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11/15: COTE

Thursday, November 15, 2018
6pm
Free and open to all. RSVP to events@aiaeb.org.

The Committee on the Environment would like to hear what environmental issues (existing and potential) are most important to you. We encourage all chapter members to attend this happy hour and  share your thoughts on program ideas, discussion topics, group mission and anything else you’d like to see next year.

A Fragile Energy Revolution: Green

Cate Leger, Principal, Leger Wanaselja Architecture

A New Local Energy Provider

In November, most residents in Alameda county will join the growing number of Californians receiving their electricity from a not-for-profit, governmental agency rather than a corporate power provider.  The change will be seamless, noticeable only as a change in the billing statement.

The new energy provider is called East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) and represents more than a decade of work by environmental and social justice activists working hand-in-hand with legislators and government agencies to provide East Bay residents with more control over the generation of their power and how the money spent on that power is invested in the community.

Customers will be automatically enrolled in Bright Choice service which will provide electricity with a higher renewable generation content at a slightly lower price than electricity currently from PG&E.  Customers can also opt up to cleaner power at a slightly higher price or opt out and switch back to the corporate power supplier, PG&E.

 

Opt Up to 100

Opting up is one of the cheapest significant steps that anyone can take toward going fossil fuel free.  Both higher cost options are 100% fossil fuel free generated power:

  • Renewable 100 is generated entirely from renewable energy sources, mostly solar and wind, and costs 1 cent per kWh more than PGE’s electricity.
  • Brilliant 100, which includes power from large hydroelectric dams, is still 100% fossil fuel-free and is virtually the same price as PG&E’s electricity.

The EBCE was initiated under a state law passed in 2002 that allowed government jurisdictions to create agencies (called Community Choice Aggregators or CCAs) to purchase power on their residents’ behalf as a way to provide energy options to Californians.

In 2010 Marin County was the first community in the state to create a CCA: Marin Clean Energy.  It was quickly followed by Sonoma and others.  There are now close to two million Californians served by CCAs and more joining each month.  A 2016 UCLA study predicted that up to 80% of electric accounts will be served by CCAs by 2030.

Why is Community Choice Energy so Popular?

One major appeal of CCA is that they are not-for-profit.  Any financial surpluses are invested in new power generation, rather than going to pay shareholders profits, and this generally means cleaner and cheaper electricity.  The UCLA study found that CCAs in California offered 25% more renewable energy compared to the investor-owned utility (IOU) in the same area resulting in an estimated reduction of 600,000 metric tons of CO2 in 2016.

As local government agencies, CCAs also are entirely devoted to their community.  Even before EBCE was providing electricity, it was developing a plan to invest locally in energy development.  In July, the Board of EBCE adopted a groundbreaking Local Development Business Plan which spells out strategies for local clean energy, energy efficiency, and energy storage projects specifically to help address the environmental, economic, and social justice needs of the East Bay community.

A Fragile Future

The rapid increase in CCAs and their predicted dominance is causing seismic shifts in the California regulatory landscape.  One of the biggest debates is who should be responsible for paying the long term obligations the three IOUs made on behalf of customers that are no longer be supplied with power. A recent LA Times article reports these fees are significant and depending how they are allocated, have the potential to crush the nascent CCA movement.

The IOUs are pressing that the CCAs be responsible for many of their debts.  The IOUs argue that they are tightly regulated and entered many contracts because of legal requirements.   Renewable Portfolio Standards, for example, required them to enter contracts for solar and wind power at prices much higher than they are today.  Others argue that the IOUs should have foreseen the decline in demand for their energy but  that the regulatory structure also guarantees IOUs a robust return on their investments, which could incentivize them to invest in surplus energy development.

A 2017 LA Times article outlines the buildup of the current surplus in electricity generation capacity. For example in 2010, as Marin Clean Energy was being established, PG&E secured approval for the Colusa natural gas power plant, an investment that will cost its customers more than $700 million over the plant’s lifespan and has operated “far below capacity” since launching.  Some may recall, this was also a time when PG&E spent millions in advertising trying to sabotage Marin Clean Energy’s start.

While many questions, including who pays for past contracts, still need to be worked out the data thus far indicate that CCAs are helping to accelerate generation of cleaner, cheaper, and locally generated electricity.  With the right regulations in place, this competition can only help us meet our ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals while also supporting good local jobs for Californians.

 

Vectorworks 2019 – Best New Features and Improvements

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
6-8pm
Free and open to all.

At this meeting we will focus in on the most significant new features of Vectorworks 2019 –improvements that speed work-flow, new tools and enhancements for site modeling, visualization, documentation, and BIM creation and exchange.

Paul Majka, Principal, Paul Majka Architect Inc. is an architect with over fifteen years of experience with Vectorworks. He provides architectural and design and construction management services for hospitality, entertainment, leisure, and arts venues, and for select residential projects.

Learning Objectives:

  1. See how to use the new tools for site modeling.
  2. Learn to employ the new software interface features to speed your workflow.
  3. See how to use the improvements to existing tools to facilitate the visualization and documentation of your work for sections and both 2D and 3D graphics.
  4. Understand the capabilities and advantages of the new import and export features to facilitate file exchange and collaboration.

11/7: Regional Urban Design Forum

Wednesday, November 7, 2018
6-8pm
Free and open to all.

Please join us on November 7th at 6pm at the offices of the AIA East Bay for a meeting of the Regional & Urban Design (RUD) Forum. We will have short discussions on a few topics:

  1. Post election round-up.
  2. Redesign of 90th Av in Oakland, introduced by Scraper Bike Team.
  3. The Agile ADU project, introduced by Design Draw Build.
  4. Open topic for discussion (if time allows, bring ideas).

Followed by a discussion of the RUD schedule and program ideas for next year.

Notice to the AIA East Bay Membership Regarding Sidney Sweeney Leaving the Chapter

October 26, 2018
Message from the President of the Board, Mark B. Steppan, AIA, CSI, NCARB

The Board of Directors of the East Bay Chapter of the AIA would like to inform the membership that as of September 21, 2018, Sidney Sweeney resigned as our Executive Director. She has moved on to other opportunities at this time in her and her family’s life, and we all wish her the best for the future. She expressed that her time working with the membership of the AIA East Bay was extremely rewarding and fulfilling and she appreciated everyone during her 15-year tenure as our director.

During her time at AIA East Bay Sidney helped lead our chapter and its membership unfailingly towards creating and maintaining an independent and successful chapter for all of us to benefit from. We will all miss her involvement with us, and her solid and clear backing of our chapter. Our Communications & Event Coordinator Shanel Scholz, who has been with the chapter for the last few years, is currently also handling administrative duties to keep the chapter running smoothly without a lapse in programming or basic day-to-day requirements.

An executive director search committee has been formed and is currently initiating this critical search and interview/selection process. While this process is unfolding, the chapter office itself will remain temporarily closed but the doors will be opened for all scheduled activities. We want to reinforce for all the membership that the Chapter is remaining fully active and engaged with you as best we can during this transition time.

There are a number of upcoming events that will still be happening as planned:

  • Design Awards – Tuesday, October 30
    Please join us to view and celebrate the many terrific projects that have been submitted this year.
  • ADA Day – Friday, November 9
    If you need to fulfill your accessibility training credits, please be sure to sign up for the last ADA day of 2018.
  • Member Appreciation Party & Annual Business Meeting –Thursday, December 13, location TBA

Should anyone have any questions, concerns, or simply ideas about how the chapter can improve moving forward please do not hesitate to send us an email at info@aiaeb.org. We look forward to a successful search and selection of our next Executive Director to lead us. As we conduct this search, we invite you to share your suggestions and thoughts on what’s most important to you. Your patience and support of this process and the transition of the chapter will be greatly appreciated by all of us involved in this effort.

What’s Behavior Got To Do With It?

Thursday, October 18, 2018
6-7:30pm
Free and open to all.
RSVP to events@aiaeb.org.

On October 18, Chris Hammer and Jennifer Tsau will co-present: what’s behavior got to do with it?

As we know, building occupants can turn the performance of a well-designed even zero net energy building upside down. Fortunately, occupancy sensors and other controls do a lot of the heavy lifting. But are they enough? And what about controls for plug loads, in particular? Please join Chris and Jennifer as they discuss how we can we design and operate buildings as well as engage occupants to make sure buildings operate as efficiently as possible.

Chris Hammer is the founder of Building Behavior and a project manager at Brightworks. She combines expertise in building design with how buildings operate–and inspiring occupants to take simple actions to reduce their energy consumption.

Jennifer Tsau is the co-founder and CEO of Keewi Inc, a company combining socially driven energy management tools with IoT and big data to make buildings more efficient. Jennifer is passionate about helping to bring back “blue skies and starry nights” through enabling technology and human interaction to achieve large scale sustainable impact in the world.

Detectable Warnings: Codes

Kerwin Lee, AIA

Under the current 2016 California Building Code (CBC), the requirements for detectable warnings continue to be present. This is in light of the 2010 Standards for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) having suspended the requirements and proposed guidelines for “public right-of-ways,” which limits the use of warnings. The state, with support from the disabled community, feels it is something that should continue. The need for this element continues to be debated. But that’s not what this article is about.

The ADA may bring back this requirement under the regulations for public right-of ways, which has written proposed guidelines, issued back in 2011.  There was a public comments period that finalized in 2017.  For the proposed guidelines to become effective, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Transportation (DOT) need to formally adopt document. This has not happened yet.

Section 11B-705.1.2 Locations: The 2016 CBC requires detectable warnings at platform edges, curb ramps, islands or cut-through medians, bus stops, hazardous vehicular areas, reflecting pools and track crossings. Section 11B-705.1.2.5 states the following:

Hazardous Vehicular Area:  detectable warnings at hazardous vehicular areas shall be 36 inches in width.” 

The problem with this is there is no definition of what a “hazardous vehicular area” is. Is it a crosswalk on the street, a walkway entering a parking lot, or a driveway curb cut across a sidewalk?

UCSB campus where a bike path and cross walk intersect. Bicycles have the right-of-way on the campus.

We still have the criteria of contrast between the detectable warnings and adjacent surface, Section 11B-705.1.1.3. The formula for determining contrast is in the code.  The code and federal standard requires a minimum 70% difference.  That is a 4:1 reflectance difference.  The requirement for the use of “yellow” has been removed from the code.

Take note of the exception in Section 11B-705.1.1.3 under “contrast:”

“Exception: where the detectable warning surface does not provide a 70 percent minimum contrast with adjacent walking surfaces, a 1 inch wide minimum visually contrasting surface shall separate the detectable warning from adjacent walking surface. The visually contrasting surface shall contrast with both the detectable warning and adjacent walking surface either light-on dark, or dark-on-light.”

If the code language is so vague and ambiguous how does one comply?

My recommendation: the only way to comply without much question is to install detectable warnings everywhere and make them yellow. Functionally and design-wise, that is not the only way to comply. These requirements are meant to assist persons with low-vision, not just the blind.  I do believe that the concept and application of “contrast” allows some flexibility. The contrast issue becomes a problem where designers try and make the truncated domes disappear instead of being very visible to demarcate a boundary for visually impaired persons. Use common sense and good design to comply with the intent of the code.

Firm Profile: Howard McNenny, AIA

I began my practice in 2009, with a focus on residential design, including remodels and second story additions. I drew upon experience I gained as an architect in corporate practice and as a developer of properties I personally owned. Many of my projects are in Albany, where my office is located, but I also work in many of the surrounding areas of the East Bay. A typical project might be a small 1920s or 1930s home in which the owners wish to add a new master suite and a family room, and improved access to the backyard. Many are growing families who love their neighborhood and the community, but just need more space. I also have done a number of kitchen remodels, and lately have seen a demand for accessory dwellings units.

Ayala Kitchen, Contractor/Developer: RWW Properties

As a sole proprietorship,  I enjoy giving personal service to these families. I help navigate the regulatory maze of the community where the project is located, and design something that makes economic sense and will give my clients years of enjoyment.  Given today’s real estate economy, I emphasize return on investment, realizing that it is always best to consider the re-sale value of any improvement in the overall economic equation.  My design philosophy is heavy on contextualism  and respect for the character of the existing house and neighborhood, while always willing to consider the preferences of my clients.

I do all my work on the Vectorworks 3-D drafting program, which I have found to be a very powerful tool for visualizing the volumes of the project during the conceptual design phase, and also as a basis for creating the technical drawings. While I have occasionally employed drafting assistance, I have found that I have the most control and actually derive the most satisfaction from doing an entire job from A to Z.  This idea extends to a preference to also do my own structural design—as long as the project is not overly complex.  (I do employ a consultant for the energy analysis, however.)

In private life, my wife Dianne and I enjoy travel, involvement in Albany civic life and spending as much time as possible with our two daughters and three grand-daughters, all of whom live in Southern California.

El Cerrito Project: Proposed addition to El Cerrito home, construction beginning fall 2018.

Albany Kitchen, Contractor: David Collins Builder

Creating Intelligent Building Schedules

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
6-8pm
Free and open to all.

At this ARCHICAD user group we will review steps to create custom schedules such Furniture Schedules, Finish Schedules, Lighting Schedules, Door Schedules, Material Takeoffs, Cabinet Unit & Labor Pricing, LEED calculations and more. Join us as we review simple options to add great power to schedules as well as the power of using Expressions to add formulas similar to Excel spreadsheets.

We will also share best practices for utilizing ARCHICAD to create and manage building projects of all types. You’ll discover technical tips and tricks as well as share ideas for using ARCHICAD in practice.

Boris Rapoport: Allied Member Profile

Boris Rapoport, Allied Member

Over the years I have enjoyed helping many architecture firms with their technology problems. I have gained valuable insights into the business and technology challenges of the design and build community.

I wanted to share this experience and expertise with many more architects, to help accelerate your business while utilizing technology to its fullest potential.

That’s how ArchIT was born in my mind. Now it’s out in the world! The vision for building this company is based on my core values of honesty, transparency, integrity and authenticity.

I want to have mutual trust and respect between our clients and us, and value that trust and respect above all else. I treat all my personal and business relationships the same way – I treasure every one of them.How Does ArchIT help?

In today’s world, to be successful and to get a leg up on the competition, your business needs to consider itself a technology company first. The mindset for this would follow the formula of: “We are a technology company that…”

For example, “we are a technology company that works on mechanical engineering projects” or “we are a technology company that helps design and build office spaces.”

The businesses that adopt this mindset will excel in the future, as technology helps you become more agile, efficient and effective at everything you do. However, this becomes another headache for business owners and partners. Although we are now exposed to technology every day in our homes, it can be overwhelming to think about it in our business lives as well, especially when the stakes in business settings are much higher.

The goal of ArchIT MSP 3.0 service is to help business owners of architecture firms is to stop worrying about technology-related issues and focus more on your business and clients. And spend more time doing what you love to do most – help improve our communities with every project.

At a fraction of the cost of hiring internal technology talent, we become your fully staffed IT department. You will get every IT department position, from desktop support to systems administrator, to CIO. Your organization will need these roles at various times, and you will get them on demand, and for one nominal monthly fee.

Also, you will get free access to a standard set of tools and services that are required to run technology operations successfully and keep your business and your data protected, safe and secure.