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Burbank Water & Power EcoCampus

BURBANK, CALIFORNIA

Client: Burbank Water and Power

Architecture Collaborators: Leo A. Daly and Tyler/Gonzalez 

SITES Certification Achieved - March 2013 - One-Star

AHBE was commissioned to help progressive California utility company, Burbank Water and Power (BWP), transform its main campus from an industrial relic into a sustainable model for the rest of the U.S.  AHBE created an ambitious master plan for a campus that transforms the industrial complex into a regenerative green space with an unprecedented number of integrated sustainable landscape technologies.  With the first phase completed, AHBE has successfully demonstrated that industry and environment can co-exist and thrive together.   


Sustainable features include five different types of water filtration technologies:  infiltration, flow-through, detention, tree root cells, and rainwater capture.  The campus also features one of the longest “green streets” in Southern California, running across three contiguous city streets. The “green street” acts as a filter before runoff enters the storm water system.  By California law, all projects are required to mitigate at least the first ¾ inches of rainfall, the water that collects all the dust, pollution and other toxins that accumulate on non-permeable urban surfaces such as streets and roofs.  Thanks to the combination of innovative technologies that AHBE has integrated into the design, the campus is already mitigating the first full inch. In the future, the master plan would see the campus become a zero-runoff site, far exceeding what state law requires.  The Administration Building features three rooftop gardens that serve to reduce the heat island effect, help channel and filter storm water, and reduce the building’s air conditioning requirements.    The roof gardens are covered with recycled glass pavers that depict a meandering stream and native plants. The most striking feature of the new campus is Centennial Courtyard, a green space located within the footprint of a decommissioned electrical substation.  Part of the industrial structure still stands, serving as a giant super-trellis and creating a poignant juxtaposition of industry and nature.  All of the landscape serves a dual purpose:  aesthetically, providing green space for employees and the public; functionally, hiding extensive sustainable landscape technologies and making the entire campus function as a water filtration system, cleaning water and removing toxins before the water returns to the watershed.  Lastly, solar power is also being generated on the campus.   The architectural solar array emulates design elements of the BWP Administrative Building, paying homage to both the Art Deco heritage of the building and the City’s historical ties to aviation.  The solar system will also almost completely power the new LEED-certified building that is currently under construction.   

The Burbank Water and Power Magnolia Power Plant Campus is the only industrial project out of 150 national and international projects to be included in the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) pilot program. Similar to the LEED rating system for buildings, SITES is the first step toward creating a rating system that would measure the efficiency and effectiveness of landscapes that tie our urban environments together.