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The Growing Movement to Go Green
By: Alex Dobuzinskis

The “Go Green” movement is gaining ground at all levels of government, and the local level is no exception. Across the nation, cities are partnering with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to become “Green Power Communities” (GPCs). To earn that distinction, municipalities must buy enough green power to meet the EPA’s requirements for the GPC program.  Local participants include the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, which ranked third among the EPA’s top 10 local government agencies for green power purchases.  Drawing mainly on methane, the districts turn landfill gas into compressed natural gas (CNG) that is then pumped into vehicles as fuel.

California lawmakers have championed environmental legislation. One green bill, AB 2112, which passed the Assembly Natural Resources Committee in April, would require all new residential buildings built from 2020 onward to consume zero net energy.  The bill would require buildings to combine energy-efficient design features and clean on-site energy sources, such as solar power. The model for the legislation is the Solara project in Poway, which according to Global Green USA who backs AB 2112, is the first apartment community fully powered by the sun. The California Chamber of Commerce opposes the bill, arguing that it would drive up construction costs and that the bill’s standards are unrealistic. The bill is due to be heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Business Life surveyed several local governments regarding their “green” participation.  The following describes a portion of local efforts:

Pasadena City Hall Achieves LEED Gold Certification

Two years ago, Pasadena adopted a Green City Action Plan. In a report put out the following year, the city announced that it had saved 15 million gallons of water and that its renewable energy supply increased 8 percent. Pasadena City Hall has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council – the second highest level that can be achieved. The historic building, constructed in 1927 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the first municipal facility in Pasadena to receive LEED certification and the fifth LEED-certified building in Pasadena.

LEED is the internationally recognized green building rating system.  It uses a four-tier performance scale – Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum – and awards points for meeting or exceeding standards on a variety of sustainability measures.  Projects are evaluated in six environmental categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design.

A three-year construction project at Pasadena City Hall, led by the city’s Public Works Department, included a seismic retrofit and technology infrastructure.  It was completed in June 2007 ahead of schedule and within budget. Pasadena Water and Power provided funding for LEED certification and implementation of water- and energy-efficiency technologies and design.

The retrofit and restoration of Pasadena City Hall has received numerous awards.  Environmentally responsible design elements were incorporated into the restoration of City Hall and include high energy-efficient heating; ventilation and air conditioning systems, which increases the building’s energy efficiency to nearly 20% above state standards.  Purchase of 100% green power for the building was also included, and water-efficient plumbing fixtures such as low-flow faucets, dual-flush toilets and waterless urinals that reduce water use by 40%. Other green choices include materials safe for indoor use including paint, carpeting, flooring, tile, wood products and sealants; and the use of green cleaning products by janitorial crews.

“Our LEED Gold Certification is a major achievement and confirms that historic buildings can meet modern-day, environmentally responsible design standards,” said Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard.  “I am enormously proud of the resourcefulness of our employees and others on the project team for achieving this certification.”          

The other LEED-certified buildings in Pasadena are Art Center College of Design South Campus, 950 S. Raymond Ave. (Certified); Tricom, 2812 E. Walnut St. (Silver); Northwest Innovation Center, 45 Eureka St. (Gold); and Earthlink, 2947 Bradley St. (Gold). For more information visit or call (626) 744-4009.  For more information about the Pasadena City Hall project visit or call (626) 744-4695.

In Burbank, It’s Easy to be Green

Burbank is home to seven LEED projects. In July the City of Burbank will complete a three-story Community Services Building, which will be the Burbank’s first municipal LEED Certified building. This new facility located in Downtown Burbank will be a one-stop center for most of the community services offered by the City.

Not only does Burbank build green, the City encourages LEED developments by offering reduced building permit and plan check fees depending on the level of sustainability of the project. BWP, the City’s utility company, offers energy and water use incentives as well.

It is fitting that in a city known as the Media Capital of the World, the first LEED project in Burbank was produced by Warner Bros. Entertainment. Completed in 2003, the International Television Distribution Division office building achieved LEED Commercial Interiors Silver status. Warner Bros. prides itself that the ITD building was also the first LEED building in the entertainment industry. A new stage building expected to be green is also under construction at Warner Brothers. 

The Pointe Project by M. David Paul is a LEED Certified office project currently under construction in the Media District that is designed to use 20% less water by incorporating water saving fixtures such as dual-flush toilets. In the Media District North, the Empire Center Office Building recently broke ground. Developed by Higgins Development Partners, the project is aiming for LEED Core and Shell Silver status.

The Bob Hope Airport houses a green airplane hangar. Currently under construction at the Bop Hope Airport, Hangar 25 is a LEED registered project being built for Shangri La Entertainment.

In January 2008, the Burbank City Council reinforced its pledge to sustainability by adopting the 21 Urban Environmental Accords. Burbank has already achieved four of the Actions and plans to complete a total seven this year. By World Environmental Day on June 5, 2012, the goal is to achieve 20 of the Actions, earning Burbank a four-star status as a green city.

Burbank also creates a sustainable environment with Burbank Bus, a City service that connects residents and commuters throughout Burbank via its fleet of 13 buses.  Ten of the buses are CNG fueled and the first zero-emission hydrogen fueled bus in Southern California is due to arrive in January 2009.

Additionally, the award-winning Burbank Recycle Center offers drop off/buy back, educational programs, and materials processing at one convenient location.  The City’s curbside recycling programs are available to all businesses and residents.
For more information, visit Burbank’s Web site at

Monrovia Selected ‘Model City’ Status

Monrovia has been selected as one of two communities in the San Gabriel Valley for participation as a Model City with the valley’s Energy Wise Partnership.  The partnership is a joint project of 30 communities in the region, the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments and Southern California Edison. It is managed by Intergy Corporation, with offices in Monrovia.

Participation in the program was approved by the City Council in December. The program goes hand in hand with the 21 Accords adopted by the Council in 2006 to make Monrovia a more environmentally sustainable community. The Accords (listed below) will form the foundation for new policies and programs over the next quarter century.

Energy: • Increase the use of renewable energy to meet 10% of the city’s peak electric load by 2015. • Reduce the city’s peak electric load by 10% within seven years. • Reduce the community’s greenhouse emissions by 25% by 2030.

Waste Reduction: • Achieve a 75% diversion of waste  going to landfills by 2015.
• Reduce the use of disposable, toxic or non-renewable products by at least 50% by 2015.
• Implement user-friendly recycling and composting programs and reduce solid waste per capita by 20% by 2015.

Urban Design: • Establish a green building standard for all new municipal buildings.
• Advance higher density, mixed use, walk-able, bike-able and disabled-accessible neighborhoods and coordinate both land use and transportation with open space for recreation and ecological restoration. • Create environmentally-friendly jobs throughout the community.

Urban Nature: • Ensure that there are accessible public parks, trails or recreation open space within a half-mile of every city resident by 2015. • Plant and maintain the community’s tree canopy in not less than 50% of all available sidewalk planting sites.
• Protect critical habitat corridors, resources and shelter from unsustainable development.

Transportation: • Expand affordable public transportation to within a quarter-mile of all city residents within 10 years. • Phase down sulfur emissions in diesel and gasoline fuels by 50% concurrent with using advanced emission controls on all buses, taxis and public fleets to reduce particulate matter and smog-forming emissions by an additional 50% by 2015. • Reduce the percentage of commuting trips in single-occupancy vehicles by 10% by 2015.

Environmental Health: • Annually identify one product, chemical or compound that is used within the city (with a focus on areas used by children and youth) that represents a risk to human health, and reduce or eliminate its use by the municipal government.
• Promote wellness and fitness when planning or redesigning city facilities.
Water: • Reduce per capita water demand by 10% by 2015 and 35% by 2030.
• Protect the ecological integrity of the city’s primary drinking water sources. • Reduce the volume of untreated wastewater discharges by 10% by 2015. • Increase groundwater recharge by 5% by 2020.  For additional information visit:

Glendale’s Green Initiatives

Glendale Water & Power (GWP) was one of the first utilities to recognize that small businesses tend to be an under-served customer group regarding energy conservation programs.  That is why GWP created the Smart Business Energy Survey Upgrade and Retrofit program in 2002. This program provides free energy and water surveys to small businesses and installs up to $2,000 in energy and water saving measures.

More recently, GWP began offering customers its new Green Building Program.  This new program will provide incentives, training, and other support for all customers to participate in LEED and other green building programs. GWP will make a special effort to provide small-business customers access to this new program through targeted marketing.

In addition to small businesses, GWP has been providing special assistance to the local school district, local community college, and city government.  GWP has worked closely with these groups on energy saving projects since 1999, and has provided $1.4 million in cash grants and in-kind benefits in support of energy efficiency projects and programs for Glendale Unified School District (GUSD). 

At Glendale Community College, GWP partnered on several projects, including a $300,000 investment in a new Science Building and a $500,000 investment in the new Chiller Plant.  GWP will also install a new 261 KW solar photovoltaic plant on its new parking structure.  When completed, the system will produce 400 mWh of new green power each year. 

With respect to city government, GWP has provided over $3.5 million to support energy-saving projects at City facilities, with additional funding on the way.  Additionally, GWP volunteered to chair a new Energy Conservation and Green Building Committee charged with reducing energy consumption in City facilities and promoting green building initiatives throughout Glendale.

GWP is in the process of developing an automated program to assist customers in reducing their carbon footprint.  Glendale participates in the “cap and trade” carbon system, which is designed to encourage reductions in harmful air emissions by having participants invest in green energy to offset part of those emissions.

The new Americana building was required to meet Title 24 guidelines set by the State.  Each new construction project, residential or commercial, must meet or exceed these guidelines.  The Green Building Program has just been approved by Glendale City Council and the GWP is working with other City departments in setting specific guidelines. 

All GWP customers can log onto for more information on programs and services or the City’s site at

City of Duarte

Duarte has announced that it will be the first city in the nation to use recycled pavement materials for a large-scale slurry seal project. The project will cover about one-third of the city. Slurry seal is a thin coating that is spread on asphalt street pavement to reduce deterioration from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

“The use of recycled asphalt eliminates the need for new rock dust from local gravel pits and, as the recycled pavement already contains oil, reduces the amount of new oil needed for the mixture,” said Steve Esbenshade, Duarte engineering division manager. “By completion of the project, the city will have recycled some 1,425 tons of old asphalt pavement, saved 625 barrels of oil and preserved the street infrastructure for years to come,” he said.

For additional information: 1600 Huntington Drive, Duarte, CA 91010 Phone: 626.357.7931 City of Duarte.

Contributing & Editing to the article:  Linda La Zar and John Krikorian