop was sponsored by Human Resources and the Institute of Sustainability.