June 14, 2012
I bike to work because it's good exercise, and it's zero-emission and it puts me in a good mood. But on drizzly days like today, I tend to get lazy and drive.
Good thing our LEED transportation survey was done on a sunny week last November when I, and apparently lots of my colleagues, chose to leave the car at home. Almost 40 percent of the building's commutes (including those of our neighbors, BuildingWise and Chez Christian Real Estate) used an alternative way of getting to work—biking, walking, carpooling, bussing or telecommuting.
Among the findings, assuming each person makes two trips per day: There were 182 single occupant trips. Fifty-two trips were avoided due to telecommuting. Fifty-two trips were avoided due to bicycling or walking to work. Two occupants ride to work every day of the week. Only one person on one day took the bus. Only two of 35 occupants have fuel-efficient vehicles. There is no incentive at the offices for commuters to use alternative transportation.
A note on that last point: The Weekly may not pass out whole-grain cookies for employees who commute greenly, but several local agencies do. I log my bike rides on 511.org for the Association of Monterey Bay Area Government's Rideshare Rewards Club; each alternative trip gets me a raffle ticket for a monthly cash prize, and last December I won $100. The Transportation Agency for Monterey County also offers prizes for its annual Bike Week in May.
Our 39.7 percent alternative-transportation rate is worth nine points, according to our BuildingWise LEED guide, Levi Jimenez. But 75 percent would have gotten us 15.
The Weekly's LEED performance period has wrapped up: BuildingWise submitted the Weekly's application for preliminary review on May 22, with 84 initial points. If the U.S. Green Building Council finds at least 80 of them valid, we'll score Platinum status—but the final determination isn't expected until the fall.
In the meantime, I'll write a mental Post-It to woman up and bike more often, even in this June Gloom. Mist is more invigorating than coffee.