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Published November 16 , 2011

HELP SPARE THE AIR THIS WINTER



The Hacienda Owners Association is a proud supporter of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District's Winter Spare the Air program. Important AirAlert advisories alert Bay Area residents about those days where their efforts to reduce air pollution can make a substantial difference in regional air quality. 

2011/2012 Winter Spare the Air
November marks the start of the Winter Spare the Air season when burning wood, manufactured firelogs or any other solid fuel, both indoors and outdoors, is illegal when the Bay Area Air Quality Management District calls a Winter Spare the Air Alert. Alerts are called when air quality is forecast to be unhealthy due to weather conditions that trap the smoke close to the ground. The Winter Spare the Air season runs from November through February 29, 2012.  

Check Before You Burn
Fine particulate pollution or soot from wood burning fires is especially harmful for children, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions. Wintertime weather conditions can cause soot to build up and reach unhealthy levels. If air quality is forecast to be unhealthy, a Winter Spare the Air Alert will be called for the next full calendar day. During an alert, the use of wood-burning devices, including fireplaces, pellet stoves, wood stoves and outdoor fire pits is forbidden. To find out if a Winter Spare the Air Alert is in effect, residents and business owners who own or use any indoor or outdoor fireplace, fire pit or wood or pellet stove can do the following: Those who burn during a Winter Spare the Air Alert will receive a warning for the first violation; a second violation is subject to a $400 ticket. The ticket amount will increase with any subsequent violations. There are also year-round prohibitions on excessive smoke, and on the burning of garbage and other harmful materials in fireplaces and woodstoves. To report a suspected violation, residents may call 1-877-4NO-BURN or visit www.baaqmd.gov. An exemption is available for residents and businesses that burn wood as their sole source of heat and have no other permanently installed heating source.

AirAlert Registration
The main component of the Spare the Air program is the Air Quality Notification service. The EnviroFlash AirAlert system sends air quality forecasts and Spare the Air Day email notifications. Spare the Air organizers are encouraging any person interested in the program to sign up individually. Simply go to http://baaqmdsparetheair.enviroflash.info/ and complete the registration form to receive advance notice of Spare the Air days. You can also choose to receive air pollution forecasts every day, or specifically on those days when air quality is poor. Enter your email address to register for Bay Area Enviroflash email notifications, or enter your cell phone or pager address to receive a shorter email for these devices. EnviroFlash is sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and provides a number of useful features:
  • HTML-formatted emails with pollution levels color-coded to clearly show the Air Quality Index (AQI) category (for example: Good, Moderate, Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups, Unhealthy, Very Unhealthy).
  • The ability to select a specific AQI category at which to receive forecast emails.  For example, choosing “Good” will cause all forecasts to be sent (Good and above).  If “Moderate” is chosen, you will only receive a forecast email when AQI levels are forecast to reach Moderate or above. Those currently receiving daily forecasts from the AirAlert system will initially be put in the “Good” category; however, this can easily be changed by logging into EnviroFlash. 
  • The ability to select a specific area for which to receive forecasts. Forecasts for other zones within the San Francisco Bay Area will appear below your selected area. 
If you have already enrolled in the AirAlert program in the past, no action is required on your part. However, you may manage your subscription by logging into EnviroFlash at http://baaqmdsparetheair.enviroflash.info/.  

Business Participation Sought
Businesses are also encouraged to join the Spare the Air Employer Program to help provide comprehensive notification services and assistance to their employees. Employers can enroll in the email notification program, obtain materials and get information on resources and incentives available by visiting the employer section of the web site at the following location:
www.employerssparetheair.org. Once enrolled, the Air District informs employers by email when they are expecting a Spare the Air day. Employer coordinators are notified the day before, providing them time to inform the employees at their worksite. A number of resources are available to employer participants as well. Reports, references, tool-kits and more are yours as part of the program.

Hacienda Spare the Air Resources
Hacienda would also like to help facilitate your participation in the Spare the Air program. As a key component of the Spare the Air program are efforts to reduce vehicle emissions, we have a number of special incentives to assist you with the use of commute alternatives. Additional information on energy management and pollution reduction is also available. Resources include: 

Free Wheels Pass
All Hacienda employees and residents of Archstone, Avila, Siena and Verona may obtain a free Wheels ECO Pass to use any time on the Wheels system. This pass provides free access to: all local buses, links to and from BART and ACE rail services, and the 70X I-680 Express between Hacienda and the Pleasant Hill/Walnut Creek area. To obtain a pass, simply follow this link: www.hacienda.org/tenants/tenants_commute_pass.html.

New Rider Program
Take a ride on ACE, BART, County Connection, SJRTD, Tri Delta Transit or AC Transit for free. If you are interested in trying a transportation alternative for the first time, check out Hacienda's New Rider program. Details are available by following this link: www.hacienda.org/tenants/tenants_commute_rider.html.

Energy Conservation and Pollution Reduction Resources
Hacienda has a number of informational materials related to the Spare the Air Campaign.  If you would like a special package of Spare the Air information including energy conservation tips, details on simple actions that aid pollution reduction efforts, alternative commute guides and more, simply post an e-mail to the following address, info@hacienda.org, and let us know what information you would like to receive.

Additional Information
Additional information on the Spare the Air program is available. For details, please refer to the contacts below.

Contact Information
Kristine Roselius
Bay Area Air Quality Management District
939 Ellis Street, San Francisco, California  94109
(415) 749-4647  phone     (415) 749-5101  fax     kroselius@baaqmd.gov  e-mail     www.baaqmd.gov    WWW

Hacienda Owners Association
4473 Willow Road, Suite 105, Pleasanton, California  94588-8570
(925) 734-6500  phone     (925) 734-6501  fax     info@hacienda.org  e-mail     www.hacienda.org    WWW