Los Angeles has prepared for this drought. Today, Angelinos use less water per capita than residents of any major U.S. city with a population over 1 million. Los Angeles’ Mandatory Water Conservation Ordinance, which was strengthened in 2009, has resulted in unprecedented levels of water savings by Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s 680,000 water customers.
Already, LADWP customers have reduced their water use by 18%. The amount of water saved in Los Angeles—more than 141 billion gallons—is enough to serve the cities of Burbank, Santa Monica, Long Beach, Glendale, and Anaheim combined for two years.
Expecting drought conditions, LADWP and other Southern California water agencies have invested in storage over the past decade. Together with a strong conservation program, these investments will allow us to weather the current shortage. But we need to redouble our commitment to conservation and make sure all of us are fully complying with current water use restrictions and reducing our water use.
Now, residents across the city are being asked to look for more ways to reduce their water use and encourage our customers to take advantage of money saving rebates offered by LADWP to help them save both water and money. They include rebates for water efficient appliances and devices, and the “Cash for Grass” program, which has increased participation 10-fold since LADWP raised the rebate amount to $2 a square foot, up from $1.50, for customers who replace water-thirsty lawns with California Friendly landscape.
LADWP also will be expanding its public outreach and education efforts to raise awareness about the dry year conditions and users’ responsibility to use water wisely and in accordance with the City’s Water Conservation Ordinance.
More information on LADWP’s water conservation programs, regulations and rebate incentives can be found at www.ladwp.com/WaterConservation.
Edited by Jodi Summers
Bravo to the City of Los Angeles. Through innovative public policy and creative private development, L.A.is demonstrating how older buildings can be repurposed and repositioned for the new economy while reducing carbon emissions.
Believe it or not, Downtown Los Angeles contains one of the nation’s finest collections of early 20th century architecture. Most of these buildings sat vacant for decades, until a carefully targeted Adaptive Use Ordinance (ARO) removed regulatory barriers, provided incentives, and helped make it possible to repurpose more than 60 historic buildings over the past 14 years as new apartments, lofts, and hotels.
A recent report from the Urban Land Institute and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Green Lab concludes that more than 10 million square feet of space in the city’s urban core is currently vacant. The report, Learning from Los Angeles, was presented to Mayor Eric Garcetti this morning, at an event organized by the ULI Los Angeles District Council. It describes strategies that build on the success of the ARO to unlock the economic and community development potential of underused older buildings. The report documents demolition, building, and vacancy trends throughout the city and recommends strategies for removing regulatory barriers, streamlining approvals, and providing incentives to make building reuse easier to accomplish.
Conversations organized by the Preservation Green and ULI Los Angeles identified key barriers to building reuse and recommend solutions to overcome these obstacles. The Los Angeles Conservancy, a key partner in this effort, served on the project Advisory Committee along with practitioners in real estate development, planning, design, construction, community revitalization, and local government.
Learning from Los Angeles is the first in a new series of research and policy reports being developed by the Preservation Green Lab through the Partnership for Building Reuse, a joint effort of the National Trust and ULI. Launched in Los Angeles in 2012, the Partnership for Building Reuse is designed to foster market-driven building reuse in major U.S. cities through dialogues with community stakeholders about building reuse challenges and opportunities.
Didja know > about a quarter of U.S. households live in multifamily housing units. This group of apartment dwellers spends about $40 billion on energy costs each year. The Better Buildings Challenge > Multifamily Edition < estimates that making multiunit housing units 20% more energy efficient would save more than $7 billion per year and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 430 million tons.
As part of the Better Buildings Challenge, DOE and the HUD are partnering with leading private and affordable buildings owners and public housing agencies to cut energy waste and help families save money. Better Building Challenge multifamily Partners are leaders in market rate multifamily housing, public housing authorities, and affordable housing.
Challenge renovation areas include:
2013 saw record little rainfall in Southern California. Water is precious and expensive. Fixtures like the new low-flow toilets work better and save dramatically more water than models that just a few years old. According to the Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) the savings may pay for the cost of the fixtures in a year to 18 months.
Some companies can now install water-saving technology for you, with little or no up-front cost. Companies like eConserve and Minol do such work in exchange for taking a cut on future savings in the future.
Designate an Energy Manager
A leaky sprinkler system or a mistake by a utility company can go unnoticed until someone finds the problem. Landlords, do yourselves a favor and designate person on staff to read the property’s energy bills. Software tools such as EnergyScoreCards, Portfolio Manager, or WegoWise track and compare utility usage.
Utility Rebate Programs
Periodically, utility companies offer rebates for things like installing energy-saving lighting. The T12 fluorescent lighting rebates are gone, but there’s always going to be another incentive. Call the number on your bill and ask how they can save you money.
Energy Star Appliances
Many appliances with the federal Energy Star label for energy efficiency are priced in line with conventional products. Like flat screen TVs, a product whose up-front cost was too pricey last year, might be affordable this year.
Reconsider Solar Panels
If you’ve decided in the past not to install solar panels because the panels were relatively expensive, revisit the numbers. The cost of panels has come down, and more utilities are allowing buildings to use the solar energy they produce themselves during the day to offset the electricity used by residents at night. Depending upon roof space, some new companies will offer “solar-power purchase agreements.” At little or no cost, the companies will install solar equipment at a multifamily property. In exchange, the property agrees to buy a certain amount of the power produced by the solar panels.
In 2014, the Better Buildings Challenge has expanded to include multifamily properties.
“The expansion of the Better Buildings Challenge to include multifamily housing represents an important step toward achieving the goals laid out in the President’s Climate Action Plan,” Observes HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.
The goal of the Better Buildings Challenge when it was launched in 2011 was to make America’s commercial buildings 20% more energy efficient by 2020. The challenge asked corporate chief executive officers, university presidents, and state and local leaders to make a public commitment to energy efficiency. Through the Better Buildings Challenge, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is highlighting leaders that have committed to upgrading buildings across their portfolio, and providing their energy savings data and strategies as models for others to follow.
“More than 50 multifamily owners from across the nation have committed to the Better Buildings Challenge,” shares Donovan. “These housing leaders understand that it represents an opportunity for them to reduce their long-term energy costs, support innovative technologies, create good jobs, and help shape healthier communities and neighborhoods,”
The City of Los Angeles has set a goal to achieve 20% energy savings across 30 million square feet of existing buildings by 2020 as part of the Better Buildings Challenge, a national leadership initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, which calls on public and private sector leaders to take action and demonstrate the benefits of modernizing America’s existing buildings.
Achieving this goal will significantly reduce operating costs while freeing up capital for more productive uses, enhancing tenant comfort and productivity, boosting market competitiveness, creating over 7,000 high-quality local jobs, and averting annual CO2 emissions equivalent to taking over 18,000 cars off the road.
“Over the last two years, President Obama’s Better Buildings Challenge has helped drive greater energy efficiency further and faster, save families money and give U.S. businesses an edge in the global market,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “By partnering with the multifamily housing industry as well as state and local governments, utilities and manufacturers, we can continue this progress – cutting carbon pollution, fostering economic growth and building a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.”
The right work environment makes all the difference. Google, regularly voted the best company to work for in America, seeks to create the perfect work environment.
Google’s goal (try saying that 5x fast) is to create the healthiest work environments possible so Google masterminds can thrive and innovate. From concept through design, construction and operations, the search engine’s goal is to create a brick + mortar workplace that optimizing access to nature, clean air and daylight.
To keep the Google brain trust at peak performance, they avoid materials that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other known toxins that may harm human health. Furniture, carpet, flooring, toilets > all green, and augmented by dual stage air filtration systems to eliminate plankton-like particles and remaining VOCs, further augmenting indoor air quality. Or, they could Additionally, the location is so fine, they cay just open the west facing windows and let the ocean breeze come rolling through, as it does from 10:30 a.m. – sunset on all days except for Santa Ana conditions.
Savvy entrepreneurs looking for office space will ask….
1. Is there room for my company to grow?
If your business is not in the position to take extra space for future growth, try negotiating a shorter lease term or add language to the lease that gives you the first right of negotiation on any adjacent space that becomes vacant.
2. Is it the right location for my key employees?
Be green in commuting. Consider where your key employees live and whether the location is convenient for them. Make them sit too long in traffic, or pick a site away from mass transit and employees will be more likely to jump ship to a business that’s more convenient for them.
3. Is the location convenient for clients?
You also want your office to be accessible to clients. If you’re located in downtown Santa Monica, your clients are going to be sitting in long lines of traffic, and you’re going to be paying a lot of additional parking costs…unless you plan on being walking distance from an Expo line stop. Be easy to find. Make it too difficult for clients to get there and they will go elsewhere. If you leave an urban location for a cheaper space in the suburbs, consider whether the lower expenses will make up for the possible loss of clients. Even in the age of video conferencing and Skype, it’s important that face-to-face meetings be manageable.
4. Does this office send the right signal?
Think about the message you want to give to your clients when you select your location. Google’s Venice offices – green, innovative, in an ultra hip location blocks from the beach – très cutting edge. In the new millennium, an office space is far more than a collection of cubicles; it also will be a sign to others of how much money you’re making. “I’ve seen companies spend for a lavish space they’re very proud of. They invite clients to see it, and the clients wonder if they’re paying them too much for their services,” Riguardi says. On the other hand, if you don’t spend enough, people may wonder about the financial health of your company.
5. Do you need to be green?
Progressive companies are concerned about the environment. Having a “green” office rates well with clients. Green doesn’t mean it has to be LEED platinum, green touches can be as simple as putting the lighting and air conditioning on timers so that energy isn’t wasted when offices are vacant. An office with a light-colored roof can cut back utility costs by as much as 30% in SoCal.
6. What are possible hidden costs? Calculate the full cost of the space–rent, utilities, construction costs, moving expenses, CAM fees, NNN fees, insurance and other costs that may not be obvious. “You have to look at the costs associated with the move, even restoration of the space you’re moving from,” Riguardi recommends.
We live in L.A.; we know how precious parking can be. Depending upon your location, parking can be a hidden cost. Even new Culver City office spaces are adding in $75+ per month per car. Consider the amount of parking available at your proposed location, as well as the potential cost to employees and customers. If parking is tight, is there a place where employees can park so customers get the most convenient spaces? Negotiating special employee rates and validating customers’ parking tickets are good ideas, but they need to be worked into the budget.
8. Is the office ADA compliant?
In our progressive times, you need to consider how your space works for handicapped individuals. Check to see that the building is in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. For example, the law states that doors to office suites should be at least 32 inches wide and require fewer than five pounds of force to open, while carpeting in areas open to the public must be secured to the floor with a pile of less than half an inch. You can learn something new every day.
9. Consider sharing an office.
Sharing space with another company saves money not only on the office rent, but also on the cost of common areas like kitchens and bathrooms. Plus, the fact that you’re being ultra-efficient makes you seem greener. To best benefit the shared space, it’s ideal to divide the space with complementary businesses > an architect with a builder or a PR firm with a Web designer. Draw up a formal agreement between tenants. This agreement can be flexible.
If you hope to sell your company, make sure the lease is clear about owner responsibility. Some leases are written so that the original company and its owners have liability in the future should the future tenant not perform.
11. Pay attention to the terms of renewal.
The last thing you want is to get established in a space, then find at the end of your lease that your landlord is exercising their option to rent the space to someone else or to drastically raise your rents. Although rental rates are usually negotiated at the time of renewal, you also can try in the original contract to cap any increase at no more than 5%. “Real estate is rebounding in many areas, which means rental rates are rising,” concludes Julie Clark, a founder of SharedBusinessSpace.com, a national online directory. “If you can control how much, it’s a stick in your court.”
We know all about Los Angeles office space, and can assist you in your office needs. Please contact Jodi Summers and the SoCal Investment Real Estate Group @ Sotheby’s International Realty – firstname.lastname@example.org or 310.392.1211, and let us move forward together.
U.S. Political Royalty Hillary Rodham Clinton was the keynote speaker at Greenbuild 2013. Held at Temple University in Philadelphia Clinton was interviewed by U.S. Green Building Council president and CEO Rick Fedrizzi,
She knows A practitioner of minimizing the carbon footprint, Secretary of State Clinton told the audience that being 15% of carbon emissions and 1/3 of energy worldwide, our buildings need to be more sustainable for security and our future. She summarized the USGBC’s impact over the past 20 years as offered highlights of her personal efforts to promote sustainability.
In 1993 as a new First Lady, she and Bill Clinton took on a “greening of the White House” project which involved replacing windows and other building retrofits to save energy and water.
More recently, as Secretary of State she emphasized that that all future U.S. embassies will build to a minimum LEED Silver standard. “I decided we would call that Greening Diplomacy as part of an initiative we started at the State Department both to conserve resources, and to send a message to the world about America’s priorities and values,”
“We know this works. And over the past 20 years you have seen slow, steady progress. But …we’re at a new level. The work has proven itself, we know what to do. We just have to be better organized and focused…to do more.”
On several subjects, Clinton and the USGBC were of similar mind.
“By 2015, the non-residential market for green construction is estimated to grow between $120 and 145 billion,” she said. “The Council is committed to bringing green buildings to every community. I’d like that even speeded up—maybe half a generation.”
(Some pundits loosely interpreted these words as a campaign promise.)
The former First Lady and U.S. Secretary of State encouraged the audience of some 10,000 people to “take what you know works and explain it to anyone who will listen to you…The hope is … that you will be a force for change in the broader world, not just in the green buildings world.”
Some of the highlights of Hill’s speech, in video form:
Hillary Rodham Clinton served as the 67th U.S. Secretary of State from 2009 until 2013, after nearly four decades in public service. Her “smart power” approach to foreign policy repositioned American diplomacy and development for the 21st century. Clinton played a central role in restoring America’s standing in the world, reasserting the United States as a Pacific power, imposing crippling sanctions on Iran and North Korea, responding to the Arab Awakening and negotiating a ceasefire in the Middle East.
Clinton is officially undeclared for the next presidential election.
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