BURBANK WATER AND POWER

Features

BWP’s Rooftop Gardens top its renovated Administration Building as part of the EcoCampus project.

To learn more about features that support BWP’s commitment to sustainability, click on any of the links or tabs below to get an “in depth” look at five innovative environmental projects showcasing green technologies. You can also view a short EcoCampus presentation to find out more.

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A rooftop garden is one of three green roofs at the main BWP facility.
Rooftop Gardens/Green Roofs

The renovation of the historic BWP Administration Building was designed to achieve a LEED Platinum rating in recognition of an energy efficient facility that is environmentally responsible, profitable, and a healthy place to work. A highlight of the sustainable features in this building is its rooftop gardens/green roof.

In 2011, BWP installed three green roofs at the main BWP facility, replacing its aging conventional roof. Energy cost savings from the installation of these roofs is estimated at over $14,000 annually.

These three state-of-the-art rooftop gardens use plants to absorb about 70 percent of the rainwater that falls on the building. Any rain water overflow is captured by two massive underground storage and percolation tanks buried under the adjacent solar-covered parking lot. The water then percolates through soil over time to recharge underground aquifers.

The rooftop gardens absorb CO2 emissions, filter air pollutants, and lower ambient air temperatures, reducing both the “heat island effect” and the energy needed to cool this historic building.

To learn more about BWP's rooftop gardens, click here.

Silva Cell System.
Lake Street Green Street

In 2011, BWP’s streetscape renovation project turned Burbank’s Lake Street, between Magnolia Blvd. and Olive Ave., into a green street – a showcase of five new storm water management systems and energy efficient LED lighting.  Its goals were to:

  • Showcase innovative stormwater treatment technologies to the community
  • Create an attractive streetscape that enhances the pedestrian experience
  • Not lose any parking along the street
  • Meet the mandated stormwater quality requirements

Five different technologies were used to capture stormwater run-off. They work together to help BWP achieve its goal of a zero runoff campus where all stormwater falling on the campus is percolated back into the aquifer.

  1. Permeable Pavers & Gravel Reservoir: These pavers allow surface water to drain into their sub-base through gaps or joints placed between each paver. 
  2. Infiltration Planter Bump-Outs: Bump-outs slow down the speed of traveling water, allowing for more effective stormwater capture.
  3. Filtration Planters at Open Space: These planters are structural landscaped reservoirs used to collect, filter, and/or infiltrate stormwater runoff, allowing pollutants to settle and filter out as the water percolates through the planter soil before infiltrating into the ground.
  4. Silva Cell System: Silva Cell for trees create an underground frame that can bear traffic loads and offers ample root space that allows urban trees to grow into large and beautiful specimens.
  5. Kristar Tree Pod System: Tree box that serves the important function of filtering out ultra-fine and dissolved pollutants that are normally found in stormwater runoff. 

Other important components of the Lake Street Green Street project include using recycled water for all landscaping on the property and lighting the campus area using LED technology. 

Learn more about capturing rain water on Lake Street here.

BWP’s solar carport complements the Art Deco style of the adjacent Administration Building.
Lake Street Solar Installation & Underground Water Storage and Percolation

BWP is using the upgrade of its 26-acre campus as an opportunity to utilize solar photovoltaic panels in a significant way – and to demonstrate that PV can be designed in an architecturally pleasing manner.  Largely funded by a Department of Energy grant, BWP built a 240 kW solar system fronting Lake Street between Magnolia Blvd. and Olive Avenue. Additionally, two large underground storage tanks housed beneath this solar-covered parking lot capture storm water from the rooftop gardens and the solar canopy via rain chains and down spouts.

Architecturally Integrated Solar

The architecture of the solar carport complements the Art Deco style found in many Burbank landmarks including the adjacent BWP Administration Building. The steel solar panel supports stretching from the arches resemble airplane wings to pay tribute to Burbank’s rich history in aviation. The support arches were inspired by Roman aqueducts and channel rainwater landing on the solar panels to the rain chains and water spouts. The rainwater then travels down to massive underground water storage and percolation tanks.

Underground Water Storage and Percolation

Rain water comes suddenly and over-saturates the soil causing run-off into storm drains. These huge underground storage tanks capture storm water and allow the water to percolate down through the soil over time, as the soil allows.

In California, a significant portion of electricity produced is used to pump water, mostly the long distances from Northern California to the dryer southern regions. By capturing rain water and directing it down to underground aquifers for local use, BWP saves the energy needed to pump the water long distances.

BWP’s Centennial Courtyard transformed a substation “ruin” into usable open space.
Centennial Courtyard

Part of BWP’s EcoCampus Project, the innovative design of the BWP Centennial Courtyard showcases how an industrial relic can be transformed into usable open space. Demolition of the un-used electric substation was paid for by the scrap value of the metals. Materials were reused in the courtyard avoiding most waste from going to landfills. The skeletal remains of the substation will be used as a trellis and soon will be covered in living vines, creating an interesting juxtaposition of industry and environment.

All the storm water landing in the Centennial Courtyard is directed to a utility tunnel running the length of the courtyard. The tunnel has been re-purposed into a phyto-extraction canal where carefully selected species of plants filter water runoff before releasing it back into the ground. Additional sustainable courtyard features include the solar-powered flow of recycled water through its fountains.

BWP commissioned Culver City, California-based AHBE Landscape Architects (AHBE) to create the EcoCampus master plan. AHBE President Calvin Abe, states, "Landscape has a key role to play in the regeneration of our cities. Beyond the aesthetics, it can proactively counteract many of the problems that we face in urban environments. BWP's EcoCampus stands as a restorative example of what can be accomplished when there is a long-term vision.”

The courtyard is currently being recognized as a test site for The Sustainable Sites Initiative Project (SITES) – a two-year pilot program of over 150 landscapes worldwide, led by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and the United States Botanic Garden to create guidelines for leadership in landscape sustainability. The BWP campus is the only industrial project included in the SITES program.

 Re-purposing to Create Courtyard

  • A steel structure was re-purposed to create a super trellis.
  • Boulders relocated from the local landfill were used to create the two fountains.
  • Renewable solar energy powers the flow of recycled water through the fountains.
  • Concrete ruins remain as sculptures to pay tribute to the long history of service 
BWP’s Magnolia Power Plant is the only plant in the world to operate on 100 percent recycled water.
Magnolia Power Plant

The Magnolia Power Plant (MPP) was awarded the 2005 International Power Plant of the Year and is truly unique in the world. Two state-of-the-art water treatment systems allow MPP to operate on 100 percent recycled water, over 1 million gallons per day, and prevent any water from being discharged into the storm drains and out to our oceans.

MPP significantly increases the amount of local electricity generation in Southern California, improving regional electric reliability and reducing reliance on long-distance transmission lines for energy delivery. Locating the power plant close to the demand center (the homes and businesses that will ultimately use the electricity) reduces losses that normally occur when sending electricity over major transmission lines by as much as 50 percent. This strategy helps serve consumers more efficiently and cost-effectively.

The new Magnolia plant is twice as efficient and produces 98 percent fewer emissions than the old units it replaced. It replaced four units with the total capacity of 115 MW, however, it only uses a third of the fuel they consumed. Besides controlling nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide emissions, the use of MPP also results in lower overall operating costs.

Learn more about the Magnolia Power Plant by clicking the links below.

  • How it Works
  • Reclaimed Water Treatment System-Zero Liquid Discharge