Burbank Water and Power (BWP) and AHBE Landscape Architects (AHBE) have completed the first phase of a collaborative effort to transform BWP’s main campus from an industrial relic into a sustainable model for the rest of the nation.
“We owe it to our customers to ensure that we continue to do so into the foreseeable future, which means we should seek long-term solutions to the problems that our industry faces,” said Ron Davis, BWP general manager. “Most notably, how do we generate the water and power that our customers need with the least impact on our environment?”
When BWP built an electric power plant in 2005, it also replaced several existing substations located on the campus. There, BWP saw an opportunity for something greater. AHBE was commissioned to create a master plan for an EcoCampus that focused on transforming the grounds from an aging industrial site into a regenerative green space. With the first phase completed, BWP and AHBE have successfully demonstrated that industry and environment can not only just co-exist, but also thrive together.
“Never before have so many different sustainable landscape technologies been integrated into a single industrial campus,” said Davis. “BWP chose to do this to show that sustainability is not just about a single action or decision; it’s about the ripple effect that consistent, sustainable decisions can make. BWP’s EcoCampus is literally powered by innovation. We want this to cause a ripple.”
Three of the State of California’s 50 LEED Platinum Buildings are located on the BWP campus, including California’s first LEED Platinum designed warehouse. The main administration building was renovated to its original Art Deco splendor while upgrading its systems and structure to also achieve LEED Platinum. Construction on the third building started in January and will be completed in March 2013.
The EcoCampus is the only industrial project out of 150 national and international projects to be included in the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) pilot program. Similar to the LEED rating system for buildings, SITES is the first step toward creating a rating system that would evaluate the efficiency the landscape that ties our urban environments together. EcoCampus sustainable landscape features include:
• Rooftop Gardens: The Administration Building boasts three rooftop gardens that reduce the heat island effect, help channel and filter storm water, and reduce the building’s air conditioning requirements.
• Water Reclamation and Filtration: The campus features five different types of water filtration technologies including infiltration, flow-through, detention, tree root cells, and rainwater capture. The master plan sees the campus eventually becoming a zero runoff site, exceeding state law.
• Solar Power: An architectural solar array pays homage to both the Art Deco heritage of the building and the City’s historical ties to aviation. It will also power the LEED Platinum service center and warehouse building, as it channels rainwater to a filtration system.
• Reclaimed Substation: At the heart of the Centennial Park, the structure of an old electric substation was purposely left intact, repurposed by AHBE’s design as an outdoor meeting room or super trellis. The skeletal remains of the substation will soon be covered in living vines, creating a poignant juxtaposition of industry and environment.
• Green Space: All of the landscape serves a dual purpose. Aesthetically, it provides green space for employees and the public. Functionally, there are water filtration systems hidden below ground.
Burbank Water and Power
AHBE Landscape Architects
The Sustainable Sites Initiative
Filed Under: Energy management + harvesting, Green engineering