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YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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‘Eco-Heroes’ help get us from here to there

Andy FrankW

UC Davis professor Andy Frank, who has made hybrid electric and electric vehicles the focus of his career, is pleased to demonstrate how to “tank up” an electric car. Bruce Thomas/Courtesy photo

By
From page A1 | April 16, 2014 |

Learn more
What: “Call of the Wolf”: an Earth Day celebration plus awards presentation
When: 2:30-4:30 p.m. Sunday, April 27
Where: Veterans’ Memorial Theater, 203 E. 14th St., Davis
Admission: $10 adults, $5 children
Pre-register: at www.cooldaviscallofthewolf.eventbrite.com
Info: [email protected]

Editor’s note: This is the second in a three-part series highlighting Cool Davis’ Eco-Heroes and Climate Solutions Award winners. Today’s focus is on transportation.

Each year, Cool Davis recognizes “Eco-Heroes” — Davis residents who model how to incorporate sustainable practices into their work, civic and everyday lives. Acting out of personal conviction, they are just doing “the right thing” for themselves, the community and the planet.

The Cool Davis Climate Solution Awards go to local businesses, groups or organizations for exemplary efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As they model ways to reduce their environmental impact, they become leaders in creating options to conserve resources, reduce fossil fuel dependence and stabilize the climate.

In its efforts to work with the community on greenhouse gas emission reduction and sustainability issues, Cool Davis focuses on three topics: buildings (energy efficiency), transportation (shifting to non-fossil-fuel vehicles and other modes of transportation) and consumption (reducing consumption and waste of food, water, landfill, etc.)

The Cool Davis 2014 Eco-Hero awards for transportation go to Andy Frank for producing cars that use fewer and cleaner energy resources and Carla Peterman for her efforts to build the statewide infrastructure needed to support cars of the future. The Davis Bicycles! School Committee is receiving the Climate Solution Award for promoting healthy lifestyles and a healthy planet.

Andy Frank

By Bruce Thomas

“Using plug-in hybrid electric and electric vehicles (PHEV, EV) is key to meeting current and future climate challenges related to transportation,” says UC Davis professor Andy Frank.

The use of PHEVs and EVs allow fossil fuels to be replaced with renewable electric energy from solar, wind and hydroelectric sources, and a little liquid biofuel, without sacrificing our lifestyles.
During more than 30 years of research, Frank and his students have engineered many plug-in hybrid electric vehicle prototypes and showed how they could be efficiently powered using 90 percent renewable electricity and 10 percent renewable biofuel for zero CO2 greenhouse gas pollution.
Frank is also the co-founder and chief technical officer of Efficient Drivetrains Inc., a company that works on commercializing his research and university-owned patents to produce clean, green cars, trucks and buses for the future.

EDI’s goal is to develop advanced PHEV and EV designs that will be simpler to produce and more economical to purchase than the first-generation PHEV and EV designs available today.
Once the existing energy distribution infrastructure (electric grid and liquid fuel pipelines) is modernized and adapted to provide renewable electricity and biofuels for PHEVs and EVs, these vehicles can be economically used for transportation and integrated into in all sectors of society, including housing and commerce.
In addition to engineering vehicles, Frank has been a tireless speaker throughout the years encouraging public, industry and government audiences to rapidly adopt the use of electricity to power vehicles.

“Society needs to eliminate fossil fuel use before greenhouse gas pollution causes irreversible climate change,” Frank says.

His vision is to get PHEVs and EVs into mass production as soon as possible so that the general public and commercial enterprises can utilize the vehicle’s energy storage properties and increased performance to allow enhanced prosperity and productivity while transitioning to a green, renewable and sustainable energy future.

Carla Peterman

By Anthony Eggert
As a member of the California Public Utilities Commission, Davis resident Carla Peterman is motivated by a desire for healthy and sustainable communities that contribute to our long-term environmental sustainability and economic success.
Peterman has proved herself a dedicated champion for sustainable transportation through her work on the commission and as chairman of the Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) Collaborative, a public-private partnership to advance the market for clean electric vehicles.

The transportation sector contributes more than 40 percent of California’s greenhouse gas emissions; so greening transportation by transitioning to lower-carbon fuels such as electricity, and increasing access to biking, walking and low-carbon mass transit solutions, are key to reducing our greenhouse gas footprint.

With regard to the benefits of PEVs, Peterman says they can provide “lower greenhouse gases, lower air pollution and lower operating costs and utilize renewable energy sources.”
In addition to pursuing policies that contribute to a lower-carbon future, Peterman also looks for ways to improve her own impact on the environment and recommends that people look for opportunities to “… get to know and understand their energy consumption and look for ways to reduce their highest uses.”

“For example, switching to energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances and weatherproofing can significantly reduce energy use and bills,” Peterman says. “When thinking about getting a new car, buyers should get informed about the benefits of an electric vehicle and may be surprised to find they are relatively affordable. Even driving existing gas-fueled vehicles more efficiently by keeping tires inflated and smart trip planning can significantly reduce fuel use.”
Does Peterman have her own eco-hero?

She recalls one of her first bosses and mentors, Liz Johnson, who led green initiatives such as urban gardens and green job training for at-risk youths in Trenton, N.J. Johnson “taught me the value of making environmental change in your own back yard and working with the community towards solutions,” Peterman says. “Even in retirement, Liz continues to manage a community garden, which reminds me that a commitment to environmental health is a lifelong personal as well as a professional commitment.”

Davis Bicycles! School Committee
By Julie Sontag
Healthy lifestyles and a healthy planet: a local group has found a way to promote both in the Davis schools. In doing so, they’ve provided a model for other communities looking to do the same. The Davis Bicycles! School Committee has ridden away with this year’s Cool Davis Climate Solution Award for the transportation category.

The committee promotes biking to school through engaging educational programs for kids and their families and by working with city of Davis staff for bicycle-friendly policies. Christal Waters and Trish Price are two active members of this committee, which has involved 1,122 students from Davis elementary schools. These students have logged a whopping 90,000 miles in more than 48,000 bike trips, and have prevented 40 tons of CO2 emissions — and they’re proud of it!
Waters, a former Davis Bicycles! board member, established the School Committee in 2007 to work with schools to boost student bike ridership. Price, a current board member, now chairs the committee and has found that in addition to getting kids on bikes, she’s made new friends and has gained a deeper understanding of local politics and how to effect change.
The committee’s programs promote bike riding for kids in a fun and supportive way. The Loopalooza is an annual, family-oriented bike ride that showcases the Davis Bike Loop as a safe route to many Davis schools.

Active4.me volunteers scan kids in when they bike to school in the morning, thereby sending a text or email to their parents. Parents know that their kids have arrived safely, and the Active4.me Web site allows kids to track their miles and the carbon dioxide emissions their pedal power has prevented, and even the calories they’ve burned in place of the gas they’ve saved.
Bike rodeos: Don’t they sound fun? They are, with their “slow races” and figure 8s, but they also teach vital skills such as scanning, which, when you think about it, isn’t so easy: looking backward and to the side while riding forward. Bike rodeos help kids learn safe biking techniques while having a good time.

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