Smart and Sustainable Solutions at the City Scale

Mayor Eric Garcetti

City of Los Angeles, California

When it comes to sustainability, the bigger the city, the bolder the goal in its scale—but also the more important and influential when achieved. If Los Angeles, a metropolis of 4 million people and 503 square miles, with the third-largest metropolitan GDP on Earth can become sustainable, so can any other city and town.

Los Angeles has been a hub of green building activity for many years. As early as 2002, when I first served on the City Council, we became the first big city to require virtually all new municipal buildings to be LEED-certified. In 2009, we raised the minimum standard to LEED Silver.

But our most impactful achievement was using the public sector to show that green construction had arrived. As Council president in 2007, I championed legislation to accelerate the greening of L.A.’s private sector buildings. We adopted the city’s first Green Building Program, which required large, new construction or major renovations to meet LEED standards.

As our city’s public sector led its private sector on green construction, so the City of Los Angeles led the State of California. Our actions here played a significant role in driving statewide progress in the form of the CalGreen building code that governs new construction. Today California leads the nation in LEED-certified square footage and number of certified projects.

Now the State is ready to go well beyond LEED. The California Energy Commission is calling on all new residential construction statewide to be zero net energy by 2020, and all new commercial construction to be zero net energy by 2030. We can make this happen. Earlier this year, I attended the dedication for the Net Zero Plus Electrical Training Institute’s new building, the largest net zero energy commercial retrofit in the country. Nothing had to be torn down or wasted in its construction.

Now we need to do the same with our other buildings. Eighty percent of the buildings that you will see in L.A. in 2030 have already been built. The city is developing an ordinance that will require all large buildings to benchmark and publish their energy and water usage. That level of transparency will help move the market to act and improve our building stock.

For these reasons, Los Angeles is a fitting and proud host for this year’s Greenbuild. I am honored to welcome the more than 25,000 green building professionals who have chosen to convene in our city. You have come to a place that honors your values. Los Angeles has the most installed solar panels and the most publicly available electric vehicle chargers of any city in the country. We have the largest public safety electric vehicle fleet. We have created nearly 10,000 green jobs under my administration alone. As of 2013, our greenhouse gas emissions were down 20 percent from our 1990 baseline, nearly halfway to our 2025 target of 45 percent reductions under L.A.’s first Sustainable City pLAn. L.A. is well on its way to becoming our nation’s most sustainable big city.

I want to thank USGBC for its leadership in championing the green building movement for more than two decades. The introduction and adoption of LEED in the marketplace is a testament to USGBC’s influence to instill sustainability into our built environment.

And to all Angelenos: Keep up the great work that is turning Los Angeles into a model of sustainability and smart growth.

Here’s to a fantastic Greenbuild!


Mayor Eric Garcetti