Letter: Requesting DJUSD Use More Rigorous Energy Efficiency Standards

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By Alan Pryor

My name is Alan Pryor. I am a 25-year Davis resident and both of my kids attended Davis High School. I am a member of the Davis Natural Resources Commission and the current Chair of the local Sierra Club Yolano Group but am speaking tonight as a private citizen. I am here to request the Board require the most rigorous energy efficiency standards in the construction of new buildings in the Scool District that are financed with the recently passed bond measure.

Last week, there was a meeting at Birch Lane Elementary School in which the design and construction of the new multi-purpose room was being discussed. At that meeting, it was proudly stated that the new building would meet the newly updated Cal-Green building code energy efficiency standards which are 15% more energy efficient than current standards and are roughly equivalent to LEED Silver Certification.

While on the face of it, that sounds impressive, the reality is that this new building will really only meet the minimum energy efficiency standards that will be in place at the time of construction.

One of the participants in the crowd asked about including solar PV on the roofs of the new building and the response was that the facility would be “solar-ready” when constructed but that they did not think solar would be economically viable until some time in the future. Well, if you have your architect and energy engineers making that statement now, quite honestly it shows you do not have the right people on the job.

In fact, because of the long term nature of the bonding facility, if carefully planned in advance you have before you a unique opportunity to implement a broad sweep of energy efficiency measures to lower the District’s carbon footprint while still providing a net financial benefit to the district from day 1. In particular, that means looking at true long term life-cycle costing of all energy efficiency measures including solar PV with an eye towards achieving true net zero energy and all electric construction standards.

I remind the Board of your promise in your recent Climate Emergency Resolution passed by you that states the District will {Quote} Support sustainable facilities for both new construction and retrofits and evaluate measures that increase environmental sustainability, while remaining financially feasible{Unquote}.

To fulfill this promise, the District can and must do a much more thorough job in evaluating and designing this facility to meet the energy needs for the next 30+ years and that means going beyond meeting minimum energy efficiency construction standards. Thank you.


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About The Author

David 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.

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5 thoughts on “Letter: Requesting DJUSD Use More Rigorous Energy Efficiency Standards”

  1. Ron Glick

    “In particular, that means looking at true long term life-cycle costing of all energy efficiency measures including solar PV with an eye towards achieving true net zero energy and all electric construction standards.”

    But these are two different goals. First is the true long term life cycle costs and the second is zero net energy. What if the net present value of the long term life cycle costs doesn’t pencil out for zero net energy?

    1. Ron Oertel

      “True” costs are never really reflected in the price that is paid.

      That’s why we have global warming, subsidized buildings in flood plains and high-risk fire zones, islands of plastic floating around in the ocean, oceanfront development that will soon by overwhelmed by rising sea levels, superfund sites, etc.

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