Climate plan gets Danville approval | May 29, 2009 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - May 29, 2009

Climate plan gets Danville approval

Questions continue about town's carbon footprint

by Geoff Gillette

Danville will continue to go green as members of the Town Council approve a climate action plan designed to reduce the town's emissions. At their May 18 meeting, council members discussed the plan as presented by Town Attorney Rob Ewing.

"The state air resources board and the local air resources board have been identifying different ways that different sectors of the populace can help," he explained.

The impetus for seeking more green initiatives came when the California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted a plan to implement the California Global Warming Solutions Act. That bill calls for municipalities to reduce their carbon emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.

The act sets out areas where municipalities can concentrate their efforts. Ewing said Danville is already moving in those directions.

"A lot of the things that are set forth there as goals, as best practices, are things we've already started on. Having an overarching policy will be a good thing for the community and the town," he said.

Council members were supportive of the action plan, but questioned how the town will be able to establish a baseline of their carbon emissions in order to determine how they are doing in reducing them.

"One of the issues as a town is if we are going to reduce our greenhouse emissions by 15 percent - 15 percnet of what?" said Councilman Mike Shimansky. "We don't have a bottom line that says our greenhouse gas emissions are X."

Ewing agreed, saying, "Clearly you can't hit a goal if you don't know where you're starting from." He added that they have been working on computer models of the town and working to determine what that baseline should be. He said that determining that number comes down to plugging in basic information about the town's energy usage.

"You take the town's fleet of vehicles, you plug in what kind, what age, that sort of information. For buildings you put in the square footage, type of heating and cooling, all the utility bills," Ewing said.

Complicating the process is the I-680 corridor, which bisects the town. The thousands of vehicles traveling the corridor daily account for a considerable percentage of the carbon released into the atmosphere in Danville. Yet, the freeway is not technically part of the town's jurisdiction.

Ewing said the model they are working on should account for that. He added that all of the cities located along freeway corridors are faced with the same issue so he is expecting that there will be some method of accounting for it in the town's models.

Shimansky pointed to the ongoing design work for the new Veterans Hall as a way the town can show its commitment to being more green. The councilman said the town missed the boat when designing Oak Hill Park so he wants to make sure they incorporate green technologies into the renovated veterans structure.

Ewing said the climate action plan has a number of different programs possible. Some of those include replacing heating and air conditioning in town buildings with more energy efficient models

"We're also looking at changing to more energy efficient street lights. And we're going to keep pushing for more bike and pedestrian trails and connections," he stated.

Council members gave their unanimous approval to the action plan although implementation could be delayed due to ongoing issues with revenues.

"I think the economy is going to have an impact and any decisions we make are going to have to look at costs," Ewing said.


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