LADWP’s John Ferraro Building Marks 50 Year Anniversary with Distinctive LEED Certification
LADWP Officials, Councilmember LaBonge, Local Architects and Sustainability Experts Celebrate Building’s Historic and Sustainable Architectural Significance
|LOS ANGELES (June 24, 2015) – Los Angeles Department of Water and Power General Manager Marcie Edwards, Councilmember Tom LaBonge of the 4th District, Christopher Martin of the architectural firm that designed the building, A.C. Martin, U.S. Green Building Council CEO Rick Fedrizzi, and other dignitaries today marked the golden anniversary of the John Ferraro Building (JFB) at a ceremony outside the utility’s headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles. LADWP also announced the building’s new designation as a prestigious LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified facility, and hosted an open house and architectural/sustainability panel discussion.
The JFB stands as an architecturally significant building that helped usher in a new era for LADWP, Bunker Hill and the City of Los Angeles. Architects, historians and photographers have celebrated the JFB as one of the great mid-century buildings of Los Angeles. Fifty years after it was built, the building earned its LEED Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance (EBOM) certification, recognized for best-in-class building strategies and practices.
“Today, we celebrated not only the 50th Anniversary of this iconic downtown building, but also the transformation that has occurred within the building to make it a model of energy and water efficiency. The steps we have taken to achieve LEED Certification from the US Green Building Council are emblematic of who we are as a utility. We’re committed to providing reliable water and electricity to our customers at the lowest rates around, but also committed to doing so in a sustainable manner,” said LADWP General Manager Marcie Edwards.
Members of the public, employees, retirees and guests attended the event which also featured a new historic photo exhibit in the building lobby.
Originally known as the General Office Building (GOB), LADWP headquarters was already an innovative building when it first opened in 1965. It was built as an all-electric building and resembled a power transformer surrounded by a reflecting pool and six large fountains. As one of the first buildings atop a new and revitalized Bunker Hill, at night, the GOB brought to mind a shining beacon, symbolic of the growth and expansion of Los Angeles.
The building featured innovative, experimental features such as integrated heating, ventilation, lighting and air conditioning. The reflecting pool and fountains, to this day, help dissipate about 1/3 of the air conditioning heat load. All climate regulating devices for the building were centralized within a data control center.
A much sought after filming location that has appeared in many commercials, films and videos, LADWP’s headquarters is still used to evoke the future.
In 2001, the building was renamed in honor of long-time LA City Council President John Ferraro following his passing after many decades of public service.
“John Ferraro was a wonderful LA city leader and served LA for all of his political life,” said Christopher C. Martin, Chairman and CEO of AC Martin, the firm that designed both LA City Hall and the JFB. “He was also a close personal friend of our family and it is so fitting and an honor to have John Ferraro’s name associated with the DWP building.”
Long before the goal to achieve LEED began, the JFB underwent an extensive retrofit of its major operating systems in the 1990s. Forward-thinking staff pushed to retrofit the central plant, installed two 1,100-ton chillers for air conditioning, replaced most of the lighting with energy efficient fixtures, and began a meticulous documentation program of the building’s power usage to track performance and improvement over the next two decades.
One of the major efficiency measures was a three-year, in-house installation of variable frequency controls for cooling and airflow. This allowed fans and other equipment to run at lower speeds once air conditioning demand was met. Coupled with new digital energy monitoring systems, staff have a wide range of data at their disposal that allows them to fine tune and tailor operations for the building’s needs.
In addition, solar panels were added to one of the parking lots and electric vehicle chargers were installed for employees and visitors. To reduce waste, a recycling program was instituted throughout the building. To conserve water, new low flow fixtures were installed to increase efficiency and the exterior grounds were completely redesigned with water conservation gardens to serve as a model and inspiration of the new, ideal water-wise Los Angeles landscape.
By the time a goal was established to achieve LEED certification, the JFB was well positioned to meet the criteria of the USGBC.
Thanks to many hardworking and dedicated staff, the JFB was able to provide a solid waste policy audit, an alternative commuting survey, a water-performance management plan, a sustainable purchasing policy and audit, a green cleaning policy, a custodial effectiveness assessment, continued reductions in outdoor water use and installation of more EV chargers.
Efficiency and sustainability improvements to the JFB will continue to be made in the coming years. As the flagship building for the Department and an important architectural landmark of the L.A. skyline, the JFB will continue to be the second home for the thousands of employees who work hard every day to care for and maintain the vast system that provides L.A. residents with reliable electricity and water service.
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