Tuesday, September 1, 2009

NOPA Green: J.P. Collins

J.P. Collins lives green in NOPA, and he finds it easy to do. "I try to focus on green businesses in my work, green building and renewable energy." He described his
committment to going green while we stopped at one of his favorite haunts, Central Coffee and Tea at Hayes and Central. J.P.'s company, Pylon Studios, offers graphic design and marketing services, including web site and email design, marketing campaigns, logos, and marketing collateral. He accumulated 12 years experience with internet marketing and designs while consulting for CNET, Apple Inc., Harper Collins San Francisco, and the San Francisco Small Business Development Center. J.P is a graduate of SF State where he studied painting and conceptual design.

J.P. does his best to keep his own business green too. He closely monitors energy use in his office and adopts energy-saving appliances and equipment. He's especially fond of his smart strip electric on-and-off switch for all his computer equipment. In 2006 J.P. jumped all the hoops to earn a San Francisco Green Business award. "I had to pass inspections by the Health Department and the Water Department. They assessed my overall energy use, the faucets, the commode." Now he's certifiably green! J.P is a proud member of Green America and the Green Business Network; he served as a co-presenter at the Green Festival.

J.P. spent his boyhood in Southern California, but finally the weather there forced him to move here. After 24 years in San Francisco, J.P. can comfortably disclose his early days. "I've lived away from OC long enough to not try to hide that."

"In the 1980s, the North Panhandle was a scary place when I came to visit friends." But high rents pushed him out of Russian Hill, and he settled on Golden Gate from 1997 to 2002. He then moved to his current home on Hayes Street, where he lives with his wife, Lizbit, an archivist for the National Park Service.

"We like living in NOPA because we don't have to own a car. They walk in the neighborhood, use the bus, and bike together as well. You can often spot them enjoying Mojo Bicyle Cafe, Little Star Pizza, and Candy Bar.

When J.P. first took two-wheels to San Francisco streets in 1985, "it was hell." "There were few bike lanes, and I encountered some really antagonistic drivers whenever I was out on my bike."

Although J.P. bikes everywhere today, when he first took two wheels to San Francisco streets in 1985, "it was hell." "There were few biking lanes, and I encountered some really antagonistic drivers whenever I was out on my bike." J.P. is one of the fit and fearless cyclists who rides Masonic Avenue because it's a direct route. "I'm a taking-the-lane kind of guy," he explains. (Masonic is a designated bike route in the city's bike network, but given the narrow lanes and the traffic speed, sharing the lane isn't much of an option). "I'll be really glad when Masonic gets calmed," he adds. For now, J.P. is a careful, if assertive, biker, and he credits SFBC's popular bike education classes for getting essential street safety tips.

A long-time member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, J.P. engages in advocacy hearings and demonstrations. But he admits to getting a little too "hot" over the issues. He considers Andy Thornley, Program Director at the Bike Coalition the "ideal activist." "He's always positive and he brings good ideas forward."

J.P. treasures his garden at home where he grows beans, beets, kale, and lettuce, tends an old camellia tree, and coaxes fruit from his apple and fig trees.

Ready to go more green in NOPA? J.P Collins knows the way.

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