A Bright Side to a Solar Slugfest

When the new energy code went into effect on January 1st, one of the provisions that gained a lot of press was the new mandate for solar on every new California home.  In the footnotes were a couple of exceptions.  One was ‘infeasibility’ with a strict documentation script to insure it would be rarely used.  The other was “approved community solar” – which in theory could provide the flexibility and cost efficiency of managed solar ownership, while still providing homeowners with benefits of solar savings and contribution toward climate action. 

The problem with community solar: although one such plan was submitted last year, it was not approved.  While the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) ‘Solar Shares’ proposal drew wide support from both CEC staff as well as many organizations and stakeholders (including AIACA), there was also wide opposition from the solar industry and others.

Fast forward to the Energy Commission hearing on February 20th  when a revised SMUD Solar Shares was back on the agenda.  There was so much interest in this item that a special ‘fixed start time’ was set on the agenda.  The normally relatively staid CEC hearing room filled to overflowing, and detailed and very passionate arguments went back and forth – most limited to one minute – extending for over three hours in total.  It’s all on youtube if you’re interested to see the at times dramatic testimony https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fF-ljl0BBd8 where government and industry captains, business and nonprofit leaders, legislators and staffers; scientists and professionals; workers, students, and homemakers; one by one offered so many nuanced perspectives, analyses, and viewpoints.  The debate swung back and forth for hours. 

When the hearing was finally over, the Commission discussed at length, and finally voted unanimously for approval.   AIA California can check this off as an advocacy ‘win’ as we were at the table with a message of concern for the urgent need for powerful climate action; and the need for flexibility to make sure everyone can contribute.  We cited our own investment: AIACA has already signed up for Solar Shares for our new headquarters, since our leased building does not give us the option of rooftop solar and we wanted voluntarily to contribute renewable energy. 

Now that the dust has settled, looking back what was most striking was not the 100% of the commission behind approval. 

What was most striking was that in spite of the fierce debate around nuances of the Solar Shares program, 100% of the opinions on both sides of the argument supported urgent solar action. 

 

That’s a consensus that bodes well for climate action!

 

Michael F. Malinowski FAIA   

 

Notes from Carbon Positive 2020

Los Angeles March 2,3,4 2020 Michael F. Malinowski FAIA

Notes from the 2020 Carbon Positive Conference

The 2020 Carbon Positive Conference at the Intercontinental in downtown LA was well attended with hundreds of architects, activists, and experts from all over the world sharing insights, information and strategy. As Covid19 shifted handshakes to fist and elbow bumps, the urgency of climate action was palpable and constant. Over the three days, I found the speakers uniformly expert and compelling; the topics spanning the breadth and depth of the crisis ahead that calls us to action.

A sampling from my notes and scribbles:

“As an organization, we’ve pivoted and are addressing Climate Action as both a FOCUS and a FRAMEWORK to guide our efforts. We’re weaving this important issue into everything we do …” Debra Gerod FAIA AIACA President

The climate crisis is daunting, but it is also a call to action … a reminder of the fundamental duty of architects to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. There is no greater threat, and therefore no greater opportunity to do what we do best …”

Robert Ivy FAIA AIA EVP/CEO

“Don’t ask what will happen. Be what happens” … quoting historian and activist Rebecca Solnit Jane Frederick, FAIA                                      AIA 2020 President

“The most powerful instrument for change on the planet … is the stroke of a designer’s pen”

Ed Mazria FAIA Founder Architecture 2030

“A 0.2% difference in the loan rate from one bank for a green construction loan was enough incentive to influence the carbon outcome and shift the marketplace”

(referencing the margin supported by the innovative and comprehensive EDGE software developed by IFC and used worldwide

Paeshant Kapoor IFC at the World Bank Group

Forest provide 73% of the mitigation from natural climate solutions.

Mark Wishnie, Nature Conservancy

‘Using timber actually incentivizes forest stewardship. For every tree cut in north America, three trees are planted” Referencing the carbon sequestration benefits of Mass Timber

Jennifer Cover Woodworks

“Growing up, who would have thought we’d be attending a conference about saving the world”

Ned Cramer Architect Magazine

“Natural Gas is the number one driver of climate change.”

methane is 84 times more potent than CO2 for climate degradation, and gas leaks from the distribution system are endemic, averaging one leak per mile in Boston for example

Panama Barthomay, Building Decarbonization Coalition

“.. the way we now typically design large buildings, they become uninhabitable when disconnected from fossil fuels” … “most building that will be here in 2050 are here right now”… “lets do what MASS Design does in Africa right here: love the buildings we have”

Carl Elefante FAIA Quinn Evans

“We need new disruptors … Business as usual is killing us …

It’s both system change and personal change. We must all rebel. Being professional does not mean being indifferent…

2030 is the new 2050 …

COV19 shows what an emergency response looks like …

We are in the midst of a mass extinction of our own making”

Farhana Yamin Track 0

Remove Less    reuse buildings must be prioritized over demolition fix broken things, buildings, places to keep embodied carbon investments intact

My takeaway outline of Climate Action for this architect

Remove Less    reuse buildings must be prioritized over demolition fix broken things, buildings, places to keep embodied carbon investments intact

Move Less develop further the many robust tools we have to allow virtual meetings, to avoid the carbon costs of flying and transit

Use Less increase efficiency of our building and fabrication process to eliminate waste)

Emit Less learn to make the smart carbon choices; research and apply the growing body of tools and resources that can support daily climate action in practice

CODA

I decided to make my ‘airport to downtown’ connection ‘low carbon’ … and found the biggest challenge was simple wayfinding (thank goodness for cellphone google). Once I figured out which bus would get me to the subway, I was kind of shocked that I was the only passenger on a huge cranky old hauler that got me to the Red Line. From there it was easy.

Conclusion: no extra time, and savings in carbon and cash … and another move toward a personal ‘new normal’ of everyday climate action.

MF Malinowski FAIA  March 6 2020

A Beast is Gone

Once this was a start of the art, whiz bang amazing piece of hardware, aquired for thousands of dollars, helping create a great many cool visuals and copies … but gradually it lost it’s luster, until finally it was just a giant beast, weighing hundreds of pounds, awaiting some new fate or adventure.  Today – thanks to craigs list- the beast found a new place to lurk.  I helped it along … grunting along with the new

owner to push it up a ramp onto a trailer.  Bye bye beast!

More Customer Kudos :)

Hi Mike, We are excited to be very nearly done with all projects. I will send a couple of pictures in a separate email but since Frank and crew just finished last week and we are just now starting to move into the space, it doesn’t look its House Beautiful best yet. We are very pleased with the space, your design, and how everything looks. … And it came in on budget.

    Thanks to both you and Dane for everything you did for us, we really appreciate the responsiveness from you both at crunch times. We can’t believe it’s over a year since we moved into this house and that we are finally more less done with it. I’ll send a few more pictures when we get the furniture moved in and curtains up. Thanks again,

Jan

Kudos from a customer: warms the heart

Hi Mike,

…. I was very pleased to work with Joe Montalvo and his team of tradesmen.  I credit him with the way costs were contained; they ended  up being very close to the estimates and allowances we assembled last July.  There were surprises and complications along the way of course, but we worked together to solve problems.  There is one more inspection and Joe won’t call for it until fans are installed in the crawlspace as specified.  The cost of the project came out to be very close to your estimate of nearly a year ago, when initial discussions were leading up to actual drawings and specifications.

 

The remodel has improved the look of the house immensely.  The reconfigured interior space is great, and we really like the Velux skylights you recommended.  I will soon have new furniture and then the space can begin to feel like home again.  The patio is especially terrific.  Reorienting it along the long axis of the house, under the new trusses has made a huge difference in function and appearance. 

 

Many thanks for getting us to this point.  The house is a better fit now, and we should have many good years to enjoy it.

 

Judy

 

Ali Youssefi: a Great Mind is with us no longer

Our City – and urban areas everywhere – suffered a great loss when Ali Youssefi passed away. At only 35, Ali was already shaping our urban landscape in profound ways, and his influence will resonate for decades. Michael F. Malinowski FAIA President, Applied Architecture Inc President Streamline Institute Inc 2016 AIA California President 2012-2014 AIA National Director 2008 President AIA Central Valley 2007 Chair Sacramento Development Oversight Commission 2550 X Street Sacramento CA 95818 Corner of 26th and X 916 456 2656 voice 916 456 1050 fax mfm@appliedarts.net> mfm@appliedarts.net www.appliedarchitecture.net 38 years of sensitive and sensible architectural solutions ü Please consider the environment before printing this email. pdf icon Artists-Politicians-And-City-Mourn-Loss-Of-Developer-Ali-Youssefi-«-CBS….pdf

A young Champion for urban revitalization is suddenly gone

We have had the honor of working with Ali Youssefi on many urban infill projects … what a tragedy that he is gone so early in his career! Google R Street Sacramento Daily update ⋅ March 11, 2018 NEWS Local developer Ali Youssefi dies Sacramento Business Journal The projects in which he played a direct role include the popular mixed-use affordable housing project for artists Warehouse Artist Lofts, on R Street in Sacramento. He also developed adaptive reuse affordable housing project Globe Street Mills in north downtown Sacramento, and helped restore the … Sacramento developer Ali Youssefi, instrumental in downtown resurgence, dies at age 35 – Sacramento Bee Full Coverage Google Plus Facebook Twitter Flag as irrelevant

QArts Coming to R Street

The QArts will be a major addition to the work of Applied Architecture, leveraging the firm’s nearby Warehouse Artist Lofts, R Street Public Market, Amaro, Bottle and Barlow and more. Applied Architecture has been one of the most active firms in laying the foundation for R Street’s lively mix of edgy loft housing, art and design, restaurant, entertainment and retail.

Nicasio Lane on the Market!

Applied Architecture is excited to see successful completion of our designs for the new homes on Nicasio Lane. This neo-craftsman courtyard was developed by Tom Vilhauer, a block from our offices on 27th Street just off Broadway. Michael F. Malinowski FAIA President, Applied Architecture Inc President Streamline Institute Inc Contributing Editor California Buildings News 2016 AIA California President 2012-2014 AIA National Director 2008 President AIA Central Valley 2007 Chair Sacramento Development Oversight Commission 2550 X Street Sacramento CA 95818 Corner of 26th and X 916 456 2656 voice 916 456 1050 fax mfm@appliedarts.net> mfm@appliedarts.net www.appliedarchitecture.net 37 years of sensitive and sensible architectural solutions ü Please consider the environment before printing this email.

Interior of the Residential Lobby of the Bel-Vue

Applied Architecture is bringing a classic design sensibility to the interior of the Historic Bel-Vue. Tenants are going to be able to enjoy a prime downtown location, just a block from the arena and all the nightlife restaurants and action . and balance that with a thoughtful conversation or serenely quiet read in the well appointed lobby which brings back the historic crown molding and double height ceilings.

Bringing a National Register Landmark back to life

The latest adventure that capitalizes on the unique skills of Applied Architecture and CFY Development: bringing the long abandoned Bel-Vue back to Life! This National Register listed historic treasure will once again be a thriving place to live, dine and contribute to the lively Downtown Sacramento scene! In Permit Processing now with construction to launch this Summer.

Applied Architecture: working behind the scenes on Sacramento most important retail development in decades

Michael F Malinowski FAIA of Applied Architecture was pleased to be a foundational member of the design team for the upcoming Boulevard Retail project at Fair Oaks and Howe. This infill site being developed by Petrovich Inc is the highest visibility intersection in the region. The project was designed to be ‘one of a kind’ from the ground, with Applied Architecture crafting the nuanced details of the developer’s selected ‘Tuscan’ theme.

Sold out Emerging Professionals Tour of the Warehouse Artist Lofts

2017 04 02 MFM leads Emerging Professionals on a discovery tour of the warehouse artist lofts Michael F. Malinowski FAIA President, Applied Architecture Inc President Streamline Institute Inc Contributing Editor California Buildings News 2016 AIA California President 2012-2014 AIA National Director 2008 President AIA Central Valley 2007 Chair Sacramento Development Oversight Commission 2550 X Street Sacramento CA 95818 Corner of 26th and X 916 456 2656 voice 916 456 1050 fax mfm@appliedarts.net> mfm@appliedarts.net www.appliedarchitecture.net 37 years of sensitive and sensible architectural solutions ü Please consider the environment before printing this email.