Six buildings have been granted awards in the 2020 LosAngeles Better Buildings Challenge. The annualsustainability awards were held virtually due to the pandemic withnearly 200 people tuning in. Among the winners, Jonathan Rose Cos.won portfolio of the year; Kilroy Realty's Westside Media Centerwon for energy efficiency project of the year; Century Housing'sFlorence Avenue Villas won affordable housing project of the year;and Kaiser Permanente's Harbor Medical Center won for waterperformance of the year.

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"At LABBC we say that innovation is not just abouttechnology—it's about people.  It's about people pushingboundaries, and finding new ways to drive continuous improvement,"David Hodgins, executive director of LABBC, tellsGlobeSt.com.  "A common thread between thisyear's Finalists was their ability to engage stakeholders and findwin-win solutions."

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This year, LABBC added an affordable housing award categorybecause the asset class is in high demand and severelyundersupplied in Los Angeles. "Affordable Multifamily is a majorfocus for LABBC, and for the City," says Hodgins. "People shouldnot have to make trade-offs between paying their utility bills andfilling prescriptions, and owners of affordable multifamily housingoperate on razor thin margins.  We have to findcost-effective ways to reduce utility costs on bothsides.  These projects are great examples of how to dothat—our job is to spotlight them, and help other owners followtheir lead."

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The program has grown consistently since 2011. It now has morethan 100 million square feet of participating buildings. "Theprogram is recognized as one of the most significant sustainabilityinitiatives in the world," says Hodgins. "There is more tobe done. Our City's science-based targets include reducing energyuse 22% and GHG emissions 50 percent by 2025 per square foot forall building types. To achieve that kind of markettransformation, we need proof points. We need examples tofollow."

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In addition to the private winners, LABBC also awarded the walkthe walk energy award to Los Angeles Community College District andthe walk the walk water award to the City of Los Angeles' City HallEast. "High-performance buildings are more flexible, cost less tooperate, and provide a healthier environment for occupants," saysHodgins. "Sustainability has to be a central element of Cities'—andindividual companies'—strategies to bounce back from this massivedisruption we're all experiencing. Growth in sustainability willhappen at the nexus between protecting occupant health andcontrolling utility expenses – the good news is that those twoissues have always been closely connected."

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Looking ahead, the program is continuing to set high goals andencouraging buildings to set new standards in sustainability. "Moreand more real estate companies are incorporating EnvironmentalSocial Governance principles into their due diligence processes,underwriting, all the way into their leases," saysHodgins. "We're working hard to accelerate thattrend. To hit our climate goals we need Class B and Cbuildings on board, too. That's why the City passed itsExisting Buildings Energy and Water Efficiency Ordinance, whichrequires all buildings over 20,000 GSF to benchmark and discloseenergy and water use every year, and take action to improve thosenumbers over time."

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.