LOS ANGELES, June 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern California Gas Co.'s (SoCalGas) Energy Resource Center (ERC), a showcase facility where business customers can learn about energy efficiency, alternative fuel transportation and make informed choices about energy consumption and conservation, has achieved LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for existing building operations and maintenance (EBOM).
"Since opening in 1995, the Energy Resource Center has been a valuable one-stop, 'idea shop,' where customers can find the most efficient, cost-effective and environmentally sensitive solutions to their energy needs," said Rodger Schwecke, vice president of customer solutions at SoCalGas. "Earning LEED Gold certification is a significant milestone for SoCalGas. The facility serves the community by demonstrating ways we all can move toward a more sustainable energy future."
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy Efficiency Design. LEED Gold is the second highest rating (behind LEED Platinum) of the U.S. Green Building Council, a non-profit organization committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for the nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green building.
LEED certification for existing buildings helps maximize the efficiency of the operations while minimizing the impact on the environment. The rating system encourages owners and operators of existing buildings to implement sustainable practices and reduce the environmental impacts of their buildings, while addressing the major aspects of ongoing building operations, like exterior building site maintenance programs, water and energy use, environmentally preferred products and practices for cleaning and alterations, sustainable purchasing policies, waste stream management and ongoing indoor environmental quality
"We congratulate SoCalGas for achieving LEED Gold EBOM. The U.S. Green Building Council Los Angeles chapter and many other organizations benefit from the generosity and commitment exemplified by the ERC and its entire staff," said Jorge Partida, executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. "This state-of-the art facility is designed specifically to provide services, education and training to our community. With its LEED Gold certification, the ERC continues to exemplify service and dedication to energy conservation and education. "
In order to meet the LEED Gold certification requirements for existing buildings, SoCalGas benefited from the incorporation of the latest sustainable features in the ERC's design. Some of the key elements of the ERC include:
- Replaced the heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system and installed high-efficiency air handlers, natural gas absorption chillers and variable speed pumps.
- Removed sod and high-water consumption plants and aboveground sprinkler system. Created a garden using California native plants, drip irrigation and bio swales to divert rain water back into the soil.
- Installed a new dimmable lighting system which allows the building to control light levels throughout the facility. In areas with natural daylight, light levels were reduced through use of daylight harvesting program.
- Upgraded the Energy Management System to capture up to a year's worth of data on the HVAC components and lighting system.
- Installed a new zero-chemical Dolphin water treatment system, allowing SoCalGas to maintain high water quality for its HVAC equipment.
The 44,572-square foot building was designed by recycling (demolishing only about one-third) of SoCalGas' existing 1957 building complex. The center section of the complex was replaced with a new two-story addition, adding 12,572 square feet. About 60 percent of the building materials were left in place, removed for future reinstallation or recycled. About 80 percent of all ERC construction materials, internal furnishings and displays are either recycled, contain recycled material, or are made of renewable resources.
The building consists of main office spaces, an exhibit hall, and a dozen meeting rooms which highlight different themes from the energy industry: Air Quality, Combustion, Climate Control, Large Equipment, Residential New Construction, Food Service Equipment, Natural Daylighting and Natural Gas Vehicles.
A key component of the Energy Resource Center is the full commercial Food Service Equipment Center that boasts more than 150 pieces of energy-efficient appliances. Chefs, restaurant owners and facility mangers can test their recipes, and compare new, energy-efficient foodservice equipment in the state-of-the-art facility.
The ERC, located at 9240 E. Firestone Blvd., Downey, first opened in 1995 and was the first building in the state to receive the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's "Energy Star" Award. To learn more, visit www.socalgas.com/innovation/energy-resource-center/.
About Southern California Gas Co.
Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years. It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 20.9 million consumers connected through nearly 5.8 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. SoCalGas is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).
SOURCE Southern California Gas Co.