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Lisa Burnham~Arts ©

San Francisco's Eco Friendly Transportation

An Eco-Friendly City

San Francisco is definitely one of the most eco-friendly cities in the country – with progressive programs and projects ranging from trash management, recycling, green traveling and everything eco-friendly.  San Franciscans aim to promote a sustainable lifestyle that can conserve and protect the environment while living a meaningful and respectful life in the community.

In an article titled “Visit San Francisco: is this the World’s most Eco-friendly City? “ Jana Free states that “Many people consider San Francisco to be the most beautiful city in the world. It might also be the world’s most eco-friendly city to visit.” She also notices how “These efforts conserve valuable resources for the enjoyment of future generations of residents and visitors.” and that “Business owners and public officials go to great measures to not only preserve San Francisco’s urban and marine eco-systems but to integrate “green” practices into daily life.” This speaks in loud volumes to green-loving locals like myself  who live in San Francisco and are enjoying these values in their own families’ lives

Trash management is widely encouraged and supported by the city by providing eco-friendly ways on how people can segregate their household waste, where they can bring recyclable items and how they can donate scrap materials.  All of these aim to lessen the volume of trash ending up in landfills. See here my family’s waste management habit.

Shopping at local Farmer’s market is also promoted for a more greener and eco-friendly lifestyle.  Not only do you get the freshest produce but you also help support local farmers and encourage them in their eco-friendly ways of producing their harvest.

San Franciscans also know how to get around the eco-friendly way – to ease traffic congestion, save energy and of course save environment as well.

Eco-Friendly Ways of Getting Around

It’s undeniable that much of air pollution is coming from the carbon dioxide emission from cars – not to mention the traffic that private cars are causing (did you know that there are 1.3 cars for every driver in the US? Now, that’s way too much!).  This is why we take advantage of the City’s public transportation whenever we can.

We also resort to car pooling for a more eco-friendly way of traveling, to save money and for convenience as well.  The fewer cars on the road, the less air pollution there is.  Not to mention the non-renewable fossil fuel you’re saving.

We just happen to love eco-friendly hybrid cars a well! It’s not surprising that according to Forbes.com, we buy the most hybrid cars and that almost 1 in every 10 vehicles in San Francisco is a hybrid.  Now, that’s pretty amazing!  Hybrid cars have increasingly been gaining popularity. Electric cars emits minimal if not zero-emission and are proven to be safer for the environment while still making sure that your traveling experience is at par with the best car in the market.

One of my neighbors purchased an eclectic car a few years ago and I checked in with him about his experience. here is part of the interview: Leafy Green: Bay Area Air Quality Management Reviews the Nissan Leaf

The Green Seahorse owner, Lisa Burnham, sat down with Robert Cave, Senior Air Quality Specialist for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, to discuss all things Leaf: the newest zero-emissions vehicle manufactured by Nissan. Cave shares his thoughts (and critiques!) of this much-lauded entry into the eco-car marketplace, and lends his insight on performance, features, and how the Nissan is helping new owners at tax time.

LISA: In basic terms, how does the Leaf compare, performance-wise, to the electric competitors, like the Ford Focus and the upcoming Honda Fit E?

Robert: I have not driven any other electric cars so I can’t comment on how it compares as far as performance.  The big thing that the Leaf has going for it, is that it is available. The Ford Focus is supposed to have a faster charger so it will take half as long to charge up as the current leaf, but probably by the time the Focus is available, the Leaf will also have an upgraded charger. The Leaf is very fun to drive.  It’s extremely quick off the line, there is no shifting gears, so it’s just one continuous acceleration.  Also, the Leaf has good acceleration even at freeway speeds. I have run it up over 90 mph. Sometimes the brakes are a bit weird (there is a delay.) I don’t know if this is anti-lock combined with regeneration or what. 

LISA: Consumer reports tested the Leaf with a cold-weather owner and found that the range panel indicator to be somewhat inaccurate in especially cold climates. Is there an ideal driver for the Nissan Leaf?

Robert: Nissan has also developed a Cold Weather package that improves the Leaf’s performance in those locations.  It includes heated seats, heated steering wheel and heated battery pack.  It’s not really an issue for me.

LISA: For a family thinking about making the switch, what are some considerations when buying an electric car?

Robert: Given the dearth of public charging opportunities, it really only makes sense as a second car.  We use our Highlander whenever we go on a family trip.  But that was also true when I had my Subaru, because of space and reliability.  To maximize tax credits, get the charging dock installed in a different year than when you purchase the car.  Do not pay extra for a quick-charge port, until level 3 charging docks become a reality.  A second meter is the way to go so that you can have your charger on a time of use rate, and the rest of your electrical needs on a normal rate.

 Lisa: Eco-cars can sneak up people. Tell me about Nissan’s VSP and how this technology was developed.

 Robert: Personally, [I think] this is just plain stupid.  My Subaru when it was new was so quiet that I sometimes couldn’t tell if it was running when I was stopped.  Noisemakers are a bad thing. If there are going to be restrictions on how quiet a car can be, then there should be a minimum decibel level for all cars, not just hybrids and electric cars.  The VSP can be shut off by the push of a button (which I almost always do), but it defaults back to on when you shut off the car.  It is possible to hack into the car to turn it off permanently, but I have not gone so far as to do that.


And for a healthier as well as eco-friendly way of getting around the city – go bicycling!  Yep, it’s good for your health and it’s good for the environment.  You don’t even have to have your own bike; there is a bike share program in San Francisco. What’s good about bike-sharing is that aside from the fact that you’re not contributing to air pollution you’re also saving the environment from future waste product of metals and bolts that can easily weigh tons.

A New, Environmentally Friendly Way to Rent Cars RelayRides, a peer-to-peer rental car company, helps to solve that waste of resources. Car owners can turn their idle cars into cash-generating rental car businesses and make extra money to offset their car expenses. On the other side, renters get to rent unique cars (Porsche, anybody?) that would otherwise sit idle and go unused. That means we’re not only maximizing the utilization of expensive resources, but also saving money on all the costs associated with owning a car.

Eco-friendly Lifestyle for a More Sustainable Life

We can all create a more sustainable life not just for our family but for our community as well.  We can make it happen.  Step by step, one family at a time, once city after the other – for a good start let’s embrace a lifestyle that is certified eco-friendly.


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