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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Solar Opportunity Gone To Waste

PollutionCough Cough

In light of the latest headlines in the news about San Ramon in the Contra Costa Times, City hopes to cut emissions by 11 percent in three years, one can't help but think that the proposed downtown city center plan is a green opportunity gone to waste.

The City Officials are so quick to think that this is the best deal for the city that they have overlooked what is happening in the world today and even more importantly what is happening in our own backyard.

The Contra Costa Times reported, "Within three years, San Ramon hopes to reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases by 11 percent, city leaders announced."

San Ramon Mayor H. Abram Wilson was quoted as saying, "It's not just for the environment -- it makes good sense for the bottom line." And, Dave Krueger, the San Ramon Public Services Program Manager was quoted when questioned how the city will reduce its emissions once the environmental research is complete, he responded, "we aren't quite there yet."

Herein lies the rub. San Ramon city officials are looking to reduce emissions, but the downtown center will do anything but reduce emissions. Not only will the downtown center not reduce emissions, but it will significantly increase emissions with the increase in traffic congestion and thousands more car trips, each and every day. Watch what happens to emissions in the San Ramon Valley when that occurs.

Now, if that doesn't make you cough as it is, the planners of this Downtown City Center Design have not even considered the environmental impact of not going green. Not only have there not been studies of how to improve the environment by using solar energy at this mega center, but the positive economic impact that could be attained by designing solar throughout this project has not been considered either. On the other side of the coin, Google just recently installed photo voltaic solar panels at the Googleplex. Google committed to solar energy production because it made economic and environmental sense. The payback period is 7.5 years, and after that time, everything is free energy generated by the sun. Check out the Google Solar Panel Project and the fly-over video.

The best time to design for solar is when the project is on the drawing board to begin with, not after it is already built. Energy is not going to get any cheaper, and the opportunity to do the right thing is at hand. Hey Guys, go back to the drawing board. Let's not let it go to waste.

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