Hollywood’s eco-friendly intentions are perhaps most visible when it comes to the physical structures that house the entertainment biz. By no means are these green buildings everywhere, yet, but there are a few, and more are in the works.
Among the first to step up with a green building was Warner Bros. Back in 2004, when the studio decided to house its entire international TV distribution department under one roof, it made sure that roof was as environmentally friendly as possible. The results, as certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, earned a silver rating on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDS) scale, the nationally accepted benchmark for high-performance eco-friendly buildings — the only such building in Burbank, and one of the few in Los Angeles.
To earn this certification requires serious attention to detail. Everything from upping air quality to using better windows to sourcing 57,000 square feet of eco-friendly furniture came into play. Warners also boosted the original building’s energy efficiency by 38%, which saves the studio $80,000 to $90,000 a year. (On the whole, Warner Bros. has reduced its total energy consumption by 14% — about a million dollars of annual savings).
There are, of course, even higher LEEDS standards buildings can strive for. Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Meier is going for gold with his now-under-construction space at 9900 Wilshire Blvd., where green activities will be staged surrounding the upcoming Golden Globes.
Gold, or perhaps platinum, also seems to be the goal for the William Morris Agency. The tenpercentery’s new office building in Beverly Hills, due to be finished in 2009, is aiming to be among the city’s greenest.
“We’ve told our builders to use the most eco-friendly everything as possible,” says William Morris CEO Jim Wiatt. “It was part of the deal.”
WMA isn’t just talking about low-flow toilets or solar panels — though they’ll have those as well — but top-to-bottom green gear. That could include everything from rain-capture systems on the roof to bamboo — one of the world’s most sustainable construction materials — on the floor. “It won’t be perfect,” Wiatt concedes, “but it’s one more step towards becoming a good citizen.”