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[IMGCAP(1)]BURBANK, CA-Standing inside a new 60,000-square-foot private aviation hangar unveiled at Bob Hope Airport here on Tuesday, Los Angles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa hailed the platinum LEED certified building as “the greenest aviation facility in the world.”

There’s no known competition for the world’s greenest aviation facilities, but LA’s mayor spoke with pride about the $17 million hangar, saying the facility at 3030 N. Clybourn Ave. on the west side of Bob Hope Airport is a “model for the city, the nation and the world.”

[IMGCAP(2)]Villaraigosa, who was part of a public presentation of Hangar 25, which its designers are calling “the world’s most sustainable aircraft hangar,” stood in front of a Boeing 737 business jet that was pulled inside the hangar for a public unveiling ceremony and plugged into the facility’s self-sustaining energy grid.

Villaraigosa was flanked by Rick Fedrizzi, president and founding chairman of the US Green Building Council, Andy Meyers, president of Hangar 25 developer Duarte, CA-based Shangri-La Construction and commercial real estate maverick Tony Thompson, chairman and CEO of Irvine-based Thompson National Properties.

[IMGCAP(3)]Thompson was on hand to make public his firm’s partnership with Shangri-La in a new $100 million green fund. The fund will initially target “office, industrial and aviation facilities,” he said. Thompson, whose $1 billion G-Reit fund targeted the government sector, said that at some point the fund may also be applied to government buildings and projects, including school facilities. “We need to focus our interest on the best possible environmental payback,” Thompson noted, adding that beside being green the goal of the fund was to also “be black.”

Hangar 25′s builders and designers say it was built at costs relative to other aviation hangars, and that’s before government rebates for solar usage are figured into the equation.

“This cost was $275 per square foot to build,” said Meyers, who called the building price comparable to building a non-green hangar.

The hangar features a solar-powered plug-in jet system, a $3 million solar power system comprised of more than 1,530 solar panels, sustainable landscaping that includes a synlawn (synthetic grass), electric tow vehicles, a chemical-free fire system as well as bamboo furniture and low-flow plumbing.

During the public presentation of the hangar there were no lights on in the building, which was lit entirely by natural lighting.

“The sun is providing all of the power,” Meyers said to the crowd of about 150 business people, members of the community, activists and media on hand.

The solar panels on the roof provide 110% of the facilities energy use needs. Shangri-La executives say the remainder of the power generated will be remitted to the local energy supplier, and eventually the building’s owners will be paid for the excess energy generated.

Cooling of the building is assisted by the solar panels, which help insulate the building, along with a system of 18 swamp coolers and large propeller-size ceiling fans.

With assistance from the newly created green fund, Meyers said, “We are planning on doing this all over the country.”

Fedrizzi said the knowledge gained from building and designing the hangar will transfer to schools, affordable housing, commercial properties, and “every building type that you can imagine.

John Picard, a sustainability adviser who helped “green the White House,” served as the lead designer on Hangar 25. “This is the next economy,” he said of the green building industry. “This building took the aviation industry and gave it a chance to plug into the green industry, too.”

In fact, Meyers said Shangri-La is in discussions with Maguire Properties executives about building a similar green hangar at Van Nuys Airport on some of Maguire Aviation’s space there.

Villaraigosa noted there are other green projects in LA, including plans to modernize the Tom Bradley Terminal at LAX to achieve LEED certification. Villaraigosa, along with other LA City Council members in November, revealed an initiative called Solar LA, believed to be the nation’s largest solar power plan, with the announced installation of a 1.3 gigawatt solar power network of residential, commercial and municipally-owned solar systems.

“Today, as a region, we’re saying green building should be the only kind of building,” he said.

Avjet Corp. will serve as the operating partner of Hangar 25. The facility was built from the ground up on what was a brownfield with contaminated the soil. Shangri-La received roughly $1 million in incentives from federal and state grants for the solar panels, company officials said.

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