Around Town | December 10, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - December 10, 2010

Around Town

MIXED REPORT ... Note to the City of Palo Alto: Your residents apparently do not take kindly to being compared with one another, particularly when they feel the comparison is based on faulty information. This truism was played out this week as a new "Home Energy Report," devised by the utilities department to show homeowners how their energy use compares with their neighbors', hit the mailboxes. One person who posted a comment to Town Square, the Palo Alto online forum, complained of feeling insulted and chided in "an unpleasant fashion" by the mailer, which ranked each household against 100 comparable, nearby homes as well as against one's "efficient neighbors" (the most efficient 20 of the 100). The report spells out how much energy a customer used ("You used 16% MORE energy than your neighbors") and gives the customer an efficiency number, such as No. 84 out of 100 neighbors, with No. 1 being the best. (The point of the ranking is to spur conservation.) It wasn't the scolding that triggered complaints, however; it was that customers felt the comparisons were flawed or based on inaccurate information. Noted another Town Square poster: "There are six people living here and that amounts to more showers, more laundry, more dirty dishes and more technology gadgets needing their charge than in a home with two or three people. ... Comparing the size of the home is not as relevant as comparing the number of people living in the home." Another person charged that the city got the square footage of his/her home wrong, thus rating the household alongside non-comparable homes. But some homeowners reacted more positively. Mary Hughes, who lives in Old Palo Alto, was "thrilled that we were in the lower end." She and her husband use space heaters and electric blankets rather than heating their entire house.

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Like this comment
Posted by Books-Are-On-Line-Today
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 11, 2010 at 2:51 pm

> Councilwoman Nancy Shepherd said the availability of parking
> at the site make the Art Center an easy and reasonable choice.

In a Diana Diamond article in on of this week's Daily Posts, Palo Alto Transportation Official Jaime Rodriguez is quoted as saying: "Palo Altans support alternative transportation." (or some such). If this is true, why should parking be an issue for why this location is "good" for Council Member Shepard .. or is it possible that Transportation Rodriguez doesn't know what he's talking about?

> Meanwhile, the library system has just unveiled a new tool that
> makes visiting branches unnecessary for most basic services

This has been true since the time the library starting offering "on call" pickup through the online catalog. Certainly any computing device with access to the web had access to the on-line catalog for quite a while.

But it's great to see the city offering a wireless service .. even if its not going to be all that useful, given the increasing capabilities of smartphones.

By the way, Google has been offering e-books formatted for cell phone reading for over two years now. Anybody at the library know that?

Like this comment
Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2010 at 3:18 pm

What tragic irony: “…the library system has just unveiled a new tool that makes visiting branches unnecessary for most basic services.”

Yet we “need” 5 branches.

Ooops. I’m forgetting all those important meeting rooms, community spaces, program centers and all the other areas planned for our “libraries.”

Per square foot building costs at Mitchell, Main and Downtown are $1,022, $748 and $422 respectively.

And where is the money coming from to pay for furniture, computers, and other equipment not covered by the bond?

Like this comment
Posted by Energy consumer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 11, 2010 at 7:12 pm

I, for one, am grateful to be getting this information from the City on my consumption of energy. It gives me an idea of where I am with wasting or conserving energy. It will help me make better decisions about my use. And no one is forcing me.

I suspect the unhappy people are the ones who waste a lot of energy and are embarrassed to find out. Grow up, accept and deal with it.

Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 12, 2010 at 8:53 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Some of the unhappy ones are those who realize that statistics like these are precursors to rate increases.

Like this comment
Posted by actually
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 12, 2010 at 9:38 pm

@Energy consumer

Actually I'm unhappy that money was wasted on a comparison that tells me nothing useful to help me save more energy.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.