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Also: Napa-Vallejo officials lease closed landfill to  power firm, huge solar array possible

The organizers of the third-annual Marin Green Business Forum announced this year's program, called "Green business leadership - taking local action for sustainable economic renewal," which will feature renowned environmental author Hunter Lovins.

The event sponsored by the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce and MarinLink will also highlight speakers from local business and government, including Marin County Supervisor Charles McGlashan, Mill Valley Sustainability Director Carol Misseldine and an environmental program director for Wells Fargo.

The event will take place at the Mill Valley Community Center on Sept. 23 at 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.maringreenbusinessforum.org.

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Now it is easier than ever for students living on their own to go green.

Teens Turning Green, a Web-based toolkit detailing easy steps to green living, is launching Project Green Dorm.

In addition to the Web site, there will be a Project Green Dorm shop in the Village at Corte Madera filled with eco-living and lifestyle essentials for green living.

"Taking care of our planet is a responsibility and a privilege," said Judi Shils, director of Teens Turning Green. "Being green isn't just about shopping vintage, buying organic or recycling - it's about a whole eco mindset, a lifestyle choice that impacts human health and the health of the planet."

The goal in launching this Web site is to inform students across the country so they can opt for eco choices that begin with living space and lifestyle.

For more information, visit www.teensturninggreen.org.

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Napa Valley College, which has long been a leader in solar education and the use of photovoltaic panels at the school, is looking into installing more panels at the Upper Valley Campus.

According to Dr. Chris McCarthy, president of the college, the board will discuss the possibility of putting the solar in at its Sept. 13 meeting.

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Hall Wines received gold-level certification under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, rating system for its St. Helena winery, which was completed last fall.

Features grabbing points on the LEED checklist include radiant heating and cooling in the floor, solar power providing 35 percent of facility electricity usage, 10 percent of materials coming from less than 500 miles away, 10 percent recycled materials and water-conservation measures such as use of recycled water for irrigation and low-flow fixtures inside to cut use by 40 percent.

It's the first completely LEED-certified winery in California and the third in the U.S., according to the council. About a dozen more U.S. winery projects are listed as registered, including PlumpJack's Cade in Angwin, Vineyard 29 in St. Helena and Duckhorn's recently completed Goldeneye in Philo.

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The U.S. Green Building Certification Institute introduced a program meant to regularly assess LEED Accredited Professionals.

Officials said the credentialing maintenance program launched Aug. 3 will ensure that accredited professionals are continuously updated with the most recent green building standards and rules. The LEED Accredited Professionals program was first created in 2001 and requires that applicants pass a rigorous test on knowledge in sustainable building fundamentals.

Currently about 130,000 individuals have the accreditation.

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The Outer Planes, Comics & Games store in Santa Rosa is the first retail store in Northern California to install all LED lighting. The gaming store lights use 60 percent less power and generate 92 percent less heat than its old florescent lights, said owner Danny Radovic, and the flicker and buzz that used to irritate gamers are gone. The system was installed by Power Play Electric of Windsor.

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The Napa-Vallejo Waste Management Authority voted 3-0 to lease a closed landfill in American Canyon to Green Tech Power Group in Mare Island, which wants to construct a 50,000-solar-panel system on the site and sell power to PG&E. The array could generate 6.7 megawatts, six times the amount of power produced at Napa's current largest array at the Napa Valley College. The project would provide about 75 temporary constructions jobs and 30 full-time positions.

The system would make the landfill an energy-producing poster child. The site already produces methane gas from the decomposing garbage.

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SolarCraft in Novato donated a SunPower Electric Solar Energy system at the Sonoma Valley Muse Auction and Benefit in May. The winning bid, at $8,000, was the highest of the event. Rick and Lisa Cavalli of Sonoma will use the system to expand their current solar array and offset nearly 90 percent of their monthly electric bill.

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One Block Off the Grid (1BOG) is negotiating group discounts for neighborhoods in Sonoma County to go solar. According to 1BOG spokeswoman Natasha Mooney, the organization can get average discounts of 15 percent for multiple systems and also provides the easiest way for county residents to apply for AB 811 municipal funding. Visit www.1bog.org.

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Citizen Green Solutions is expanding its sales team in Sonoma County with local hires. The group works directly with property owners, communities, renewable energy companies, utilities and project developers to facilitate the transition to a sustainable green economy.

"We believe that creating local green jobs through utilization of the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program funding is the model for the rest of the country," said Citizen Green Chief Empowerment Officer Stuart Smits.

The group is also planning a local manufacturing facility for solar thermal flat plate collectors. Look for Citizen Green's solar thermal demonstration at the Sonoma County Fair in the Sustainability Tent.

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