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Palo Alto mayor gets 'carbon footprint' test

Expert analysis of Mayor Larry Klein's home shows it has numerous 'energy leaks' -- he vows to reduce his footprint 10 percent

Mayor Larry Klein of Palo Alto had his house checked for energy efficiency to determine his "carbon footprint" Wednesday.

It leaks energy, consultant Suzanne Emerson of San Carlos-based Emerson Environmental concluded in a four-hour examination of about everything energy-related that goes into a house.

Klein and other city leaders have vowed to reduce their "carbon footprints" by 10 percent, and the check of his house will establish a baseline.

One of the bigger tests involved sealing a door between house and the garage and creating a "blower door" with a large fan sucking air out of the house.

Emerson then felt for leaks around switches, plugs, windows, doors and joints, either by hand or using a smoke-producing stick device.

Emerson, who has a law degree, left an environmental law practice in a large firm after 13 years to found Emerson Environmental -- after she struggled to make her 65-year-old home more energy efficient.

Other elements of her "greening" a home inspection include checking types of lighting and even which fluorescent bulbs are best; recommending insulation types; looking for "passive" drains on energy from certain types of dimmer switches and other sources; and other items.

Klein appeared pleased with the process. One way of looking at the inspection would be that the more energy leaks are found the easier it will be to get to a 10 percent reduction.

-- Palo Alto Weekly staff


Like this comment
Posted by Tim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 3, 2008 at 6:52 am

Don't pay someone "big bucks" to do this testing. You can get it free on the internet. There are sites that tell you how to do tests around your home.

Like this comment
Posted by Howard
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 3, 2008 at 7:20 am

Given our mild climate, it's completely silly and ridiculous to be wasting time on this kind of thing. Just by living here, we are all so far ahead of 99% of the world that we have carbon credits out the wazoo.

Like this comment
Posted by Not so fast
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 3, 2008 at 7:57 am

I guess Larry had to use this as a photo-op opportunity for himself, considering the precedent that Yoriko started last year.
If he was really serious about reducing his carbon footprint, he would have had this done a few years back. Climate change did not suddenly appear the day after Larry became mayor. But I guess it makes a cute story since Larry is going on a "low carbon diet". I assume that next year Peter Drekmiere will do the same thing in front of the local press.

Any chance that he will have time to deal with any of the other important issues facing our city, besides climate change????

Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 3, 2008 at 10:05 am

Bring on the wingnuts!

Like this comment
Posted by GMC
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 3, 2008 at 12:22 pm

Now, what are you going to do about increased crime, and the school budget?

Like this comment
Posted by Fireman
a resident of another community
on Apr 3, 2008 at 2:20 pm

What increased crime. The schools need money? The City is 455 million short?.

No Palo alto is perfect...RIGHT LARRY? Just ask any concil member or Frank.

Maybe it is the Carbon that has caused so many problems in PA.

Not the baby boomers or the Brain drain...

It might be able to telling from this that I know of one BRAIN that was drained

Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 3, 2008 at 5:09 pm

The most effective program for your carbon footprint:
1. don't have any children-people are where energy use originates.
2. do the ultimate-take yourself off the planet-whatever way works. You must be committed.

Like this comment
Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Apr 3, 2008 at 5:35 pm

Mike; Land your spacecraft on this planet.. I have no idea where you are..
I just know it is not in this real world? Not in this Palo Alto??

Maybe it is your own private Palo Alto, Next to your own private Idaho???

Like this comment
Posted by Sean
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 4, 2008 at 7:07 am

The important thing is to appear environmentally friendly so you can brag about it at Palo Alto Roastery or Whole Foods. A more effective test of carbon footprint would be for Larry to check the Made In ___ tags around his house. Does he think all that stuff from China was made in cities, towns and villages where people are especially concerned with their carbon footprint? While Larry dithers with air leaks around his electric plugs, great plumes of pollution are belched from the factories making the very shirt Larry is wearing.

This is about feeling good about yourself as a member of Shallow Alto - especially among your friends.

Like this comment
Posted by Fireman
a resident of another community
on Apr 4, 2008 at 7:18 am

Sean; This is Palo Alto, Truth,Common sense,Fair play and the real world do not count here.

Just IMAGE.. That is all that counts.. Its a story that too many people living here tell themselves.

Hush little baby, everything is perfect here.. Oh watch out, Don't trip over that piece of sky on the sidewalk and then die from a head injury.

Like this comment
Posted by just thinking
a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 7, 2008 at 3:36 pm

How "carbon neutral" is the manufacturing process of solar panels?

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