LEED Gold Certification
Through solar and geothermal energy, water conservation, recycling and composting programs, and innovative design, Sunnylands Center & Gardens is at the forefront of modern environmental stewardship. In 2011, Sunnylands Center & Gardens received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold rating, the second-highest certification for green building design, construction, operations, and maintenance solutions.
Sunnylands has a sustainability team that ensures the use of best practices and operates under the following Green Vision statement:
Environmental responsibility is a core value of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands. Embracing creative and innovative solutions is central to the Sunnylands culture. We strive to be a leader in implementing sustainable practices to meet our current needs without compromising the environment for future generations. Sharing our environmental experiences with the public broadens the impact of our actions.
You can read or download our Green Vision brochure here.
Utilizing the Sun and the Earth
In the desert environment of the Coachella Valley, there are more than 300 clear and sunny days a year, creating an ideal situation for production of solar energy.
In July 2010, Sunnylands began generating solar energy via its on-site photovoltaic field, located in the northwest section of the property. Three rows of solar panels with 864 collector modules are assembled into a 250-foot-long aluminum structure.
"What matters is that you are doing what you think is right based on the standards which you hold." - Walter Annenberg
Ninety-six geothermal wells extend 396 feet below the Center's great lawn. In winter, a series of underground tubes pump natural heat into the Center, while in summer, the earth becomes a heat sink where heat from the building is transferred into the ground.
Conserving Precious Water Resources
Turf on the golf course has been reduced by 60 acres and drought-tolerant meadow grasses have been introduced into areas that require no additional irrigation. The choice of drought-tolerant and native plants on the property in conjunction with a below-ground irrigation system produce water savings of more than one million gallons per year.
The Gardens were designed to use less than 20 percent of the water district allotment for the property. The replacement of the estate's 45-year-old hydraulic block irrigation system--as well as the addition of high-density polyethylene pipes and an on-site soil moisture calculation system--have helped to reduce water use by 50 percent.
Retention basins catch water runoff at the Center and the 11 manmade lakes on the historic estate have been relined with new fabric to limit water seepage. Pipes have been installed at the corner of Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra drives, ready to connect with the Coachella Valley Water District gray-water project when it becomes available.