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May 26, 2010

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San Francisco ready for Expo week

SAN Francisco Week at World Expo 2010 Shanghai begins next month, and Shanghai's sister city is putting its environmental expertise on show.

San Francisco is the only official American city featured at the Expo Shanghai.

From June 17 to 25, more than two dozen green technology firms from the Bay Area will be showcased in the Urban Best Practices Area in the Puxi site. There will be a US-China forum in which business and government leaders from both countries discuss cooperation in sustainable development. A Green Energy Seminar will be broadcast in China and worldwide.

This is the 30th year of sister-city relations.

The San Francisco delegation will be led by Mayor Gavin Newsom, US Senator Dianne Feinstein, who founded the sister-city ties when she was mayor; and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Both Shanghai and San Francisco share the same environmental concerns, says James Fang, chairman of the Sister City Committee.

"What I envision for the next 30 years is a mutually beneficial push for sustainability and projects where we create green-collar jobs," said Fang.

Expo visitors will learn about American approaches to energy from sponsors such as United Airlines, Californian utility provider PG&E, semiconductor giant Marvell Technology Group of San Francisco, and global architecture firm HOK of San Francisco.

These diverse businesses have three things in common - they work toward sustainability, they are committed to Shanghai, and they see the Expo as a huge opportunity.

Ms Sister City

Born and reared in Shanghai, Dai Weili, cofounder of Marvell Technology Group, personifies the sister-city bond. Her return to Shanghai for the Expo marks her 30th anniversary of moving to the United States, in the same year the cities became sisters.

As a product of both sides of the Pacific Rim with roots in Shanghai and the Bay Area, Dai understands how environmentalism benefits both China and the United States.

One of Dai's generous contributions is the new Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) at her alma mater, the University of California at Berkeley.

The new building is the nation's newest equivalent to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's own facility. It will fuse education and technology to create solutions for the most pressing social and environmental concerns.

Her US$20 million support in 2009 of the building stems from her simple philosophy.

"I have two very simple words - fair and care," said Dai. "This applies to my dealings with family, friends, company employees, business partners and customers.

"It has to always be win-win. It's focusing how together we make business more successful," she said.

Sustainability is a goal Marvell understands. Named by Newsweek magazine as one of the greenest companies in the US through high performance, low-power semiconductors, Marvell works with Environmental Defense Fund and the US-China Green Energy Council.

Green neighborhood

While Marvell uses information technology to affect environmental change, HOK innovates through green design. Last year, it placed first in Engineering News Record's Top 100 Green Design Firms survey. Having worked in China for more than two decades, the architecture leader was the first firm to open a LEED-certified office in Shanghai.

"China has a strong foundation for growth of green technologies, has emerged as one of the world's leading consumers and a leading provider of renewable energy," said Kelly Fehr, HOK's vice president and director of business development.

"There is also great opportunity to improve energy efficiency in China, and that has been HOK's strength. Five of the 10 key projects in China's Energy Conservation Plan focus on buildings."

HOK experts at the Expo will discuss US and Chinese approaches to "Better City, Better Life" topics, such as energy, agriculture and biomedical research.

The exhibits demonstrate its holistic approach to design, such as restoration of San Francisco's Old Mint, once the repository of US gold reserves. As the first National Historic Landmark to attain LEED platinum certification, the mint symbolizes of the city's green philosophy.

Contact the San Francisco-Shanghai Sister City Committee at 415-333-6800 or for information about San Francisco Week and environmental initiatives in Shanghai and the Expo.


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