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Daniel Romero plants flats of plants on the living roof of the new California Academy of Sciences building in Golden Gate Park on June 7, 2007 in San Francisco, California. The living roof, a 2.5 acre expanse, features 7 hills blanketed with over 1.7 million individual plants of 9 different species native to Northern California that thrive in the Golden Gate Park environment. The museums roof not only helps reduce the energy needed for the building by 30-35% but also creates a new habitat for wildlife such as hummingbirds, bumble bees and endangered species such the Hairstreak and San Bruno butterflies. The new museum, which was designed by architect Renzo Piano, opened to the public in 2008.
Anyone living in the Los Angeles area knows that we are high on consumption (gas, food, water) and low on resources. Making changes to your daily habits through things like energy-efficient appliances, replacing light bulbs, and driving less offers one kind of antidote, but “green” building trends, like using recycled materials, are also on the rise.
Last year, California instituted the first mandatory green-building code in the nation, requiring that indoor water use be cut by as much as 20% and that at least 50% of construction waste has to be recycled.
At this weekend’s AltBuild Expo, California designers and architects will showcase how they’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty by providing demonstrations, lectures, and house tours involving all kinds of green building techniques, from solar power to recycled graywater. If you’re planning on remodeling or repainting your house, or you have questions about sustainable methods of composting, gardening, or landscaping, tune in as Patt talks about both AltBuild and green building in general.
Brenden McEneaney, Green Building Program advisor for the Office of Sustainability and the Environment, City of Santa Monica