Burbank Water and Power and AHBE Landscape Architects are thinking big. They have recently completed the first phase of The EcoCampus, an initiative designed to re-create BWP’s main campus into a new environmentally sustainable model that they hope will raise the bar for others in the industry.
The goal is to generate long-term solutions to our pending water and electricity crisis, providing sustainable options that will protect our valuable resources.
Many facilities on the 23-acre campus dated back to the 1940s or were no longer useful. While replacing or renovating a number of existing facilities on the site, BWP realized there was a chance to do something good for the world. The initial objectives were to relocate, modify and replace existing facilities to create greater employee efficiency and safety, improve traffic circulation, provide off-street parking and increase security.
“The ultimate goal is to create an industrial campus that allows for the most efficient operations of an electric and water utility to continue to provide BWP stakeholders with reliable product and services that are affordable and sustainable,” BWP conservation manager Joe Flores said to LadyLUX. “With technology changing in the world, the question now is what can we do with our existing infrastructure that is becoming obsolete. BWP saw an opportunity to re-frame, re-program, and re-purpose an industrial site and the EcoCampus is now one of the most comprehensive sustainable projects in Southern California.”
Propositioning AHBE Landscape Architects, the two entities joined forces to reinvent the aging industrial area as a thriving environmental resource. The plan was ambitious, including demolishing and refurbishing a number of buildings and constructing new ones.
“Never before have so many different sustainable landscape technologies been integrated into a single industrial campus,” Ron Davis, BWP general manager, said in a statement. “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 rooftop gardens diminish heat, help direct and filter rainwater, and lower the building’s need for air conditioning. Several water filtration methods – infiltration, flow-through, detention, tree root cells, and rainwater capture – allow for storm water reclamation. A service center and a warehouse building will run on solar power.
An unused electric substation was redesigned as an outdoor meeting room covered in living vines. Underground water filtration systems will turn the entire site into a water filtration project. The on-site Magnolia Power Plant, employing two state-of-the-art water systems, runs solely on recycled water.
“The future of the BWP EcoCampus can be to push forward the question in the public sector, why not expand the functionality of our public right of ways?” Flores said. “We want our streets to be pedestrian-friendly, but why not use them as storm water filtration systems? BWP’s Green Street demonstrates that an 8-foot-wide sidewalk can not only be beautiful and pedestrian-friendly, but can be a place for cleaning and infiltrating our storm water run-off from our streets.”
Since its inception in 1913, Burbank Water and Power has provided thousands of homes and businesses with water and electricity. Based in Los Angeles, AHBE Landscape Architects, a modern landscape architect firm, aims to transform innovative ideas into lasting environments. The company has a range of projects under its belt, including gardens and parks, medical facilities, recreation and athletic facilities, civic plazas, streetscapes and “green streets,” mixed-use commercial developments and more.