8th Annual Sustainable Innovation Awards Announced at U.S. Green Building Council-L.A. Chapter Green Gala

Los Angeles, CA (December 7, 2018) – Last night at its 14th Green Gala, the Los Angeles Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC-LA) presented the 8th Annual Sustainable Innovation Awards (SIA), with the Project of the Year awarded to the Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability (Pitzer College), a net zero, adaptive reuse model for existing buildings. L.A.’s “Oscars” of green building, the awards affirm a project team’s commitment to a sustainable built environment, and reflect the Chapter’s emphasis on energy & water savings, air quality, good design, community engagement and equity. The SIAs are open to projects certified under any sustainability rating system.

The Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability (Pitzer College) was once an abandoned historic building which had been damaged in a fire. It has been transformed into a LEED Platinum Certified learning environment which is educating the next generation of change makers at Pitzer College. The 12,000 sq. ft. project is also tracking towards Zero Net Energy operation, and, eventually, certification. Noted one judge, “Tracking to net zero for adaptive reuse is no easy task, and is to be commended.”

Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability (Photography courtesy Pitzer College/William Vasta)

Highlights of the project, which also earned the Honor Award in the SIA Energy & Atmosphere category, include:

  • 91% of the existing building structure/enclosure was reused and reinforced to extend the building’s life cycle by over 50 years, contributing to the vast reduction in embodied carbon. The construction and demolition waste to landfills was reduced by 95%.
  • Passive design elements included extensive daylighting, thermal massing and natural ventilation.
  • Some of the elements in the building serve a dual purpose. For example, the skylight well also acts as a thermal chimney, and the outdoor photovoltaic array also serves as the outdoor classroom cover.
  • Roof gutters and downspouts direct storm water to porous vehicular paving and detention basins absorbing 100% of on-site storm water runoff which eliminated the need for municipal form sewer connection and filtration.
  • The design strategy used passive elements of the original design to provide a highly efficient HVAC system and decrease the size of photovoltaic system.
  • Prime example of transforming a building that is over 100 years old into a new space, where the exterior is intact and preserved.
  • This project successfully revives and improves an existing building, going above and beyond code regulations which focus mainly on efficiency of new construction rather than renovation of our existing building stock.
  • The building itself provides sustainability education opportunities for the students at the college.

On the community side, the center supports five associated colleges, local primary/secondary school science programs, and is a research hub for Southern California. Originally inhabited by the Tongva Tribe, the site also offers outdoor indigenous study areas an and medicinal herb gathering/storage activities. The demonstration gardens – with 72 protected, matured trees, and 10.8 acres of habitat protected/restored using native plants grown for genetic compatibility – is open to the nearby residential neighborhood to learn about ongoing biological field experiments and alternative transportation strategies.

“The Sustainable Innovation Awards recognize projects that go above and beyond credit achievement. The project teams honored this year employed creative strategies that we hope will inspire the design and construction community to push the limits of standard practice. Thank you to all who submitted projects for consideration,” shares SIA co-chair Patti Harburg-Petrich of BuroHappold.

The awards honor premier projects — for the complete list click here — that have already been envisioned, designed and/or built, recognizing exceptional achievement and innovation in each category for Southern California certified projects from the previous year. The submissions attract project teams throughout Southern CA’s sustainable community and are awarded regardless of certification achieved (i.e. LEED, WELL, Passivehouse, EcoDistricts, SITES, etc.).

“The projects and people honored by the Sustainable Innovation Awards exemplify thought leadership and creativity in their design solutions to site and building challenges,” says SIA co-chair Amelia Feichtner of the City of Santa Monica. “It is inspiring that our community is advancing sustainability in a wide range of project scales and in both private and public development.”

Additionally, four special awards selected by the Board of Directors (full announcement HERE), were presented:

  • Visionary “Excellence in Athletic Facilities” Awards were presented to the Los Angeles Lakers for their UCLA Health and Training Center, Home of the Los Angeles Lakers, and to UCLA for their recent Wasserman Football Center and the Mo Ostin Basketball Center.
  • LADWP General Manager David Wright accepted the “Business Leader of the Year” award on behalf of the utility. The Award recognizes LADWP’s outstanding leadership in leveraging their influence to increase the prevalence of sustainable business practices across the Los Angeles region.
  • GRID Alternatives earned the “NonProfit Partner of the Year award. Accepted by Executive Director Michael Kadish, the award recognizes outstanding leadership by a partner organization of the USGBC-LA that is leading the way to a more sustainable future through its dedication to serving its community through programs, education, and support for their members and/or employees.

“Innovation, education and community are at the heart of what USGBC-LA celebrates in projects and partnerships. In line with that, the design & construction teams, and the other businesses awarded last night, offer inspiring models for our future,” states Julie Du Brow, USGBC-LA Interim Executive Director. “Thanks to the Robert Redford Conservancy for showing that existing buildings can be so very efficient and sustainable, especially in such a hot area. And thanks to all the teams that are shifting the discussion on the importance of social equity and health & wellness.”

The Awards were presented during the Green Gala at the Taglyan Cultural Complex in Hollywood in front of a guest list of over 400 top industry professionals from local government, real estate owners and developers, architects, engineers, contractors, and LEED professionals. USGBC-LA works with anyone who is interested and engaged in collaborative sustainable initiatives.

The Green Gala is supported through the donations of many corporate partners:  Diamond Sponsors – BuroHappold, Kilroy Realty Corp. and Southern California Edison; Sapphire Sponsors – Building Skills Partnership and FormLA Landscaping; Aquamarine Sponsors – Arup, Athens Services (Zero Waste Sponsor), Bernards, ChargePoint, Inc., Egan | Simon Architecture, Gensler, Hathaway Dinwiddie, Howard Building Corporation, Integral Group, Internal Removal Specialist, Inc., LA Family Housing, Land Mark Electric, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Vanir, Yardi, and ZGF Architects. To see the most updated list of all sponsors, please click here.

Significant annual support for USGBC-LA comes from BuroHappold, ClimateWorks Foundation, FormLA Landscaping, Howard Building Corporation, Kilroy Realty Corp. and LADWP.

About U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles 

Founded in 2002, USGBC-LA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization committed to creating a prosperous and sustainable future within one generation. Our mission is to accelerate all aspects of sustainability in the built environment by delivering access to knowledge, resources, recognition and networking. Learn, Share and Lead Green. (www.usgbc-la.org)

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