Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Principle #7: Produce Green Buildings

Audubon Center at Debs Park, LA
Originally uploaded by [ fq9 ].
Recently, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission unveiled a 14-point policy agenda to set the city on a course towards sustainability, using Planning Director Gail Goldberg's mantra-DO REAL PLANNING as an acronym for the platform. Each day, on this blog, I am using this blog to share my thoughts on each of these planning principles through the lens of my own district work and the potential for citywide direction along these lines.

Buildings consume 36% of total energy use in the United States, account for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, 30% of raw materials yes, and 12% of water consumption across the country. Building green is for more than just a few eco-friendly home owners scattered throughout the country. It is an integral part of sustainable living in an urban environment.

Last year, I authored the legislation that gives priority plan check handling to any buildings that meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification standard for green building. A few years earlier, I wrote the nation's largest statute requiring all city buildings to be built to LEED standards. Now, my staff is working with the Planning Department to craft a sustainability baseline for building in Los Angeles, along with an incentive program for buildings that employ higher sustainability measures. I have encouraged several builders to pursue LEED certification and I am hopeful that the first LEED Platinum commercial building in Los Angeles will be completed in my district.

Last Sunday's Steve Lopez article chronicling Delilah's Bakery's journey through the city bureaucracy, nicely illustrating point #4 of the DO REAL PLANNING agenda. Delilah's story is familiar to many small businesses in Los Angeles. With the assistance of our Echo Park Field Deputy, Kabira Stokes, Delilah's was able to navigate through the various requirements and begin serving their delicious red velvet cupcakes. It should not take the individual case management of a council office for entrepreneurs to get through this system - the constituent-oriented service that Kabira provided for Delilah's should be standard operations for city departments. DO REAL PLANNING helps to get us to a point where every business feels like they get "small-town help in a big city."