Henry Siegel is the founding principal at local architecture firm Siegel & Strain. His firm was involved in the construction of the LEED-Platinum Brower Center in downtown Berkeley and he has worked on the development of the LEED standards themselves.
In an op-ed piece published in Berkeleyside’s Opinionator section, Siegel argues that the proposed Measure R will make downtown less green, despite what its proponents argue. The “fixes” will “unfix” the Downtown Area Plan ratified by voters in another Measure R in 2010, he writes.
By requiring most tall buildings to be LEED Platinum instead of the now-required LEED Gold, fewer buildings will be constructed, said Siegel.
And the single most important factor in reducing carbon output is increased density, he argues. “People living downtown, near BART and work, use half the energy per capita of people who live in the suburbs or in other parts of Berkeley. Transportation energy used by people who commute to office buildings exceeds the energy to run those buildings by 30% to 100%. The math is pretty simple: more LEED Gold buildings will, when you include transportation energy in the calculation, save more energy than fewer LEED Platinum buildings.”