Los Angeles Community College District 2008 Campus Sustainability Leadership Award Application
Community Colleges & Other Two Year Institutions
Larry H Eisenberg
Executive Director, Facilities Planning and Development
Los Angeles Community College District
Los Angeles Community College District
Los Angeles, CA
Governance & Administration
Educating more than 188,000 students each year through its nine campuses, the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) has made post-secondary education a reality for millions of Southern California residents. As one of the largest community college districts in the country, the LACCD is excited to take the lead in environmental education through an ambitious, large-scale plan that utilizes sustainable design in all new campus construction and renovation.
In 2001 and 2003 respectively, the LACCD ended a 35-year building hiatus with the voter-approved Proposition A and AA bond program, which granted the District a total of $2.2 billion in funds to repair rehabilitate, and modernize all nine LACCD colleges. Working closely with the environmental community, the LACCD Board of Trustees (BOT) arrived at a solution that balanced cost with its commitment to protecting the environment. The result was Board-approved policy guidelines that used the pre-eminent Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEEDTM) sustainable building standards administered nationally by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The plan became one of the largest public sector sustainable building efforts in the country and the District hopes other educational institutions across the country will follow suit.
The District is also implementing a District-wide Renewable Energy Plan to enhance existing non-fossil fuel, self-generation resources and build new green renewable energy projects on selected campuses and properties. The program is designed to make each of the nine campuses energy independent by reducing usage and demand, and by producing renewal energy.
In step with its sustainability policy to increase energy efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas (GHC) emissions, the LACCD voluntarily signed an agreement in April 2005, becoming one of the first community college districts in the state to join the California Climate Action Registry (CCAR). The Registry was established by California statute as a non-profit voluntary registry for businesses and public agencies to track their GHG emissions, which cause global warming. By signing the agreement, the LACCD pledged to publicly report its CO² emissions and, over the course of the District's Bond Construction Program, work with the Registry to increase awareness of greenhouse gas emissions issues and become an environmental role model for California's educational institutions.
Energy efficiency projects at East, Mission and Pierce Colleges are good examples of the District's commitment to operating in the green.
On Earth Day (April 22, 2008), East L.A. College and LACCD officials gathered to commemorate the completion of the College's new $1.2 megawatt photovoltaic farm (PV). Comprised of 5,952 panels, the rooftop solar project and generators provide shaded parking for 530 vehicles and occupy three acres. The electricity generated by these solar panels will satisfy approximately 45 percent of the College's energy needs; will generate 1.9 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year; and will ultimately reduce electricity costs by $270,000 per year.
L.A. Mission College is a beautiful campus undergoing an extraordinary transformation. On top of its newly-completed, state-of-the-art parking structure, the college has finalized the installation of a $1.9 million PV farm. The PV farm is approximately 16,928 sq. ft. will produce an estimated 233,000 kilowatt hours per year, approximately eight percent of the College's total annual energy usage. Officials estimate that the 1,128 cell farm will reduce the College's annual energy bill by approximately $80,000.
Even simple projects have a big impact.
Pierce College's new S. Mark Taper Foundation Life Science Botanic Garden is a "living classroom" and an example that even a garden can go green. Once a flat lot covered in dead grass, the roughly two-acre garden received a makeover with the introduction of an assortment of drought-resistant plants, including many native to Southern California. By replacing the former lawn with drought-tolerant plants the college has reduced its water consumption by 70 percent - more than 900,000 gallons per year - and its water bill.
Curriculum & Research
Thanks to the District's Renewable Energy Plan and sustainable policy, its future looks brighter than ever. Most, if not all, of the LACCD's programs and projects were developed to produce results for the short and long term, making them more cost-efficient to construct and economically viable for the colleges to maintain. Additionally, the District is already developing a green curriculum to address the shortage of qualified workers to fill high-paying, "green-collar" jobs. Backed by its more than seven-decade track record of educating and training Southern California's workforce, the District is poised to spread the vision and benefits of sustainability to its students and communities so they can put into practice their own sustainability plans.
As part of its effort to provide sustainable education to students, visitors, and the community at large, and to honor the LEED requirement for passive education, each of the 40 new buildings that will be built at LACCD colleges will house an interactive touch screen educational kiosk in their lobby. The kiosk will contain comprehensive information about the LAACD sustainable building program, energy program, and sustainability in general. The kiosk will also provide comprehensive information about the materials used to build the building and provide real time energy monitoring data. In all, there is at least three hours of interactive material in the kiosk, enough to satisfy even the most curious passerby. The LACCD sustainable kiosk is a product of the LACCD E7 Studio, a state of the art technology collaborative, largely staffed by LACCD students under the guidance of some very talented faculty members.
The LACCD is aware of its role as both an institution of higher education and a role model for the community, which is why the District has embarked on such an ambitious campaign to raise awareness on the benefits of sustainability. At the statewide level, LACCD is spreading the word on sustainability via its Board of Trustees, who actively participate in the League of California Community Colleges, sharing sustainable building policy implementation techniques with other boards of trustees. For the past three years, the Board has also participated in the UC/CSU sustainability conferences, Green Build Conferences, the Statewide Partnership between energy companies and Colleges, and addressed many of their neighboring School District boards, including the Los Angeles Unified School District, to encourage duplicative efforts in other school districts.
Community Service and Outreach
LACCD's green policies have resulted in an increased demand for the procurement of materials and furniture, lighting and flooring products that have a high concentration of recycled content. In light of this demand, manufacturers are changing their product lines to offer new environmentally-sensitive products, such as the production of furniture with 100 percent renewable materials. In keeping with cost constraints while pursuing a sustainable building policy, LACCD has offered its bulk purchasing process to all educational and governmental agencies in California. This program has enabled these groups, including non-profit organizations, the ability to bulk purchase these innovative and sustainable products at discounted rates.
On an international level, the Board has been a leader in the field of sustainable development by becoming the first in the world to seek both LEED and Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) credentials for the historic Van de Kamp Bakery Building, which will become the Northeast Center of Los Angeles City College. This site has become the first construction conversion project in the United States to achieve a BREEAM rating. BREEAM seeks to minimize the adverse effects of new buildings on the environment while promoting healthy indoor conditions for the occupants. The environmental impacts of a new building, such as energy use, waste disposal transportation concerns and water usage, are assessed at the design stage to achieve a BREEAM credential.