Environmental impacts often result from inefficiencies, fuzzy thinking, poor research, a lack of communication, and too often, human greed and laziness. Eco-problems stem from what we do, and sometimes worse, what we don’t know. But ignorance is correctable, while stupidity is forever. We do have choices and they are not all black or white. Those “big box,” “high impact” developments can be managed for sustainability. Of course, big is not always better. But just saying “no” is not always the answer.
Let’s look at some examples:
1. Storm-water runoff from big parking area? OK. Surface is permeable with an under-layment and interception system designed to manage rainwater runoff. End result: Less muck runs down to Kīhei during storms. We all know what a pain that is.
2. Big roof area? OK. Roofs represent excellent real estate for solar arrays, skylights, and small-scale wind generation. Solar and wind generate power can offset facility electric demand.
3. Too many cars? OK. Improve the Maui-Bus system via impact fee-shares and curtail “free” parking. One concept is high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) parking spaces only for multiple occupancy cars and located nearer to mall entry points. Fines help maintain parking areas. Single-occupancy vehicles park on perimeter.
4. Big-box air-conditioning requires new power lines? OK. Design building shells to reduce energy demand and require “core” (tenant) build-outs to meet U.S. Green Building Council LEED “Gold.” Target: Efficiency measures combined with renewable power means no excess power lines are required. What a great Maui Electric Company/Hawaiian Electric Industries partner program, enhancing profit from controlled capital investment (no new generators or power lines) by supporting energy efficiency and renewable power.