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Green Building Spending Priorities

Prioritize multi-unit housing EV charger installations over public parking installations.

I work with the city of Palo Alto as a technical advisor regarding developing greener building codes.  Here is one recommendation:

from Greg M Bell
TAC member, Early technology adapter, Technical product manager, EV driver since 2011, Property owner, Construction manager

I have four recommendations to the City of Palo Alto:
1 Low priority: I recommend the City expend minimal dollars installing public charging locations in parking garages and in public building parking lots. Details below.
2 Top priority: I recommend the City direct funds to incentivize existing multi-unit building owners to upgrade their electrical service and install shared charging stations in common parking areas. Details below.
3 Second priority: I recommend the City incentivize shopping centers to install high-speed, Level 3 chargers. Details below.
4 Ongoing: Continually support easy installation of Level 2 chargers for single family homes.

1 Low priority: Trend lines (below) direct us to believe there will be fewer cars requiring public charging stations. EV’s will more conveniently be charged at home, overnight.
– Ride Share: Uber/Lyft provide transportation, reducing the need for private cars
– Large Batteries: Large battery cars can be charged at home, not requiring daily charging at City parking garages
– Convenience: Charging at home will continually outweigh public charging inconvenience (space is occupied, public charger needs repair)
– Pricing: Home charging electricity will likely continue be lower priced than pubic charging electricity. Charging at home will be lowest priced.
– Fewer Cars: Millennials (20’s-30’s age group) are owning fewer cars
– Self-Driving Buses: Buses will provide transportation and be charged at the bus depot.

2 Top priority: Incentivize existing multi-unit building owners to upgrade their electric panel to support EV charging in common parking areas and for future all electric building services.
– Charging at Home: Home charging in multi-unit housing, where cars are parked overnight, is again most convenient. Ratio number of EV chargers to EV cars can be determined with a test building.
– Future Upgrade Gains: Electrical panel upgrade in multi-unit housing has additional benefits for additional electrification of the building, for example: with panel upgrade, owners can install a heat pump water heater and induction cooktop. Contrast electrical panel upgrade to a parking garage has only one purpose, for EV chargers only.
– Invest in alert systems to notify drivers when their car is charged and they can re-park in their designated parking space (without EV charger parking)

3 Second priority: Incentivize shopping centers to install Level 3 chargers where drivers will commonly park for a limited time as they go about their shopping day shopping and then drive elsewhere. Time in a shopping center parking space is naturally limited as drivers shop and drive onward. The need to park for hours is reduced as EV drivers need only a fraction of an hour to shop, but enough time to boost a battery with fast charging.

4 Continue: Level 2 charging for single family homes is working well. Continue this success. Continue to simplify the process.

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