Sustainable practices in Oakland

In the United States, Northern California is seen as the capital of sustainable energy. The homes for sale in Oakland and the greater Bay Area are expected to feature the latest in environmentally-conscious technology, and can feature everything from green roofing models to solar and hydraulic power sources.

In response to the growing demand for renewable energy sources, some companies in the region are creating innovative inventions and strategies and marketing them toward homeowners in the metro area.

Personal Aquaponics Gardens is a website that helps startup entrepreneurs fundraise and organize all donations in a central account, and many burgeoning corporations utilize these unique services. The Sacramento Bee reported that Back to the Roots is using the fundraising website to support its new venture into the world of aquaponics. Back to the Roots has already established itself as a leader in urban mushroom farming, but on November 15th, the Oakland-based business launched its new product called "The Aquaponics Garden."

This self-sustaining fish tank is simple - it has a garden on top filled with fresh produce, and the plants use the fish waste in the water as fertilizer. In turn, the water is sterilized and automatically cleaned for the sea life within, and owners never need to worry about oxygen or toxin levels.

"We believe this Aquaponics Garden has to be launched - it can inspire so many people, in so many different ways," said founders Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora, both graduates of the local UC Berkely, according to the news source. "There's nothing more important right now than taking back our food...taking back our health."

Their attitude is typical of Oakland residents who are known for their passion for sustainability and healthy lifestyles. If you are purchasing real estate in the area, it might be prudent to invest in one of Back to the Root's 3-Gallon tanks, available in February of 2013.

Plug Power award
In any metro area, the airport is a hub for international delivery services, and American powerhouse FedEx operates a major branch in Oakland. However, since these companies depend on ground transportation, potential pollution is always a concern.

However, Nasdaq reports that Plug Power, a national energy solutions provider, recently received a $2.5 million award grant from the United States Department of Energy. The money will be used to fund 15 hydrogen-fueled tow tractors that will operated at FedEx airport locations in Oakland.

"FedEx continually works toward goals to increase vehicle efficiencies and reduce emissions in big and small ways that are sustainable and long-lasting," FedEx managing director Russell Musgrove told the news source.

Hydrogen fuel cells are still part of developmental technology, but they have already shown proven benefits over their traditional counterparts. If you are moving into Oakland, it may be worthwhile to look into this burgeoning sector.

Algae-based biofuel
While it may seem like a piece of technology from the pages of a science fiction book, algae-based biofuel is becoming a reality in Oakland. reported that residents who drive cars that run on diesel gasoline will be able to fill up their tanks with locally grown fuel during November and December. It will be priced per gallon at the same rate as regular diesel, but one fifth of the mixture will be comprised of Solazyme algae biodiesel.

Propel Fuel, which operates stations in Oakland and throughout the Bay Area, hopes to turn this month-long trial period into a permanent fixture by opening up hundreds of biofuel locations in Northern California.

If you have just moved to the area, take a drive down to see how your car runs on locally grown algae.