Youve Got to Be Tough

We had another opportunity to do a large garage lighting project on the scale of the Nell—this time from scratch—in an eight-hundred-unit underground garage planned in Snowmass Village. When I suggested during the design phase that we use the efficient type of lighting installed at the Nell, the engineers we had hired came up with a reason for not using it that I hadn't heard yet.

"There was a garage in Oakland where someone used a baseball bat to knock out those fixtures. Then the guy attacked someone."

"Hmmm .. . Snowmass isn't exactly Oakland, but couldn't you use a bat to knock out any kind of fixture?"

"Well. . . yes. But you still don't want to use that kind of fixture. You can't pressure-wash the ceiling of the garage if you use it."

"In human history, has anyone ever pressure-washed the ceiling of a garage?"

This exchange was an "Aha!" moment for me. These guys didn't want to use different lights. Period. It had nothing to do with anything other than not wanting to change.

There are no silver bullets to help you get past this sort of resistance other than grit, doggedness, and determination. But that realization in itself is enlightened thinking. Why? Because nothing in your training, nothing in the literature, nothing the consultants or the government agencies tells you about sustainability says, "You have to be tough—you have to be a bulldog." You'll never hear a consultant say, "There's no way around this—you have to beat those guys down with a lead pipe or outlast them. Bring a football helmet and a battle ax." But it's true.

That's why the best advocate for any given project resembles Dog the Bounty Hunter more than Mr. Science. For me, the role model for winning these battles (and we did win this one—there are superefficient ceramic metal halide fixtures in this garage now) is Jimmy Connors in the 1983 U.S. Open. He won that championship even though diarrhea forced him to leave the court several times to go to a bathroom. "It wasn't quite as beautiful as some other finals I have played," Connors told Ross Atkin of the Christian Science Monitor in September 1983. "And maybe wasn't the best match to look at, but it got the job done."

That's the kind of grit you need. The technology exists, and what's missing is the will.

To find the will, sometimes you need a melon launcher.

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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