Project: Sustainable Features Analysis

  • Conducted meaningful research and analysis of an already built sustainable landscape or building project.
  • Utilized freehand sketching, diagramming and drawing.
  • Practiced choosing dynamic compositions in the layout of diagram sketches
  • Cropped and manipulated photos in Photoshop
  • Formed better understanding of sustainable practices and elements used in successful buildings and landscapes

The 23-acre plant has been servicing Burbank for over a hundred years and is the only power plant in the world that runs on 100% recycled water. They also boast net-zero stormwater runoff—something very important in drought ridden California. You can see in this aerial that this part of Burbank is very industrial, and yet, there is this oasis of green, thanks to Burbank Water and Power’s eco-campus.

There are three green roofs on campus. Not only are these planted rooftops extraordinary to look at, they also reduce the annual cost of cooling by about $14,000 thanks to the Heat Island Effect. This is one of the aspects that helped them get a Leeds Platinum certification for this 1949 building—one of three Leed Platinum certified buildings on their campus. About 70% of rainfall gets absorbed by the roof plants. The other 30% is captured in two nearby underground tanks.

That rainwater catchment system is located under the beautifully designed deco-themed solar carports. In addition to providing shade for the cars which lessens wear and tear, the solar generates enough energy to power the LEED Platinum service center and warehouse. Solar is also used to power landscape features, like fountains. Once again, the stormwater runoff doesn’t go to waste. It’s channeled from the carports to the underground tanks via rain chains.

The eco-campus focuses heavily on water catchment and stormwater filtration. And not just directly on the campus. They also redid the adjacent Lake Avenue with five different types of runoff filtration, making it one of the longest Green Streets in Southern California. Not only does it make the neighborhood prettier, it also helps filter and clean polluted storm runoff before entering our aquifers.


The crown jewel of the site is the  WWII era substation. Instead of tearing down this steel giant and creating more industrial waste, they created a super trellis, which provides a wonderful, shaded garden space for employees. The gardens aren’t just pretty. They serve a function. Here, the stormwater is collected in an old utility tunnel, now converted into a phytoextraction filtration trench that runs the length of this courtyard. It is filled with gravel—salvaged from the site–and plants, carefully chosen to absorb toxins from runoff. This Centennial Courtyard is one of a few sites chosen by the Sustainable Sites Project as a testing ground to create guidelines for leadership in landscape sustainability.

In photoshop, I layered the photographs, blurred the bottom image, and used the masking tool to highlight the sustainable feature. To further enhance the feature, I used a screentone brush with gold. My goal was to create a visually appealing and consistent collection of images that highlight the sustainable features of the Burbank Water and Power Eco Campus.

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