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Friday, March 29, 2019

Letter to the Tattler: Eugene Tssui

Eugene Tssui: 
Christie Avenue's Onni Tower 
"...A Lethal Environmental Catastrophe Waiting to Happen"

I am writing in response to the proposed 54 story building known as the Onni Tower, and the 
16 story ancillary building, to be located on Christie Avenue, next to the current Wells
 Fargo bank building and FedEx/Kinkos building.

The Onni Tower
At nearly 700 feet tall, the Onni Project will add
some 1,100 new renters to Emeryville and an
undetermined number of daily car trips.
I have calculated the carbon dioxide levels that the two proposed
 buildings for Emeryville will produce:  The buildings have a total
 square footage of 258,000 square feet as described by the real estate
 developer's stated specifications.  Multiply this figure by 20 to
calculate the number of BTU's required to heat, cool, and ventilate
 these buildings.  The figure is:  5,160,000 BTU/hour that the 
buildings produce.  To convert this to kilowatts per hour, multiply
 each BTU by .000293071.   The result is:  1511.88 KWH/Hour to 
heat/cool/ventilate these buildings.  One KWH = 1.13 Pounds of CO2
(Carbon Dioxide).  Multiply 1511.88 KWH/H x 1.13 Pounds = 1708.4244
 pounds of CO2 per hour that these two proposed buildings will inject into Emeryville's air.  Every 24 hours the amount of CO2 will be 
41,002.185 pounds or 20.50 tons of CO2.  To check my calculations, I have also used an alternative method produced by the Carbonfund organization, and get a result of 17.6 tons of CO2 per day created by this building.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) deprives cells in the body and brain of oxygen
 by combining with the oxygen carrying hemoglobin of the blood to form 
carboxyhemoglobin.  This reaction prevents oxygen from binding to 
hemoglobin, thus leading to anoxia (lack of oxygen).

  How might it affect the environment?   Carbon dioxide reacts with 
other pollutants in the air to form potentially harmful ground level
 ozone.  This occurs close to the site of emission.

  Inhalation of carbon dioxide at high concentrations can be fatal 
because it prevents the transport of oxygen (in blood) around the
 body. Releases from poorly maintained appliances and interior heating,
 cooling and ventilation systems, in poorly ventilated spaces could 
result in concentrations high enough to cause death.  Long-term
exposure to lower concentrations (such as through smoking) could harm 
unborn babies or cause neurological damage.

'Sick Building Syndrome' is
 a term sometimes used for interior air pollution maladies but this building proposes to expel 17.6 to 20.5 tons of CO2 into the air on its exterior, and thus is a lethal environmental catastrophe waiting to happen.  It will dump a
 minimum of 17.5 to 20.5 tons of toxic CO2 into Emeryville's air per day.

  Is this what you want for Emeryville and for your own health, your
 family's health and the health of your local neighborhood 

  This proposed building design, and its day-to-day function will be
 a disaster.  Our planet earth is dying and a major reason 
for its accelerating death is the continued creation of architectural 
buildings, such as this one, which will add to the lethal CO2 content of 
our air, water and soil.  We do not see this insidious attack on our air because it is up high, on the roof, where we cannot view it.  Every day, we have the choice to mitigate 
and resolve our urgent dilemma of a dying earth or contribute to its 
on-going destruction.

 I have not even touched upon the energy and 
materials resources that this building will require and the lethal 
pollution that will result from the fabrication and erection of its materials.  
The drinking water wasted, the toxic oil and gas, and the polluting 
electricity needed to create the materials of construction of this
 proposed building and its heating, ventilation and air-conditioning
 systems will further devastate what healthy resources, fresh air,
 drinkable water and non-polluted soil we have left in our
 Emeryville neighborhood.

Emeryville, and the world, does not need another lethal architectural
 behemoth that silently contributes to the killing of our planet.  

Please consider carefully, and with informed study, the consequences 
of the existence of such an ecological and architectural disaster.   Buildings, such as this one, are killing us and robbing our planet of what healthy future we have left.


Dr. Eugene Tssui,
Architect, Author, International Professor

Eugene Tssui resides primarily in Emeryville since 1989 and has raised a family of five here.  He is an internationally practicing architect, maintaining offices here and in Shenzhen, China, specializing in "true zero-footprint" and disaster-proof buildings. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1989, and holds an Interdisciplinary Doctorate in architecture and education, and two Masters Degrees in architecture and city and regional planning.  Dr. Tssui is the author of seven books on architecture and ecology and has been a professor of architecture and ecology at UC Berkeley and Beijing University in China.  He was a Harvard University Research Scholar in 2011 and 2012.  His articles on architecture and ecology have been published globally in over 100 magazines and newspapers ranging from Nature magazine to the New York Times.

Recently, he has been involved in designing the tallest building in the world, in development for Shanghai, China, using the natural ambient temperature of the Earth as a passive heating, cooling, and ventilation source and thus having no ecologically destructive HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning) systems.  Dr. Tssui has been featured on global television programs such as National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, the History Channel. PBS CNN, NBC, CBS, The McNeil/Lehrer Report, the BBC, MTV and CCTV television in China, and Nippon TV in Japan, and has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Graham Foundation.  Dr. Tssui was recently bestowed the title "Guardian Angel of the Planet" with Jane Goodall and Jean Michael Cousteau, by Multivu News, New York. 

Update Note: References to carbon monoxide were changed on 5/31 to carbon dioxide at the author's request.


  1. Eugene might be right.

  2. The letter begins by identifying CO2 as carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, but then switches to confusing it with deadly carbon monoxide, CO. While dumping tons of CO2 in the air is terrible for climate change, this is not to be confused with dumping CO.

  3. CO2 is carbon dioxide, not carbon monoxide; this letter is comically misleading and I cannot believe it was actually published.

    1. The Emeryville Tattler posts letters to the editor from newsmakers. Dr Tssui is an Emeryville resident of considerable renown, hense he is a legitimate newsmaker in our community. The Tattler does not editorialize content of the letters and the people are free to express their views here.

    2. These references you mention were simple mistakes and have since been corrected by the author. There was no intention to mislead as you're alleging.