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Sustainable Innovation Awards bestowed at L.A. Green Gala
Nov 4, 2011

The Los Angeles Chapter of the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council launched its Sustainable Innovation Awards last night during the chapter's 7th Annual Green Gala--with over 500 guests in attendance. Projects were awarded across seven categories, recognizing exceptional achievement and innovation in each LEED category for countywide certified projects from the past two years.
Selected by a distinguished group of jurors, the projects were judged for innovation, community impact and team collaboration, and awarded regardless of LEED certification achieved.
The jury was comprised of notables in the private, public and non-profit sectors: Jennifer Berthelot (Shangri-La Construction), David Hodgins (Sustento Group), Mia Lehrer (Mia Lehrer + Associates), Steve Lewis (Thinking Leaderhip), Lisa Matthiessen (Buro Happold), Kent Peterson (P2S Engineering), Gwynne Pugh (Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio), Lauren Rank (L.A. County Office of Sustainability), and Walker Wells (Global Green).
The Sustainable Innovation Award for Project of the Year were bestowed by Eduardo Xol, author, activist and star designer on ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
The two projects honored included:
Existing building City National Plaza (LEED EB Gold-rated) was demonstrated as a prime example of how effective team collaboration, sustainable vision and commitment to change can result in a building retrofit that lowered cost, increased efficiency and return on investment, and addressed environmental and economic challenges faced by those existing buildings in today's unstable market. "The improvements and renovations on the plaza have contributed and revitalized a central part of downtown," says Juror Mia Lehrer of Mia Lehrer + Associates. "It went from an under-utilized and barren place to a people place."
The Walter & Leonore Annenberg Center for Information Science and Technology (IST) at Caltech (LEED NC Gold) demonstrated the true value of interdisciplinary coordination, research and teaching, both at the project team and operational levels. Kent Peterson of P2S Engineering notes, "The use of a chilled beam system in tandem with a hybridized operable window system makes this project unique and effective in reducing annual energy use while optimizing thermal comfort inside the building."
Sustainable Innovation Awards were also bestowed in the following categories:
Water Efficiency (dual award): PUNCHouse Design Group's PUNCHouse 234 and Abode Communities' Casa Dominguez
Energy & Atmosphere: PUNCHouse Design Group's PUNCHouse 234 (Honorable Mention: Thomas Properties Group's City National Plaza)
Materials & Resources: Marmol Radziner's Glendale Childcare Center (Honorable Mention: The Related Companies' The Century)
Indoor Environmental Quality: Caltech's Walter & Leonore Annenberg Center for Information Science and Technology (Honorable Mention: Caltech's Schlinger Laboratory for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering)
Innovation in Design - Education: Westridge School for Girls Sustainable Science Building (Honorable Mention: Abode Communities' Casa Dominguez)
Innovation in Design - Technology: City of Pasadena, Department of Public Works' Water & Power Operational Building (Honorable Mention: USC's Eli and Edyth Broad CIRM Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research)
The theme of the 2011 Green Gala was "Branching Out," reflecting the Chapter's broadened focus on engaging new members and communities beyond the building industry who have sustainable living initiatives, as well as information and goals that are parallel to that of USGBC-LA.
Keynote Speaker Jason McLennan—author of the Living Building Challenge, international speaker and CEO of the Cascadia Green Building Council—laid the groundwork for the evening. Considered one of the founders of the green design movement in the United States, his speech challenged everyone in the room, asking "Are you branching out in a way that will make things a beautiful, elegant place, or is it just 'less bad'; in which case, it's a failed state." Continuing on this path, he noted that that "Green Building is changing the paradigm of how people think" because "Green Building is about the people inside the buildings, and not about the technology." Finally, referring to the concept Zugunruhe--the name of his new book and a German word meaning 'migratory restlessness'--he said migration isn't sudden, there is preparation. "The rules have changed, and it's a question of how we're going to be prepared."

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