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Heinemeier, Hallmark Properties are helping the planet

Kristin HeinemeierW

Kristin Heinemeier, a mom who also happens to be a mechanical engineer at the UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center, takes a break from her work studying the energy efficiency in cooling systems. Claire Black Slotton/Courtesy photo

By
From page A1 | April 13, 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 first in a three-part series highlighting Cool Davis’ Eco-Heroes and Climate Solutions Award winners. Today’s focus is on energy-efficient buildings.

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, etc.)
The 2014 energy efficiency Eco-Hero is Kristin Heinemeier, who is being honored for her work on the science of energy efficiency, while Hallmark Properties receives a Climate Solutions award for retrofitting its buildings with energy-efficient, up-to-date technology. Future stories will feature the remaining winners.

Kristin Heinemeier
By Claire Black Slotton

I found Kristin Heinemeier at the UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center in the new West Village community on the UC Davis campus, to ask her a bit about her life and work. She is a mechanical engineer and mother of two whose work is to look at energy efficiency in cooling systems, working primarily on policy issues, as well as technical lab and field studies.
One of her favorite areas of research is looking at the impact of both homeowner and builder behavior on energy use. One aspect of this is an investigation of building codes and the practices and traditions in the building trades. Also, she is working with PG&E and the California Energy Commission to find ways to encourage efficient purchases and installation/maintenance practices.
In the community, Heinemeier is a leader of the Green Faith Action Team at the Lutheran Church of the Incarnation, where they are undertaking a renovation, including taking steps to be more energy-efficient and to educate the congregation on energy efficiency. She is also a volunteer for Cool Davis, and has canvassed neighborhoods to get the word out about a Cool Davis-sponsored attic retrofit program, and is helping to develop and implement a survey of Davis residents’ green activities and attitudes.
Heinemeier is committed to energy efficiency at home and has put her money where her mouth is — she recently installed a high-efficiency furnace and water heater, as well as rooftop photovoltaics to generate electricity. A reclaimed redwood floor, salvaged from old California barns, rounds out the low resource-use picture at home.
When she isn’t working or renovating, Heinemeier is busy raising her 14- and 11-year-old sons to be good stewards of the environment. You may have seen the picture of them in a recent Cool Davis newsletter at the February anti-Keystone Pipeline protest in San Francisco. On the train on the way to the San Francisco, she helped them make rally signs, one of which read “Don’t Mess Up The Planet (I Need It)!”

“My children are my primary motivation for environmental work,” Heinemeier says. Making sure there is a future for them is her passion, which she lives out every day in a number of different ways.

Hallmark Properties

By Chris Soderquist

Reed Youmans called me last week. His tone was firm, his question terse: “What the hell’d you get me into this time, Soderquist? I’m a conservative, not an Eco-Hero.”
Youmans may not look in the mirror and see the reflection of an environmental leader, but his family business, Hallmark Properties, has done more to green its properties than any property owner in Davis.
Reed and his family own and operate the Hallmark Inn and three Davis apartment communities: The Drake, Anderson Court and The Lexington. Over the past few years, Youmans has opportunistically upgraded the properties with energy- and water-saving measures and instituted myriad sustainability programs.

A few highlights:
* Installation of the largest solar system (56 kW) powering a market-rate apartment community (Anderson-Drake) in Davis;

* Replacement of more than 400 water-guzzling shower heads with low-flow products;

* Replacement of all toilets with low-flow toilets;

* Replacement of inefficient fluorescent light fixtures with energy-efficient LED, CFO and fluorescent fixtures, along with smart controls and sensors;

* Installation of HVAC energy management sensors in each room at the Hallmark Inn;

* Institution of a linen program at the Hallmark Inn, reducing washing and drying of bed linens and towels;

* Participation in the city of Davis’ commercial food scrap collection program; and

* Donation to various local nonprofits of slightly used in-room items, such as linens, coffee makers, cups and unused toiletries.
Efficiency, through Youmans’ lens, is not about compromise or expense.

“Conservatives, naturally, conserve,” he explained. “If we can do more with less, we do it. If we can save money, we do it. And, our tenants and patrons subsequently save, while enjoying living spaces with better amenities. I’d rather conserve and keep money in our community versus paying PG&E.
“If it’s not profitable, it is not sustainable.”

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