Building Planners In Los Angeles Green Light / Going Green

los angeles leed buildings 03 Building Planners In Los Angeles Green Light / Going Green

Is the city famous for its smog and its blockbusters ready to take the “LEED” in an industry other than entertainment?

Judging by the November approval of a new “green building program” by the Los Angeles Planning Commission, Los Angeles will become one of the most ambitiously green cities in the nation. The commission approved a policy that will require large new developments to be 15% more energy efficient and aims to significantly cut the city’s green house gas emissions. New construction with more than 50 units or 50,000 square feet would be required to meet the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) standards set out by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The result would reduce the amount of energy used in new developments below those under California’s current building codes, which are already the strictest in the nation.

In Los Angeles, vehicle emissions are regulated by the federal government, as are power plants another major source of greenhouses gases because Los Angeles, unlike other cities, owns its own utilities. So, for LA, it’s even more important for the local government to regulate emissions whenever possible. In a city where new construction seems to be on every corner, that means regulating new development.

los angeles leed buildings 04 Building Planners In Los Angeles Green Light / Going Green

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Los Angeles Housing Market Is Crashing But L.A. Weekly Finds The Real Disaster

los angeles low income housing crisis Los Angeles Housing Market Is Crashing But L.A. Weekly Finds The Real Disaster

These days you can’t turn on a TV, open a paper or hit a news site without seeing something about the housing crisis and the banks going belly up. It all sounds so bad, most of us feel like closing our curtains and hope this crisis doesn’t come our way. That might work for Paris Hilton, but for the people who where already on the edge, this crisis is rolling right over them.

Los Angeles and California are in the middle of their own budget crisis and all those people relying some kind of assistance are in real trouble.

Here are some numbers from L.A. Weekly:

  • Minus 78 percent (yes, -78%): That’s the latest massive drop in the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, slashed from $45 million in last year’s city budget to just $10 million this year.
  • 49: That’s L.A.’s bottom-of-the-barrel “housing affordability” rank out of 50 big American cities, with San Francisco ranked last, according to a 2008 survey by San Francisco nonprofit SustainLane.com.
  • $962: Last year’s average cost of renting in Los Angeles, 43 percent higher than in 2000.
  • 10,000 to 14,000: The dwellings built in each year of L.A.’s just-ended boom, mostly in dense, multistory, “luxury” complexes.
  • 330: The number of “affordable units” constructed each year, on average, during the same period, from 2003 to 2006.
  • 7,369: The number of affordable units lost during the same period, mostly through conversions to luxury units but also demolitions related to new housing.
  • 13,713: The net number of rent-controlled apartments and houses lost between 2001 and 2007 to demolition sparked by new construction and, even more often, to condo conversions sparked by the housing bubble’s rush to home ownership.

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Greening the City of Angels

green la1 Greening the City of Angels

Los Angeles is city of smog and silicone, strips malls and SUVs. While there are some gems like Griffith Park and the Malibu shoreline, the general consensus is that LA is about as natural as Nicole Kidman’s brow line. But don’t get depressed, organizations like Green LA are ensuring that the city gets the environmental TLC it deserves.

75 environmental leaders from Green LA met with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in late ‘07 to discuss eleven pressing issues, or “asks” — ranging from water to transportation, energy to the port. Here are the highlights:

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There Are Taxis in LA | Some Are Even Green

hybrid taxi 002 There Are Taxis in LA | Some Are Even Green

Los Angeles doesn’t have a great reputation when it comes to transport. Combine our lack of a reliable citywide bus or train system with our insistence on adhering to the California Car Pool (defined by Urban Dictionary as “when each member of a group uses their own car to go to the same destination [even when] the group is together at the start or close enough to share rides”) and you’ll see why our skies are so smoggy. Or not see, as the case may be.

Enter the newly launched eco-friendly taxi service, EcoNation, which offers LA a breath of fresh air — literally. EcoNation is committed to providing chauffeured luxury ground transportation services with new ecological standards. Their current fleet consists of a Compressed Natural Gas Lincoln Town Car, the Toyota Prius Hybrid (natch) and coming soon, a GM Yukon or Chevvy Tahoe Hybrid. A ride in the Prius will cost you a little more than a regular taxi in LA, but with internet access, digital entertainment programming and healthy treats on hand, who cares?

hybrid taxi 001 There Are Taxis in LA | Some Are Even Green

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