Green Vision

Since its inception, The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands has demonstrated a strong commitment to the environment and often uses the 200-acre estate as a living laboratory to test and develop sustainable environmental practices, including water conservation measures, generating solar and geothermal energy, building green buildings, and most recently creating engineered wetlands.

Conserving Precious Water Resources


  • On the historic estate, replacement of a 45-year-old hydraulic block irrigation system, as well as the addition of high-density polyethylene pipes and a soil-moisture calculation system have helped to reduce water use.
  • Introduction of an on-site weather system helps predict future water needs, and irrigation zones are independently controlled
    The estate’s 11 man-made lakes have been relined to eliminate water seepage.
  • Since 2013, Sunnylands staff has examined the lakes’ macroinvertebrates in order to study how biologic systems develop in artificial waterways.
  • Sixty acres of turf on the estate have been replaced with mulch and meadow grasses that can survive without additional irrigation.
  • At Sunnylands Center & Gardens, plants adapted to arid climates reduce water use, while retention basins below the Gardens capture water runoff to help recharge the valley’s aquifer.
  • The Gardens’ design includes reclaimed water pipes that take advantage of future water reclamation projects in the Coachella Valley.

A Sustainable Future

Before the estate was opened to the public in 2012, Sunnylands invested heavily in projects aimed at water conservation, solar energy, and ways to conserve vital resources. 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.


"I shall participate, I shall contribute, and in so doing, I will be the gainer."
- Walter Annenberg

Utilizing the sun & the earth

In the Coachella Valley’s desert environment, there are more than 300 clear and sunny days a year, creating an ideal situation for production of solar energy.

A living laboratory for renewable energy sources.

In July 2012, Sunnylands began generating solar energy, having already installed a state-of-the-art irrigation system. A turf reduction program started in 2011 continues today.

LEED Gold Certification

Sunnylands Center & Gardens was awarded a LEED Gold certification in 2011. LEED, established by the U.S. Green Building Council, stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. New building construction is rated and scored according to factors including sustainable sites, materials and resources, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, energy and atmosphere, and innovation and design process.