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Sustainable Development Update
November 2, 2018
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Sustainable Development Focus

ACEEE identifies biggest barriers to zero energy building adoption

ENERGY MANAGER TODAY - Oct 26 Building code updates in parts of the U.S. and Canada are helping to encourage the development of zero energy buildings that produce at least as much energy as they consume. However, barriers to successful adoption remain, according to a new white paper from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The paper looks at the current state of zero energy codes, presents an overview of efforts to achieve zero energy and similar high-performing buildings, and outlines the main hurdles. According to the report, the top barriers include the perception that zero energy buildings require only the addition of solar energy and pitting onsite solar against community solar.


Five projects helping make the case for more urban open space

URBAN LAND - Oct 24 The Case for Open Space, a new report from the ULI Center for Sustainability and Economic Performance, highlights the benefits for developers of incorporating parks and open spaces in their projects, drawn from 30 open-space developments across the United States. Each demonstrates how mechanisms related to partnerships, funding, zoning, and local engagement have allowed developers to support project success while delivering significant community benefits. One of the projects included in the report is Grand Park, a 12-acre public park is downtown Los Angeles, which has transformed a formerly underused public space into a vibrant gathering place. In collaboration with Los Angeles County, a private developer invested $50 million to build the park in advance of plans to move forward with an associated mixed-use project nearby.

Lawsuit seeks to overturn plan that would allow taller buildings along the Metro Expo Line

LOS ANGELES TIMES - Oct 30 A Westside nonprofit has sued the City of Los Angeles, seeking to overturn a plan that would allow the construction of up to 6,000 new apartment and condominium units within a half-mile of five Metro Expo Line stations. The advocacy group Fix the City argued in a complaint filed Thursday that Los Angeles should not have approved the Expo Line density plan without first assessing and fixing West L.A.’s “overburdened and inadequate infrastructure.” The plan calls for taller office towers, apartment buildings, and other developments along Olympic Boulevard, Venice Boulevard, and other major streets between Culver City and Centinela Avenue, within a half-mile of the $2.5-billion Expo Line.

San Diego approves plan to triple housing in Old Town and preserve historic core

SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE - Oct 25 A new growth blueprint approved on Monday for San Diego’s Old Town neighborhood aims to triple the area’s population without damaging its character or historic importance. The 275-acre community is ideal for dense housing because it includes a large transit center and is relatively close to job centers in Mission Valley, downtown, and eastern La Jolla, planners say. But the Old Town State Historic Park, Presidio Park, and other cultural amenities make it a sensitive area where city officials have been cautious about overdevelopment damaging cultural ambience. The blueprint, formally called a community plan update, aims to avoid damaging Old Town’s historic character by locating denser new projects on the edges of the community near the transit center, Pacific Highway, and Interstates 5 and 8.

S.F. considering changing parking requirements for new developments

SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER - Oct 25 San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim is seeking to rescind a requirement that developers create minimum amounts of parking when they build new housing or commercial property, as part of a larger effort to reform a city policy called “Better Streets.” Currently, the minimums vary across the city, according to the planning department, but are generally one space per unit. On October 18, the San Francisco Planning Commission voted to recommend that the Board of Supervisors adopt Kim’s reform package, which includes the proposal to eliminate parking minimums and will also eliminate the ability of developers to make “curb cuts” — driveways and other curb ramps — along transit corridors and bike lanes.

California shopping mall adds 9,000-panel solar array

SOLAR POWER WORLD - Oct 25 Westfield Topanga & The Village has added a new 9,000-solar panel array above multiple parking decks, bringing the property’s total number of solar panels to nearly 15,000. Installed in partnership with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in three phases since 2012, the mall’s solar power system now boasts a total capacity of over 4 megawatts. The project is part of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s global environmental sustainability initiative, called “Better Places 2030.” The company has committed to achieve a 50 percent reduction of its carbon emissions by the year 2030 globally, in comparison with 2015 levels. The commitment includes direct emissions, indirect emissions generated from construction, tenant energy consumption, and other property operations, as well as employee and visitor transportation.

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Chine Jeffrey A Jeffrey A. Chine
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Renée Louise Robin Renée Louise Robin
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