Proactive in Paradise: How to Lower our Impact on the Planet Here in Pacific Palisades

 Lisa Kaas Boyle, Esq.  August 20, 2021

Resilient Palisades Zero Waste Team Member

what you do matters

Part of the draw for living near the beach in Pacific Palisades is enjoying temperatures that can be 30 degrees cooler than those downtown, in the Inland Empire and in the valleys. However, even with ocean breezes and our traditional summer fog, we are not immune from the impacts of climate change. In fact, property that has enjoyed billions of dollars of inflated value due to our cooler climate and ocean views is in danger of being underwater due to rising ocean levels in the next 30 years, a problem that calls for novel solutions


Meanwhile, this summer will be another record breaker for heat in Los Angeles and across the West. More than outlier weather, USA Today reports “persistent heat waves may be sticking around for a while, raising concerns that the extreme heat may become the new normal. Scientists who study drought and climate change say that people living in the American West can expect to see more of the same in the coming years.”  


As temperatures have increased, urban areas of Los Angeles not far from Pacific Palisades have become Heat Islands. The Heat Island Effect occurs when heat from the sun is absorbed and retained by the built environment causing higher temperatures than surrounding areas, even after the sun goes down. There will be significant energy demands in Los Angeles as so many rely on air conditioning to survive the brutal temperatures of summer. In addition, demands on water will be high in this historic drought as crops we all rely upon require irrigation from vanishing groundwater not rain and snow melt. What can we do to help alleviate the strain on resources in our region?  We are able to conserve water and energy for the benefit of those who need these resources more now and for all life on this planet going forward. 


1.  Rely on Nature for Cooling, instead of AC


Original homes in Pacific Palisades do not have central air conditioning as it was not needed thanks to favorable ocean breezes.  Of course there have always been a few rough days with Santa Ana winds blowing from the desert, but not enough days to warrant an investment in air conditioning.  Today, homes in our town are built with central air due to demand for this feature as standard.  But most days are still quite tolerable and even pleasant without the use of AC if we open our windows and use fans as needed. Don’t forget that a trip to the beach is the perfect antidote to summer heat, and not just for visitors to our town.  


2. Conserve Energy, especially during Peak Hours of Energy Use.  The US Government backed EnergyStar Website makes the following recommendation for doing our part: 


If peak conditions exist, shift your appliance use to off peak hours as much as possible. Since peak demand differs by geography, season, hour and day of week, and generation mix, your local utility is the best source of information on when conditions peak. As a rule-of-thumb, after 9 pm and before 9 am are off-peak in most situations. 


During our latest heat wave, The California Independent System Operator, which runs the state’s energy grid issued a so-called Flex Alert to encourage reduction of energy use from 6 to 9 PM or peak demand time when people are getting home from work and before bed. Running appliances during non-peak hours lessens burden on the power grid.  The alert encouraged people to set thermostats to 78 degrees, avoid using large appliances, close drapes and blinds, turn off unnecessary lights, and use fans.


3. Set Good Habits. We don’t need to wait for extreme temperatures to take these energy saving measures on a regular basis. Here are a few tips from Energy Star: 


  • Practice everyday conservation such as washing clothes in cold water, turning off lights and fans, and changing the filter on your heating and cooling (HVAC) system. 
  • Invest in ENERGY STAR certified products, particularly HVAC systems. You’ll have a better experience and more options if you call a professional in the spring and fall, before you may need an emergency replacement! 
  • If it’s not time to upgrade your HVAC system, consider upgrading to an ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostat to gain more control of energy savings and comfort. And don’t forget HVAC maintenance


For more tips, visit Energy Savings at Home.



3. Don’t Waste Water.  Drought Tolerant Yards help conserve water for more important uses such as drinking and watering food.  



4.  Support Alternative Energy.  We have more than enough sunshine in California to meet our energy needs. Many households and businesses have already turned to solar energy to power our homes and even our cars. Experts predict a revolution in solar in the next decade, with solar energy becoming commonplace. In the spirit of community and resilience, Resilient Palisades has announced the Pali Microgrid, which has been covered in Circling the, and the Pali Post. If you haven’t already completed the survey to indicate your interest in participating, please do so here. We hope that the Pali Microgrid will play a role in helping California get off the fossil fuels that are causing climate changeRecently, California hit 95% renewable energy, if only for 4 seconds. Here’s to hitting that mark permanently. 


5. Be Cool:  Join environmental organizations like Resilient Palisades to keep informed about how to sustain our precious natural resources so that they will last for future generations.


[Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash]


Tags :