The largest green building complex in the United States officially opened its doors for business as part of Earth Day celebrations at the headquarters of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. A massive 536 kW PV system installed by PowerLight provides the core of the buildings efficiency and environmental attributes.Torrance, California – April 23, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The project received a Gold Level Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building rating system. The complex, the largest ever to receive a LEED Gold rating, has 624,000 square feet of office space and will initially house about 2,000 Toyota associates. “Office buildings have a significant impact on the environment, using about 65 percent of the electricity and 12 percent of the drinking water in the U.S.,” said Christine Ervin USGBC President & CEO. “Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the environmental impact buildings have, while also enhancing the overall work environment. This complex demonstrates what can be accomplished when concern for the environment plays a role in every aspect of the design and building process.” Toyota elected to pursue LEED certification for the new complex as part of the company’s Earth Charter guidelines established in 1992, calling on the company to reduce its impact on the environment in every aspect of its business. Building a green complex, however, also had to be based on smart business practices. “Every decision along the way also had to make good business sense and fall within budget guidelines,” said Robert Pitts, Toyota group vice president for administrative services. “We wanted to show that building an environmentally sensitive office complex does not have to be limited to small or unique projects – or ones with inflated budgets.” Some of the keys to earning “Gold” certification include: – The widespread use of materials with recycled content. The project achieved a 95 percent recycled content based on LEED calculations including more than 250 miles of reinforced steel used throughout the complex – made up primarily of recycled automobiles. – One of the largest commercial solar electric systems in North America. The system, developed by PowerLight Corporation, generates enough electricity during the day to power more than 500 homes and greatly reduces the complex’s demand on the local utility grid utility grid load during peak hours. – The installation of a special pipeline by the West Basin Municipal Water District to supply recycled water to the complex for cooling, landscaping and restroom flushing. Combined with other efforts to reduce potable water consumption, including drought resistant landscaping, waterless urinals and low-flow fixtures, the complex is expected to conserve more than 11 million gallons of drinking water a year, enough to supply about 180 homes annually. – Energy-efficiency features such as direct-indirect lighting, high efficiency insulation and thermally insulated glass help the complex exceed State of California energy efficiency targets by more than 20 percent. The complex also features a hydrogen fueling and service station to support Toyota’s fuel cell vehicle development program. The station, built in partnership with Stuart Energy, is the first of six planned by Toyota for California as part of its efforts to create a fuel cell community in conjunction with government industry and educational organizations. Toyota worked with a number of companies in pursuit of the LEED certification, including CTG Energetics, Inc., a sustainable design consulting firm, LPA Inc., the architectural firm that designed the complex and Turner Construction Company, the general contractor.