Letters to the editor: Reach codes, nuclear power

Stanford prof should advocate with facts

As a Stanford grad (mechanical engineering and business), I’m embarrassed by the inaccuracies stated by Stanford economics professor Frank Wolak, Ph.D., in an open forum discussing the pros and cons of adopting more aggressive reach codes at a recent event hosted by Los Altos Residents on the topic.

Ostensibly this is a great idea: We should have all the facts in front of us, and good policy decisions are based on facts. Unfortunately, not only did Wolak, while arguing against new reach codes, get crucial facts wrong, he did so in a condescending and dismissive manner.

He was wrong stating that heat pumps cannot be more than 100% efficient, and his arrogant attitude was galling. One of many compelling reasons to adopt reach codes is the fact that modern heat pumps are more than 400% efficient. Any mechanical engineer knows this is possible because heat pumps don’t create heat, they move it, and there are quite a few Stanford faculty who could set Wolak straight on this issue.

In the future, he should approach his advocacy with more humility and respect for facts, and Los Altos Residents should apologize to Tom Kabat, the expert Wolak insulted.

Steve Schmidt
Los Altos Hills


Instead of ‘reach,’ go nuclear

If the goal of the reach code ordinance is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, then a better use of city resources would be to lobby the state for a new nuclear power plant.

Nuclear produces roughly the same greenhouse gas as wind power. Currently in-state generated power (PG&E) accounts for 9% of California’s greenhouse gas emissions. This is only slightly less than the amount generated by all residential and commercial property combined.

Moving to nuclear would make a real difference, versus the relatively insignificant impact of this reach code.

Victoria Byrd
Los Altos

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