Its appearance may not be fancy, but Metro’s brand new Division 3 bus maintenance building has a long list of eco-friendly assets. And some of them could be adapted for our own living spaces.
There’s standard issue stuff: high-efficiency lighting (florescent), low-flow toilets and drought-resistant landscaping. Other assets are somewhat more complicated but doable with effort: room lights connected to motion sensors so that lights turn off automatically when no one is there; pre-programmable heating and cooling systems that can be set to a specified temperature; controls organized in zones so that naturally hot rooms are cooled more than those that are not.
Division 3 also has light-reflective roofing that repels the sun, near ceiling windows that convey cross ventilation and light while impeding direct sun that can quickly heat up a room. It also takes advantage of green power — certified to come from non coal-fired plants, from renewable sources — purchased from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
Division 3, near downtown Los Angeles, is Metro’s newest LEED “green” building. LEED (stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a building rating system that rewards CO2 emission reductions and energy efficiency. Metro already has a gold ranked LEED building in El Monte — dedicated last year — and is working toward silver for Division 3.
In 2003, the Metro Board mandated that all new Metro construction projects use sustainable design and emphasize renewable energy and water conservation. The agency is hoping both to set an example for future facilities and save money — the cost of the green upgrades on the building was $100,000, which Metro believes will be recaptured through lower utility bills.