Talk is Cheap, We Need Real Environmentalism

It was interesting reading the Davis Enterprise on Thursday evening about the City Council’s overtures toward a greener and more energy efficient city. And let me be clear, this absolutely should be a priority.

Outlined on Wednesday evening at a joint City Council and Planning Commission meeting were a number of seemingly strong and bold initiatives including stronger green policies for redevelopment projects and Stephen Souza’s “pre-written green manifesto ranging from cleaner air and water to environmentally sound “carpet systems” and avoiding “migratory bird collisions.”

As I say, all of this sounds good, but perhaps we ought to review a little track record of the City of Davis in this area.

One of the signature projects of a “green” Davis in the last 25 plus years was the 1980 construction of a solar panel heating complex in the Davis Community Park.

In 2004, twenty-four years after the project was built, Tim Townsend, a mechanical engineer specializing in solar power, went before the Davis City Council and informed them that in fact, the solar panels do not work and have never worked. The following is from the minutes of the March 16, 2004 City Council meeting:

“Tim Townsend questioned the usefulness of the city’s largest solar panel at Community Park pool. He alleged that the solar panel does not work and has never worked. He reported that he has spoken to city staff and has not received a satisfactory response other than a statement that it would be too costly to remove. He stated solar panels should be a matter of civic pride and everyone that visits Community Park is lead to believe that the panels actually work. He asked that Council consider removing the panels”

It was only at this point that Bob Weir began to study the problem. At the November 29, 2004 City Council Meeting Weir and Donna Silva, Parks and Community Services Director came back with a Capital Improvement Program to replace the non-functioning solar hot-water heating system at Community Park. This was projected to cost $41,000 in addition to over $100,000 (in 1980 dollars) spent on the initial project.

That report reads:

“Over time the system had several significant operational problems that facilities personnel were never able to overcome. Basically there were problems with the temperature control of the facility as well as repeated problems with leaking connections. For these reasons, many years ago, the system was taken out of service and a conventional water heating system was installed for the pool.”

Of course, what this report did not mention was the initial cost of the solar panel project nor does it mention that this project was often included on city brochures advertising the City of Davis as the progressive and environmentally friendly mecca.

I harken back to this failed project of years past, because in many ways the current proposals represent a continuation of those types of follies. The biggest example is putting the new Target in a LEED certified building.

From Thursday’s Davis Enterprise:

“The city’s Natural Resources Commission is expected to receive a report based on the nonprofit Build it Green program, a points system that tracks green and sustainable features built into a home.

Build it Green’s cousin, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a voluntary national standard for high-performance, sustainable buildings. It has focused mostly on commercial buildings, such as the Target slated to be built on Second Street near Mace Boulevard. The LEED standards also will be considered for implementation.”

The problem with the “green manifesto” is the same problem as exists with a LEED cerfied Target Building–you are doing window dressing environmentalism to cover up for city planning policies that at the whole are unstainable into the future and inherently environmentally unfriendly. Who cares if we place a Target in a LEED Building if we contribute to the carbon footprint that Target is leaving on this earth? Who cares if we are going to build with new and greener standards if we continue to grow and develop in inefficient and non-sustainable manners. If our future growth leads to the degredation of environmental resources such as water that we will have to siphon out of the Sacramento River.

The Council majority of Souza-Saylor-Asmundson are the people who bring us a LEED-cerfitied Target building and were the same people who brought us the Covell Village development project that would have put a huge strain on existing resources including water, that will increasingly be a huge issue. And yet they want us to believe they are environmentalists? Why because they can certify buildings as they build on open space, drain wetlands, and develop farm land? Because not one of them acknowledged that Covell Village would have been a mistake? That even last year, Asmundson running for reelection claimed that the problem with Covell Village was their failure to explain it properly to the voters?

If Davis wants to be a green city by actual behavior rather than by visible but overall unuseful means, then we need to start planning a city that will be environmentally responsible and not just in our own backyards, but also at the regional and a global level and none of these policies seem geared toward that realization.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

Author

  • David Greenwald

    Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Categories:

Environment

48 comments

  1. Even solar energy produces some waste (in production of solar panels), so the benefits need to outweigh the costs. It would be inappropriate to remove trees in a backyard so that sun would shine on the roof enough to make the solar work. There are other options such as buying green energy credits to offset energy usage. Planting more trees to increase shade. Building design and renovation to increase energy efficiency. If Target developed the park area on the north side of the property now and planted the trees, by the time the building went up there would be a couple of years of growth.

  2. Even solar energy produces some waste (in production of solar panels), so the benefits need to outweigh the costs. It would be inappropriate to remove trees in a backyard so that sun would shine on the roof enough to make the solar work. There are other options such as buying green energy credits to offset energy usage. Planting more trees to increase shade. Building design and renovation to increase energy efficiency. If Target developed the park area on the north side of the property now and planted the trees, by the time the building went up there would be a couple of years of growth.

  3. Even solar energy produces some waste (in production of solar panels), so the benefits need to outweigh the costs. It would be inappropriate to remove trees in a backyard so that sun would shine on the roof enough to make the solar work. There are other options such as buying green energy credits to offset energy usage. Planting more trees to increase shade. Building design and renovation to increase energy efficiency. If Target developed the park area on the north side of the property now and planted the trees, by the time the building went up there would be a couple of years of growth.

  4. Even solar energy produces some waste (in production of solar panels), so the benefits need to outweigh the costs. It would be inappropriate to remove trees in a backyard so that sun would shine on the roof enough to make the solar work. There are other options such as buying green energy credits to offset energy usage. Planting more trees to increase shade. Building design and renovation to increase energy efficiency. If Target developed the park area on the north side of the property now and planted the trees, by the time the building went up there would be a couple of years of growth.

  5. How much direct sunlight would the top of the Target receive? Lots. Did they offer to or did the city require them to use solar (like the Davis Co-Op does)? Nope. That doesn’t sound very green or foward thinking to me. The supposed massive sales tax revenue is the only green I see.

  6. How much direct sunlight would the top of the Target receive? Lots. Did they offer to or did the city require them to use solar (like the Davis Co-Op does)? Nope. That doesn’t sound very green or foward thinking to me. The supposed massive sales tax revenue is the only green I see.

  7. How much direct sunlight would the top of the Target receive? Lots. Did they offer to or did the city require them to use solar (like the Davis Co-Op does)? Nope. That doesn’t sound very green or foward thinking to me. The supposed massive sales tax revenue is the only green I see.

  8. How much direct sunlight would the top of the Target receive? Lots. Did they offer to or did the city require them to use solar (like the Davis Co-Op does)? Nope. That doesn’t sound very green or foward thinking to me. The supposed massive sales tax revenue is the only green I see.

  9. There were a few solar/clean energy opportunities missed with Target.

    The roof is a pretty obvious one.

    Another could have been to require the asphalt parking lot to be entirely shaded by photo-voltaic panels. Target’s parking lot is going to be about 12 acres, and like all other lots in town, completely void of shade trees.

    A third is what I suggested in my column a couple of years ago — don’t allow shopping centers to build uncovered parking lots larger than 1 acre. Instead, require them to build a stacked parking garage on much less acreage, and dedicate the saved space for planting native trees and shrubs. (If the developer says that is too expensive — then too bad.)

    My parking lot idea, of course, was ignored. But it’s pointless to worry about missed opportunities or assign blame for why we didn’t do better in the past. What needs to be changed going forward is our minimum standards.

    We ought to, I believe, require that all new housing and commercial developments, save really small ones, be 100% solar powered. (I understand that that’s technically not possible for apartment buildings. But they could be required to install a complete photovoltaic system on their roofs, and then sell back to PG&E whatever electricity is generated.) We need to adopt that kind of policy before the council begins consideration of Cannery Park or other like projects.

    Also, we should consider having a net zero carbon emissions standard for all new public buildings in Davis.

    Lastly, we should consider having the police department and other city owned vehicles be PHEVs, once they need to be replaced, assuming that PHEVs are available. (So far as I know, GM and Toyota will be selling their first PHEVs in the next few years.)

  10. There were a few solar/clean energy opportunities missed with Target.

    The roof is a pretty obvious one.

    Another could have been to require the asphalt parking lot to be entirely shaded by photo-voltaic panels. Target’s parking lot is going to be about 12 acres, and like all other lots in town, completely void of shade trees.

    A third is what I suggested in my column a couple of years ago — don’t allow shopping centers to build uncovered parking lots larger than 1 acre. Instead, require them to build a stacked parking garage on much less acreage, and dedicate the saved space for planting native trees and shrubs. (If the developer says that is too expensive — then too bad.)

    My parking lot idea, of course, was ignored. But it’s pointless to worry about missed opportunities or assign blame for why we didn’t do better in the past. What needs to be changed going forward is our minimum standards.

    We ought to, I believe, require that all new housing and commercial developments, save really small ones, be 100% solar powered. (I understand that that’s technically not possible for apartment buildings. But they could be required to install a complete photovoltaic system on their roofs, and then sell back to PG&E whatever electricity is generated.) We need to adopt that kind of policy before the council begins consideration of Cannery Park or other like projects.

    Also, we should consider having a net zero carbon emissions standard for all new public buildings in Davis.

    Lastly, we should consider having the police department and other city owned vehicles be PHEVs, once they need to be replaced, assuming that PHEVs are available. (So far as I know, GM and Toyota will be selling their first PHEVs in the next few years.)

  11. There were a few solar/clean energy opportunities missed with Target.

    The roof is a pretty obvious one.

    Another could have been to require the asphalt parking lot to be entirely shaded by photo-voltaic panels. Target’s parking lot is going to be about 12 acres, and like all other lots in town, completely void of shade trees.

    A third is what I suggested in my column a couple of years ago — don’t allow shopping centers to build uncovered parking lots larger than 1 acre. Instead, require them to build a stacked parking garage on much less acreage, and dedicate the saved space for planting native trees and shrubs. (If the developer says that is too expensive — then too bad.)

    My parking lot idea, of course, was ignored. But it’s pointless to worry about missed opportunities or assign blame for why we didn’t do better in the past. What needs to be changed going forward is our minimum standards.

    We ought to, I believe, require that all new housing and commercial developments, save really small ones, be 100% solar powered. (I understand that that’s technically not possible for apartment buildings. But they could be required to install a complete photovoltaic system on their roofs, and then sell back to PG&E whatever electricity is generated.) We need to adopt that kind of policy before the council begins consideration of Cannery Park or other like projects.

    Also, we should consider having a net zero carbon emissions standard for all new public buildings in Davis.

    Lastly, we should consider having the police department and other city owned vehicles be PHEVs, once they need to be replaced, assuming that PHEVs are available. (So far as I know, GM and Toyota will be selling their first PHEVs in the next few years.)

  12. There were a few solar/clean energy opportunities missed with Target.

    The roof is a pretty obvious one.

    Another could have been to require the asphalt parking lot to be entirely shaded by photo-voltaic panels. Target’s parking lot is going to be about 12 acres, and like all other lots in town, completely void of shade trees.

    A third is what I suggested in my column a couple of years ago — don’t allow shopping centers to build uncovered parking lots larger than 1 acre. Instead, require them to build a stacked parking garage on much less acreage, and dedicate the saved space for planting native trees and shrubs. (If the developer says that is too expensive — then too bad.)

    My parking lot idea, of course, was ignored. But it’s pointless to worry about missed opportunities or assign blame for why we didn’t do better in the past. What needs to be changed going forward is our minimum standards.

    We ought to, I believe, require that all new housing and commercial developments, save really small ones, be 100% solar powered. (I understand that that’s technically not possible for apartment buildings. But they could be required to install a complete photovoltaic system on their roofs, and then sell back to PG&E whatever electricity is generated.) We need to adopt that kind of policy before the council begins consideration of Cannery Park or other like projects.

    Also, we should consider having a net zero carbon emissions standard for all new public buildings in Davis.

    Lastly, we should consider having the police department and other city owned vehicles be PHEVs, once they need to be replaced, assuming that PHEVs are available. (So far as I know, GM and Toyota will be selling their first PHEVs in the next few years.)

  13. Everyone should know that UC Davis created the PHEV. Professor Andy Frank is the driving force behind the Team Fate efforts at UCD. Andy told me last year that the cost of electricity is the equivalent to buying gasoline at 70 cents a gallon. And currently, we have a lot of excess electrical capacity in our system in the overnight hours, so people with PHEVs could easily plug them in at that time and “fuel up” as they sleep.

    In case you are interested, I’ve copied bits from a 2006 Bloomberg News story, regarding GM’s plans to sell PHEVs:

    GM plans gas-electric car, people say
    By Jeff Green
    Bloomberg News Published June 23, 2006, 12:07 PM CDT

    General Motors Corp., losing sales to fuel-efficient cars from Toyota
    Motor Corp., is developing a hybrid-electric vehicle with a battery that recharges at any outlet, said GM officials familiar with the plan.

    The so-called plug-in hybrid would travel more than 60 miles on a
    gallon of gasoline, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the research is secret. GM, which had the first modern electric car in 1996, lags behind Toyota in hybrids, which combine electric motors and gasoline engines.

    The plug-in designs GM is testing may be ready in time for the
    Detroit auto show in January, the people said. Any commercial
    production is at least a year away, they said.

    “Hybrid isn’t an alternative. It will be the heart of most of
    everything we drive,” a Toyota spokesman said. “There will be diesel hybrids, advanced gasoline hybrids, fuel-cell hybrids, ethanol hybrids.”

    Plug-in hybrids recharge when the vehicle isn’t in use and switch to
    the gasoline engine when the batteries are drained. Automakers quit making cars powered solely by batteries in the late 1990s because
    they were expensive and needed recharging for as long as six hours to travel 75 miles.

    “I’m absolutely thrilled that GM is looking at this,” said Felix
    Kramer, founder of the Palo Alto-based California Cars Initiative,
    which adds plug-in technology to existing hybrids. “They could go
    right to the front of the pack with this.”

    Kramer said he added a plug-in conversion to his Prius and is getting the equivalent of 100 miles a gallon gasoline mileage. He can travel as much as 30 miles in slow-speed traffic without using the gasoline engine.

    Regular hybrids use friction from braking and power from the engine
    to recharge the battery for the electric motor. The motor is used at start-up and lower speeds, and the engine powers the vehicle at higher speeds.

    “Range is not an issue with a plug-in hybrid because you always have the engine if you need it,” said Bruce Belzowski, assistant research scientist at the University of Michigan transportation Research Institute.

    Fuel economy will significantly exceed 60 miles per gallon, the
    people said, declining to be specific. Toyota’s Prius, the
    best-selling hybrid, is rated at 55 mpg in combined city and highway
    driving. The Prius doesn’t use plug-in technology.

    DaimlerChrysler AG already is testing a plug-in hybrid version of its Sprinter commercial van in the U.S. The automaker said in March that it would test 40 of the Sprinters, which can go as far as 20 miles on electric power only.

    Toyota said it’s studying plug-in technology. The Toyota City-based company has no immediate plans for a plug-in vehicle because of the much larger battery needed, resident Katsuaki
    Watanabe said last week.

    The plug-in research isn’t directly tied to GM’s hybrid project with DaimlerChrysler and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the people said. The first GM model from that effort, a version of the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV, is scheduled to go on sale next year. It won’t plug in.

  14. Everyone should know that UC Davis created the PHEV. Professor Andy Frank is the driving force behind the Team Fate efforts at UCD. Andy told me last year that the cost of electricity is the equivalent to buying gasoline at 70 cents a gallon. And currently, we have a lot of excess electrical capacity in our system in the overnight hours, so people with PHEVs could easily plug them in at that time and “fuel up” as they sleep.

    In case you are interested, I’ve copied bits from a 2006 Bloomberg News story, regarding GM’s plans to sell PHEVs:

    GM plans gas-electric car, people say
    By Jeff Green
    Bloomberg News Published June 23, 2006, 12:07 PM CDT

    General Motors Corp., losing sales to fuel-efficient cars from Toyota
    Motor Corp., is developing a hybrid-electric vehicle with a battery that recharges at any outlet, said GM officials familiar with the plan.

    The so-called plug-in hybrid would travel more than 60 miles on a
    gallon of gasoline, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the research is secret. GM, which had the first modern electric car in 1996, lags behind Toyota in hybrids, which combine electric motors and gasoline engines.

    The plug-in designs GM is testing may be ready in time for the
    Detroit auto show in January, the people said. Any commercial
    production is at least a year away, they said.

    “Hybrid isn’t an alternative. It will be the heart of most of
    everything we drive,” a Toyota spokesman said. “There will be diesel hybrids, advanced gasoline hybrids, fuel-cell hybrids, ethanol hybrids.”

    Plug-in hybrids recharge when the vehicle isn’t in use and switch to
    the gasoline engine when the batteries are drained. Automakers quit making cars powered solely by batteries in the late 1990s because
    they were expensive and needed recharging for as long as six hours to travel 75 miles.

    “I’m absolutely thrilled that GM is looking at this,” said Felix
    Kramer, founder of the Palo Alto-based California Cars Initiative,
    which adds plug-in technology to existing hybrids. “They could go
    right to the front of the pack with this.”

    Kramer said he added a plug-in conversion to his Prius and is getting the equivalent of 100 miles a gallon gasoline mileage. He can travel as much as 30 miles in slow-speed traffic without using the gasoline engine.

    Regular hybrids use friction from braking and power from the engine
    to recharge the battery for the electric motor. The motor is used at start-up and lower speeds, and the engine powers the vehicle at higher speeds.

    “Range is not an issue with a plug-in hybrid because you always have the engine if you need it,” said Bruce Belzowski, assistant research scientist at the University of Michigan transportation Research Institute.

    Fuel economy will significantly exceed 60 miles per gallon, the
    people said, declining to be specific. Toyota’s Prius, the
    best-selling hybrid, is rated at 55 mpg in combined city and highway
    driving. The Prius doesn’t use plug-in technology.

    DaimlerChrysler AG already is testing a plug-in hybrid version of its Sprinter commercial van in the U.S. The automaker said in March that it would test 40 of the Sprinters, which can go as far as 20 miles on electric power only.

    Toyota said it’s studying plug-in technology. The Toyota City-based company has no immediate plans for a plug-in vehicle because of the much larger battery needed, resident Katsuaki
    Watanabe said last week.

    The plug-in research isn’t directly tied to GM’s hybrid project with DaimlerChrysler and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the people said. The first GM model from that effort, a version of the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV, is scheduled to go on sale next year. It won’t plug in.

  15. Everyone should know that UC Davis created the PHEV. Professor Andy Frank is the driving force behind the Team Fate efforts at UCD. Andy told me last year that the cost of electricity is the equivalent to buying gasoline at 70 cents a gallon. And currently, we have a lot of excess electrical capacity in our system in the overnight hours, so people with PHEVs could easily plug them in at that time and “fuel up” as they sleep.

    In case you are interested, I’ve copied bits from a 2006 Bloomberg News story, regarding GM’s plans to sell PHEVs:

    GM plans gas-electric car, people say
    By Jeff Green
    Bloomberg News Published June 23, 2006, 12:07 PM CDT

    General Motors Corp., losing sales to fuel-efficient cars from Toyota
    Motor Corp., is developing a hybrid-electric vehicle with a battery that recharges at any outlet, said GM officials familiar with the plan.

    The so-called plug-in hybrid would travel more than 60 miles on a
    gallon of gasoline, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the research is secret. GM, which had the first modern electric car in 1996, lags behind Toyota in hybrids, which combine electric motors and gasoline engines.

    The plug-in designs GM is testing may be ready in time for the
    Detroit auto show in January, the people said. Any commercial
    production is at least a year away, they said.

    “Hybrid isn’t an alternative. It will be the heart of most of
    everything we drive,” a Toyota spokesman said. “There will be diesel hybrids, advanced gasoline hybrids, fuel-cell hybrids, ethanol hybrids.”

    Plug-in hybrids recharge when the vehicle isn’t in use and switch to
    the gasoline engine when the batteries are drained. Automakers quit making cars powered solely by batteries in the late 1990s because
    they were expensive and needed recharging for as long as six hours to travel 75 miles.

    “I’m absolutely thrilled that GM is looking at this,” said Felix
    Kramer, founder of the Palo Alto-based California Cars Initiative,
    which adds plug-in technology to existing hybrids. “They could go
    right to the front of the pack with this.”

    Kramer said he added a plug-in conversion to his Prius and is getting the equivalent of 100 miles a gallon gasoline mileage. He can travel as much as 30 miles in slow-speed traffic without using the gasoline engine.

    Regular hybrids use friction from braking and power from the engine
    to recharge the battery for the electric motor. The motor is used at start-up and lower speeds, and the engine powers the vehicle at higher speeds.

    “Range is not an issue with a plug-in hybrid because you always have the engine if you need it,” said Bruce Belzowski, assistant research scientist at the University of Michigan transportation Research Institute.

    Fuel economy will significantly exceed 60 miles per gallon, the
    people said, declining to be specific. Toyota’s Prius, the
    best-selling hybrid, is rated at 55 mpg in combined city and highway
    driving. The Prius doesn’t use plug-in technology.

    DaimlerChrysler AG already is testing a plug-in hybrid version of its Sprinter commercial van in the U.S. The automaker said in March that it would test 40 of the Sprinters, which can go as far as 20 miles on electric power only.

    Toyota said it’s studying plug-in technology. The Toyota City-based company has no immediate plans for a plug-in vehicle because of the much larger battery needed, resident Katsuaki
    Watanabe said last week.

    The plug-in research isn’t directly tied to GM’s hybrid project with DaimlerChrysler and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the people said. The first GM model from that effort, a version of the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV, is scheduled to go on sale next year. It won’t plug in.

  16. Everyone should know that UC Davis created the PHEV. Professor Andy Frank is the driving force behind the Team Fate efforts at UCD. Andy told me last year that the cost of electricity is the equivalent to buying gasoline at 70 cents a gallon. And currently, we have a lot of excess electrical capacity in our system in the overnight hours, so people with PHEVs could easily plug them in at that time and “fuel up” as they sleep.

    In case you are interested, I’ve copied bits from a 2006 Bloomberg News story, regarding GM’s plans to sell PHEVs:

    GM plans gas-electric car, people say
    By Jeff Green
    Bloomberg News Published June 23, 2006, 12:07 PM CDT

    General Motors Corp., losing sales to fuel-efficient cars from Toyota
    Motor Corp., is developing a hybrid-electric vehicle with a battery that recharges at any outlet, said GM officials familiar with the plan.

    The so-called plug-in hybrid would travel more than 60 miles on a
    gallon of gasoline, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the research is secret. GM, which had the first modern electric car in 1996, lags behind Toyota in hybrids, which combine electric motors and gasoline engines.

    The plug-in designs GM is testing may be ready in time for the
    Detroit auto show in January, the people said. Any commercial
    production is at least a year away, they said.

    “Hybrid isn’t an alternative. It will be the heart of most of
    everything we drive,” a Toyota spokesman said. “There will be diesel hybrids, advanced gasoline hybrids, fuel-cell hybrids, ethanol hybrids.”

    Plug-in hybrids recharge when the vehicle isn’t in use and switch to
    the gasoline engine when the batteries are drained. Automakers quit making cars powered solely by batteries in the late 1990s because
    they were expensive and needed recharging for as long as six hours to travel 75 miles.

    “I’m absolutely thrilled that GM is looking at this,” said Felix
    Kramer, founder of the Palo Alto-based California Cars Initiative,
    which adds plug-in technology to existing hybrids. “They could go
    right to the front of the pack with this.”

    Kramer said he added a plug-in conversion to his Prius and is getting the equivalent of 100 miles a gallon gasoline mileage. He can travel as much as 30 miles in slow-speed traffic without using the gasoline engine.

    Regular hybrids use friction from braking and power from the engine
    to recharge the battery for the electric motor. The motor is used at start-up and lower speeds, and the engine powers the vehicle at higher speeds.

    “Range is not an issue with a plug-in hybrid because you always have the engine if you need it,” said Bruce Belzowski, assistant research scientist at the University of Michigan transportation Research Institute.

    Fuel economy will significantly exceed 60 miles per gallon, the
    people said, declining to be specific. Toyota’s Prius, the
    best-selling hybrid, is rated at 55 mpg in combined city and highway
    driving. The Prius doesn’t use plug-in technology.

    DaimlerChrysler AG already is testing a plug-in hybrid version of its Sprinter commercial van in the U.S. The automaker said in March that it would test 40 of the Sprinters, which can go as far as 20 miles on electric power only.

    Toyota said it’s studying plug-in technology. The Toyota City-based company has no immediate plans for a plug-in vehicle because of the much larger battery needed, resident Katsuaki
    Watanabe said last week.

    The plug-in research isn’t directly tied to GM’s hybrid project with DaimlerChrysler and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the people said. The first GM model from that effort, a version of the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV, is scheduled to go on sale next year. It won’t plug in.

  17. One thing we need to remember with Target is that the City approached Target, not the reverse. This was based on the citywide survey that stated residents wanted discount shopping in town. When that happens, the ability to demand concessions so far outside Target’s normal realm of business is miniscule at best. Any mention of a solar parking lot requirement would have ended the deal after the first conversation.

    What people don’t seem to realize is that while I do believe Davis should set a standard for environmental sustainability and regulations. But there has to be a carrot to go along with the stick. Otherwise, many things we would like to see occur in town that the private sector is responsible for simply will never happen. Some things, like shade trees are reasonable. Solar parking lots are not. The City, I believe has a 50% shade tree coverage ordinance for parking lots, which is pretty standard. I imagine Target complies with this requirement. The trees just take time to grow.

  18. One thing we need to remember with Target is that the City approached Target, not the reverse. This was based on the citywide survey that stated residents wanted discount shopping in town. When that happens, the ability to demand concessions so far outside Target’s normal realm of business is miniscule at best. Any mention of a solar parking lot requirement would have ended the deal after the first conversation.

    What people don’t seem to realize is that while I do believe Davis should set a standard for environmental sustainability and regulations. But there has to be a carrot to go along with the stick. Otherwise, many things we would like to see occur in town that the private sector is responsible for simply will never happen. Some things, like shade trees are reasonable. Solar parking lots are not. The City, I believe has a 50% shade tree coverage ordinance for parking lots, which is pretty standard. I imagine Target complies with this requirement. The trees just take time to grow.

  19. One thing we need to remember with Target is that the City approached Target, not the reverse. This was based on the citywide survey that stated residents wanted discount shopping in town. When that happens, the ability to demand concessions so far outside Target’s normal realm of business is miniscule at best. Any mention of a solar parking lot requirement would have ended the deal after the first conversation.

    What people don’t seem to realize is that while I do believe Davis should set a standard for environmental sustainability and regulations. But there has to be a carrot to go along with the stick. Otherwise, many things we would like to see occur in town that the private sector is responsible for simply will never happen. Some things, like shade trees are reasonable. Solar parking lots are not. The City, I believe has a 50% shade tree coverage ordinance for parking lots, which is pretty standard. I imagine Target complies with this requirement. The trees just take time to grow.

  20. One thing we need to remember with Target is that the City approached Target, not the reverse. This was based on the citywide survey that stated residents wanted discount shopping in town. When that happens, the ability to demand concessions so far outside Target’s normal realm of business is miniscule at best. Any mention of a solar parking lot requirement would have ended the deal after the first conversation.

    What people don’t seem to realize is that while I do believe Davis should set a standard for environmental sustainability and regulations. But there has to be a carrot to go along with the stick. Otherwise, many things we would like to see occur in town that the private sector is responsible for simply will never happen. Some things, like shade trees are reasonable. Solar parking lots are not. The City, I believe has a 50% shade tree coverage ordinance for parking lots, which is pretty standard. I imagine Target complies with this requirement. The trees just take time to grow.

  21. I think people should have the option to buy photovoltaics. One correction, PG &E does not ALLOW you to sell back excess electricity production. You can only zero out.

    Structured parking is exceedingly expensive so we could guarantee that development doesn’t come in. That could be good or bad, depending on what the development is. If it’s big box, then it’s good. If it’s biotech bringing high-paying jobs into town, then it’s probably. Another option might be a parking maximum, but again it is a project-specific issue.

  22. I think people should have the option to buy photovoltaics. One correction, PG &E does not ALLOW you to sell back excess electricity production. You can only zero out.

    Structured parking is exceedingly expensive so we could guarantee that development doesn’t come in. That could be good or bad, depending on what the development is. If it’s big box, then it’s good. If it’s biotech bringing high-paying jobs into town, then it’s probably. Another option might be a parking maximum, but again it is a project-specific issue.

  23. I think people should have the option to buy photovoltaics. One correction, PG &E does not ALLOW you to sell back excess electricity production. You can only zero out.

    Structured parking is exceedingly expensive so we could guarantee that development doesn’t come in. That could be good or bad, depending on what the development is. If it’s big box, then it’s good. If it’s biotech bringing high-paying jobs into town, then it’s probably. Another option might be a parking maximum, but again it is a project-specific issue.

  24. I think people should have the option to buy photovoltaics. One correction, PG &E does not ALLOW you to sell back excess electricity production. You can only zero out.

    Structured parking is exceedingly expensive so we could guarantee that development doesn’t come in. That could be good or bad, depending on what the development is. If it’s big box, then it’s good. If it’s biotech bringing high-paying jobs into town, then it’s probably. Another option might be a parking maximum, but again it is a project-specific issue.

  25. I think a point here was missed–dressing up environmentally unfriendly policies in a nice package (i.e. leed certified Target building) is not going to help the environment.

  26. I think a point here was missed–dressing up environmentally unfriendly policies in a nice package (i.e. leed certified Target building) is not going to help the environment.

  27. I think a point here was missed–dressing up environmentally unfriendly policies in a nice package (i.e. leed certified Target building) is not going to help the environment.

  28. I think a point here was missed–dressing up environmentally unfriendly policies in a nice package (i.e. leed certified Target building) is not going to help the environment.

  29. “Some things, like shade trees are reasonable. Solar parking lots are not.”

    Brian,

    Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know what your standard for “reasonable” is. However, there is a “solar parking lot” at Cal Expo, where all of the parking is entirely shaded by photo-voltaic panels.

    You say, “it’s not reasonable.” But it’s undeniable that those panels there have created a parking lot which is 100% shaded, quite the opposite of our parking lots in Davis.

    A solarized parking lot in a shopping center could generate all of the electrical needs of the stores in that center. Maybe it is a bad idea. But it would be a step in reducing our carbon footprint.

    “The City, I believe has a 50% shade tree coverage ordinance for parking lots, which is pretty standard.”

    Yes, we have had that ordinance for about 30 years. It requires that within 15 years at least 50% of the asphalt surface much be shaded. And you know how many shopping center lots (that are 15 years old or older) in Davis meet that standard? Zero.

    If fact, not one of them is anywhere close. TREE Davis has been monitoring this — actually measuring shade in the summer — and found all the shopping center lots to be woefully out of compliance. Anyone who has ever lived in Davis during the summer knows just what I am talking about. It’s almost impossible to find a shaded parking spot at any shopping center.

    And what is the penalty if the owners of those centers severely prune their trees, so that no shade is available for parked cars? There’s no penalty whatsoever.

    In essence, our parking lot shade ordinance means nothing. It’s bupkes.

    “I imagine Target complies with this requirement. The trees just take time to grow.”

    Yes, the schematic drawings for Target have pictures of lots of lovely, large leafy shade trees. But we have 30 years of experience with those kinds of drawings. They mean diddly squat. The lot owners want to reduce their liability and maintenance expenses, and for that reason they plant trees that produce little shade, and they prune them back to produce less. Further, they plant those trees in tight spaces (or even in concrete boxes), so that the trees never reach their full size at maturity.

    Check out the trees at the misnamed Oak Tree Plaza (where Longs and Nugget are). That shopping center was built in the 1970s. How many times have you found a shady spot to park there in the summer? The trees were all planted in concrete sonnet tubes. No wonder they are still so small.

    It won’t be any different at Target, come 2023.

    “Structured parking is exceedingly expensive so we could guarantee that development doesn’t come in.”

    They’re built all the time in bigger cities. In fact, the city of Davis has built two such garages, and UC Davis just opened one on Hutchison Drive last year.

  30. “Some things, like shade trees are reasonable. Solar parking lots are not.”

    Brian,

    Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know what your standard for “reasonable” is. However, there is a “solar parking lot” at Cal Expo, where all of the parking is entirely shaded by photo-voltaic panels.

    You say, “it’s not reasonable.” But it’s undeniable that those panels there have created a parking lot which is 100% shaded, quite the opposite of our parking lots in Davis.

    A solarized parking lot in a shopping center could generate all of the electrical needs of the stores in that center. Maybe it is a bad idea. But it would be a step in reducing our carbon footprint.

    “The City, I believe has a 50% shade tree coverage ordinance for parking lots, which is pretty standard.”

    Yes, we have had that ordinance for about 30 years. It requires that within 15 years at least 50% of the asphalt surface much be shaded. And you know how many shopping center lots (that are 15 years old or older) in Davis meet that standard? Zero.

    If fact, not one of them is anywhere close. TREE Davis has been monitoring this — actually measuring shade in the summer — and found all the shopping center lots to be woefully out of compliance. Anyone who has ever lived in Davis during the summer knows just what I am talking about. It’s almost impossible to find a shaded parking spot at any shopping center.

    And what is the penalty if the owners of those centers severely prune their trees, so that no shade is available for parked cars? There’s no penalty whatsoever.

    In essence, our parking lot shade ordinance means nothing. It’s bupkes.

    “I imagine Target complies with this requirement. The trees just take time to grow.”

    Yes, the schematic drawings for Target have pictures of lots of lovely, large leafy shade trees. But we have 30 years of experience with those kinds of drawings. They mean diddly squat. The lot owners want to reduce their liability and maintenance expenses, and for that reason they plant trees that produce little shade, and they prune them back to produce less. Further, they plant those trees in tight spaces (or even in concrete boxes), so that the trees never reach their full size at maturity.

    Check out the trees at the misnamed Oak Tree Plaza (where Longs and Nugget are). That shopping center was built in the 1970s. How many times have you found a shady spot to park there in the summer? The trees were all planted in concrete sonnet tubes. No wonder they are still so small.

    It won’t be any different at Target, come 2023.

    “Structured parking is exceedingly expensive so we could guarantee that development doesn’t come in.”

    They’re built all the time in bigger cities. In fact, the city of Davis has built two such garages, and UC Davis just opened one on Hutchison Drive last year.

  31. “Some things, like shade trees are reasonable. Solar parking lots are not.”

    Brian,

    Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know what your standard for “reasonable” is. However, there is a “solar parking lot” at Cal Expo, where all of the parking is entirely shaded by photo-voltaic panels.

    You say, “it’s not reasonable.” But it’s undeniable that those panels there have created a parking lot which is 100% shaded, quite the opposite of our parking lots in Davis.

    A solarized parking lot in a shopping center could generate all of the electrical needs of the stores in that center. Maybe it is a bad idea. But it would be a step in reducing our carbon footprint.

    “The City, I believe has a 50% shade tree coverage ordinance for parking lots, which is pretty standard.”

    Yes, we have had that ordinance for about 30 years. It requires that within 15 years at least 50% of the asphalt surface much be shaded. And you know how many shopping center lots (that are 15 years old or older) in Davis meet that standard? Zero.

    If fact, not one of them is anywhere close. TREE Davis has been monitoring this — actually measuring shade in the summer — and found all the shopping center lots to be woefully out of compliance. Anyone who has ever lived in Davis during the summer knows just what I am talking about. It’s almost impossible to find a shaded parking spot at any shopping center.

    And what is the penalty if the owners of those centers severely prune their trees, so that no shade is available for parked cars? There’s no penalty whatsoever.

    In essence, our parking lot shade ordinance means nothing. It’s bupkes.

    “I imagine Target complies with this requirement. The trees just take time to grow.”

    Yes, the schematic drawings for Target have pictures of lots of lovely, large leafy shade trees. But we have 30 years of experience with those kinds of drawings. They mean diddly squat. The lot owners want to reduce their liability and maintenance expenses, and for that reason they plant trees that produce little shade, and they prune them back to produce less. Further, they plant those trees in tight spaces (or even in concrete boxes), so that the trees never reach their full size at maturity.

    Check out the trees at the misnamed Oak Tree Plaza (where Longs and Nugget are). That shopping center was built in the 1970s. How many times have you found a shady spot to park there in the summer? The trees were all planted in concrete sonnet tubes. No wonder they are still so small.

    It won’t be any different at Target, come 2023.

    “Structured parking is exceedingly expensive so we could guarantee that development doesn’t come in.”

    They’re built all the time in bigger cities. In fact, the city of Davis has built two such garages, and UC Davis just opened one on Hutchison Drive last year.

  32. “Some things, like shade trees are reasonable. Solar parking lots are not.”

    Brian,

    Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know what your standard for “reasonable” is. However, there is a “solar parking lot” at Cal Expo, where all of the parking is entirely shaded by photo-voltaic panels.

    You say, “it’s not reasonable.” But it’s undeniable that those panels there have created a parking lot which is 100% shaded, quite the opposite of our parking lots in Davis.

    A solarized parking lot in a shopping center could generate all of the electrical needs of the stores in that center. Maybe it is a bad idea. But it would be a step in reducing our carbon footprint.

    “The City, I believe has a 50% shade tree coverage ordinance for parking lots, which is pretty standard.”

    Yes, we have had that ordinance for about 30 years. It requires that within 15 years at least 50% of the asphalt surface much be shaded. And you know how many shopping center lots (that are 15 years old or older) in Davis meet that standard? Zero.

    If fact, not one of them is anywhere close. TREE Davis has been monitoring this — actually measuring shade in the summer — and found all the shopping center lots to be woefully out of compliance. Anyone who has ever lived in Davis during the summer knows just what I am talking about. It’s almost impossible to find a shaded parking spot at any shopping center.

    And what is the penalty if the owners of those centers severely prune their trees, so that no shade is available for parked cars? There’s no penalty whatsoever.

    In essence, our parking lot shade ordinance means nothing. It’s bupkes.

    “I imagine Target complies with this requirement. The trees just take time to grow.”

    Yes, the schematic drawings for Target have pictures of lots of lovely, large leafy shade trees. But we have 30 years of experience with those kinds of drawings. They mean diddly squat. The lot owners want to reduce their liability and maintenance expenses, and for that reason they plant trees that produce little shade, and they prune them back to produce less. Further, they plant those trees in tight spaces (or even in concrete boxes), so that the trees never reach their full size at maturity.

    Check out the trees at the misnamed Oak Tree Plaza (where Longs and Nugget are). That shopping center was built in the 1970s. How many times have you found a shady spot to park there in the summer? The trees were all planted in concrete sonnet tubes. No wonder they are still so small.

    It won’t be any different at Target, come 2023.

    “Structured parking is exceedingly expensive so we could guarantee that development doesn’t come in.”

    They’re built all the time in bigger cities. In fact, the city of Davis has built two such garages, and UC Davis just opened one on Hutchison Drive last year.

  33. You’re proving my point. The examples you cited with respect to solar ahading, and parking garages are government owned-operated. It’s much easier to use taxpayer money for these priorities than to expect (or require) the private sector to do the same.

    I have solar panels on my house (2.5 Kw). They are still not cost effective without subsidies. Unless you pay cash up front.

    No argument from me about more shading in parking lots. I don’t monitor the reality of tree shading vs. the requirements. The policy isn’t aggressive if we’re not getting 50% coverage with current tree spacing requirements.

  34. You’re proving my point. The examples you cited with respect to solar ahading, and parking garages are government owned-operated. It’s much easier to use taxpayer money for these priorities than to expect (or require) the private sector to do the same.

    I have solar panels on my house (2.5 Kw). They are still not cost effective without subsidies. Unless you pay cash up front.

    No argument from me about more shading in parking lots. I don’t monitor the reality of tree shading vs. the requirements. The policy isn’t aggressive if we’re not getting 50% coverage with current tree spacing requirements.

  35. You’re proving my point. The examples you cited with respect to solar ahading, and parking garages are government owned-operated. It’s much easier to use taxpayer money for these priorities than to expect (or require) the private sector to do the same.

    I have solar panels on my house (2.5 Kw). They are still not cost effective without subsidies. Unless you pay cash up front.

    No argument from me about more shading in parking lots. I don’t monitor the reality of tree shading vs. the requirements. The policy isn’t aggressive if we’re not getting 50% coverage with current tree spacing requirements.

  36. You’re proving my point. The examples you cited with respect to solar ahading, and parking garages are government owned-operated. It’s much easier to use taxpayer money for these priorities than to expect (or require) the private sector to do the same.

    I have solar panels on my house (2.5 Kw). They are still not cost effective without subsidies. Unless you pay cash up front.

    No argument from me about more shading in parking lots. I don’t monitor the reality of tree shading vs. the requirements. The policy isn’t aggressive if we’re not getting 50% coverage with current tree spacing requirements.

  37. “But I think the bigger point is not about parking but about the development itself. “

    Sorry I deleted my previous post which stated we were discussing the topic at a policy level with specific examples.

    Environmental leadership at the political level requires policies that are well-considered and the outcomes of which we are prepared to live with. I believe these policies are pretty self-evident in the General Plan, but even then Davis residents are willing to amend the plan for projects we like and then cite it as gospel for the ones we don’t.

  38. “But I think the bigger point is not about parking but about the development itself. “

    Sorry I deleted my previous post which stated we were discussing the topic at a policy level with specific examples.

    Environmental leadership at the political level requires policies that are well-considered and the outcomes of which we are prepared to live with. I believe these policies are pretty self-evident in the General Plan, but even then Davis residents are willing to amend the plan for projects we like and then cite it as gospel for the ones we don’t.

  39. “But I think the bigger point is not about parking but about the development itself. “

    Sorry I deleted my previous post which stated we were discussing the topic at a policy level with specific examples.

    Environmental leadership at the political level requires policies that are well-considered and the outcomes of which we are prepared to live with. I believe these policies are pretty self-evident in the General Plan, but even then Davis residents are willing to amend the plan for projects we like and then cite it as gospel for the ones we don’t.

  40. “But I think the bigger point is not about parking but about the development itself. “

    Sorry I deleted my previous post which stated we were discussing the topic at a policy level with specific examples.

    Environmental leadership at the political level requires policies that are well-considered and the outcomes of which we are prepared to live with. I believe these policies are pretty self-evident in the General Plan, but even then Davis residents are willing to amend the plan for projects we like and then cite it as gospel for the ones we don’t.

  41. That is of course the nature of such things.

    I bring this back to Target because it is an easy to explain example.

    Target stores have a world-wide impact. They also have a more local impact. Both of those impacts are the subject of political debates of course. But I think at both levels Target represents a fundamentally anti-environmental policy. Now we can justify it on a number of levels.

    But placing a Target in a LEED certified building, having shaded parking areas, having solar panels on its roof, using smart designs to maximizing wind flows and sunlight will ultimately not mitigate its overall effects on our community and our planet.

    So to me, talking about environmentally designing Target misplaces the debate. And don’t get me wrong, I’d rather if we build a Target that we do those things.

    Likewise adding a 2000 home subdivision will have drastic impacts on resources in the region. We can mitigate some of the impact on the overall environment, but the larger question is unanswered simply by smart design.

    That’s where I see the problem here. It’s nice that we are talking about bird flight patterns, but then we go and build in their habitat. (I’m drastically oversimplifying to illustrate a point)

  42. That is of course the nature of such things.

    I bring this back to Target because it is an easy to explain example.

    Target stores have a world-wide impact. They also have a more local impact. Both of those impacts are the subject of political debates of course. But I think at both levels Target represents a fundamentally anti-environmental policy. Now we can justify it on a number of levels.

    But placing a Target in a LEED certified building, having shaded parking areas, having solar panels on its roof, using smart designs to maximizing wind flows and sunlight will ultimately not mitigate its overall effects on our community and our planet.

    So to me, talking about environmentally designing Target misplaces the debate. And don’t get me wrong, I’d rather if we build a Target that we do those things.

    Likewise adding a 2000 home subdivision will have drastic impacts on resources in the region. We can mitigate some of the impact on the overall environment, but the larger question is unanswered simply by smart design.

    That’s where I see the problem here. It’s nice that we are talking about bird flight patterns, but then we go and build in their habitat. (I’m drastically oversimplifying to illustrate a point)

  43. That is of course the nature of such things.

    I bring this back to Target because it is an easy to explain example.

    Target stores have a world-wide impact. They also have a more local impact. Both of those impacts are the subject of political debates of course. But I think at both levels Target represents a fundamentally anti-environmental policy. Now we can justify it on a number of levels.

    But placing a Target in a LEED certified building, having shaded parking areas, having solar panels on its roof, using smart designs to maximizing wind flows and sunlight will ultimately not mitigate its overall effects on our community and our planet.

    So to me, talking about environmentally designing Target misplaces the debate. And don’t get me wrong, I’d rather if we build a Target that we do those things.

    Likewise adding a 2000 home subdivision will have drastic impacts on resources in the region. We can mitigate some of the impact on the overall environment, but the larger question is unanswered simply by smart design.

    That’s where I see the problem here. It’s nice that we are talking about bird flight patterns, but then we go and build in their habitat. (I’m drastically oversimplifying to illustrate a point)

  44. That is of course the nature of such things.

    I bring this back to Target because it is an easy to explain example.

    Target stores have a world-wide impact. They also have a more local impact. Both of those impacts are the subject of political debates of course. But I think at both levels Target represents a fundamentally anti-environmental policy. Now we can justify it on a number of levels.

    But placing a Target in a LEED certified building, having shaded parking areas, having solar panels on its roof, using smart designs to maximizing wind flows and sunlight will ultimately not mitigate its overall effects on our community and our planet.

    So to me, talking about environmentally designing Target misplaces the debate. And don’t get me wrong, I’d rather if we build a Target that we do those things.

    Likewise adding a 2000 home subdivision will have drastic impacts on resources in the region. We can mitigate some of the impact on the overall environment, but the larger question is unanswered simply by smart design.

    That’s where I see the problem here. It’s nice that we are talking about bird flight patterns, but then we go and build in their habitat. (I’m drastically oversimplifying to illustrate a point)

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