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Green Building News

Watching L.A. Get Its Green On

Image Credit: USGBC-LA

Los Angeles is severely squeezed by the recession, but it also is forging ahead with green building initiatives

Last week, when the Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance to retrofit city-owned buildings built before 1978 or larger than 7,500 sq. ft., the city significantly re-energized its ecological spirit.

L.A. is struggling with a 12% unemployment rate, the effect on its real estate market of 21,000 foreclosures, and a budget shortfall that could require trimming more than 2,800 workers from the city payroll. And although he was attentive to these difficulties in his state-of-the-city address, delivered on Monday, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa homed in just as vigorously on the city’s ambitions to “build a future in which clean technology is as synonymous with Los Angeles as motion pictures or aerospace.”

Villaraigosa cited the city’s plans for an emerging clean-tech business corridor, its eventual development of Cornfields Arroyo Seco (an old industrial area that soon may be transformed into an LEED-ND mixed-use neighborhood), and the city council’s new offspring, known as the Green Building Retrofit Ordinance.

A recent GreenerBuildings story presented an overview of the initiative, which was developed by the Los Angeles Apollo Alliance, a coalition of community, labor, and environmental groups.

Among the ordinance priorities:

LEED Silver certification of all projects

— Special focus on recruiting and training disadvantaged workers for apprenticeship positions on green retrofits and for jobs on private projects other public projects.

— Support of local minority- and women-owned green businesses

— Ensure quality green products are being used and purchased locally, and encourage local green manufacturing

— Foster public-sector career development in Los Angeles by hiring city workers from city training programs, and upgrading part-time workers to full-time.

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