First Takes: Diversey Improves Water Use, Solar Enhances Home Values, & More ...

• Diversey Makes Gains on Water Use and Efficiency: Diversey reported its sustainability performance for 2010 today. At first glance, it appears the company reduced total water use in its operations by 4 percent, while net water use, which denotes water-use efficiency at a location, improved by 8 percent. Total energy use was little changed from the year before, but waste disposed to landfills, incineration or other non-beneficial use soared 45 percent. "This increase was primarily driven by the full operation of new onsite wastewater treatment plants at our India and China manufacturing locations. While these treatment plants allow Diversey to effectively treat our industrial wastewater to meet or exceed local discharge requirements, they also generate solid waste that requires off-site disposal."

• Home Property Values Get a Boost from Solar: Homes that have solar photovoltaic (PV) systems command higher sales prices than those without, Jetson Green reports. A study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory compared 2,000 PV homes with 70,000 non-PV homes, finding that on average, a solar energy system added roughly $5.50 per watt to the resale value. The bottom line: The cost of the system will likely be recouped when the house is sold, plus you get clean energy and associated cost-savings from installation to sale.

• Fresh & Easy Taps Into CNG: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market will lease 25 heavy duty compressed natural gas (CNG) truck for its Southern California fleet. The trucks, which produce up to 30 percent less emissions than their conventional diesel counterparts, will be furnished by Ryder System Inc. through its $38.7 million CNG project with the U.S. Department of Energy, the California Energy Commission and the Southern California Association of Governments Clean Cities Coalition. "When we can reduce our operating costs through more efficient transportation technologies like natural gas, we can pass those savings on to our customers," Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason said in a statement.

• California Moves to Protect Smart Grid Privacy: The state Public Utility Commission (CPUC) has adopted new security and privacy rules for the millions of smart meters that have been deployed in the state, Solve Climate reports. The CPUC hopes to spare consumers the the type of security lapses we've seen other wireless systems, such as credit card payment systems. "The rules and policies we've adopted are the first such in the nation and should serve as a national model," CPUC president Michael Peevey said in a statement.

• LA Adopts Policy to Make Transportation Construction Greener: In Southern California, Los Angeles' public transit agency, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), is aiming high with its 30/10 initiative designed to complete 30 years worth of public transit projects in just a decade. Yesterday the agency adopted a Green Construction Policy that requires all that construction -- think vehicles, generators and equipment -- will meet clean air standards. While this is great news for the city, as Morgan Wyenn explains in a blog at the NRDC Switchboard blog, the policy could be even more effective if it is applied beyond projects on Metro property to others funded by the agency, such as those administered through Caltrans.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Yampy Yankee High Dynamic Ranger.