USGBC-LA Announces 2023 Annual Sustainable Innovation & Community Awards at Green Gala

13th Annual Sustainable Innovation Awards to be Announced at the U.S. Green Building Council-L.A.’s Green Gala Tonight

Long Beach Container Terminal, SAJE, Bending the River Project, and URW to be Awarded, Among Others

LOS ANGELES (December 7, 2023) – Tonight at the 19th Annual Green Gala, the U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles (USGBC-LA) community will celebrate with “A Secret Garden Soiree” in Hollywood, as it presents the 13th Annual Sustainable Innovation Awards (SIA) and Community Awards. The Long Beach Container Terminal (LBCT) has been selected as the Project of the Year. With its 15-year commitment and investment to benefit the San Pedro Port Complex and clean the air for the surrounding communities, the Terminal is well on its way to becoming the first True Net Zero terminal in the world before 2030.

Sixteen more exceptional individual projects are being awarded, from cultural and financial institutions to retail distribution infrastructure and affordable housing. USGBC-LA is also proud to recognize Community Leaders, people or organizations who reflect the spirit of community, including Clean Power Alliance, Bending the River Project, URW/Westfield, and SAJE (full list below).

“We are incredibly proud to have seen the scope and impact of our community engagement, education, and policy work grow so much over the past year, expanding our initiatives around wildfire defense, indoor air quality, and water conservation while more than doubling the number of people participating in our training programs,” states USGBC-LA Executive Director, Ben Stapleton. “The increasing scope and scale of the climate crisis demands more innovative solutions and that is part of why we celebrate the efforts of Long Beach Container Terminal as our Project of the Year this year along with all of our Sustainable Innovation and Community award winners.”

The Sustainable Innovation Awards affirm a project team’s commitment and leadership creating a sustainable built environment for all. The awards are merit-based, for built and designed (unbuilt) projects, that go above and beyond in demonstrating innovation, sustainable strategies, and exemplary performance in the fields of sustainability, occupant health and community engagement. The SIAs are open to California projects, and while a certification (or pending) under any sustainability rating system is preferred, it is not required.

SUSTAINABLE INNOVATION AWARDS (project teams at the end):

Project of the Year

  • Long Beach Container Terminal (LBCT) – complete information below

Energy / Operational Carbon:

Honor – DMV Inglewood Field Office Replacement

Honor – City National 2Cal

Merit – One California Plaza

Merit – Home Depot Distribution Center

Merit – LAMP Consolidated Rent-A-Car Facility

Equity + Environmental Justice:

Honor – Epstein Family Amphitheater

Merit – Villa Hermosa III

Merit – 11010 Santa Monica Blvd.

Health + Well Being:

Honor – University of California, Irvine, College of Health Sciences, School of Nursing, and Integrative Health Institute

Merit – Laserfiche

Merit – San Bernardino Valley College Technical Education Building


Honor – Santa Ynez Chumash Museum     

Honor – Upper Los Angeles River & Tributaries Revitalization Plan

Merit – Bank of America Plaza

Zero Waste and Circular Solutions:

Honor – Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County

Merit – Partake Kitchen

[High resolution images of all projects available upon request.  To take an online tour of all the SIA winners, visit the USGBC-LA EcoMapLA.]

Long Beach Container Terminal, Long Beach, CA (Photo courtesy of Long Beach Container Terminal)

The annual Project of the Year embodies not only premier green building practices, but reflects the complete spirit of the SIAs. The Long Beach Container Terminal is recognized as the most technologically advanced, efficient and environmentally-friendly terminal in the U.S. Forty percent of the goods provided in the U.S. come either through the Port of Los Angeles or the Port of Long Beach. By electrifying all the cranes and transport vehicles and achieving true Net Zero, the Terminal will not be contributing any criteria pollutants (NOx,SOx, PM2.5 and PM10) or greenhouse gasses to the global carbon budget, directly addressing the second most severe air quality nonattainment zone in the country.

Highlights include:

  • Spent $2.5 billion to electrify all the cranes including cargo transport vehicles.
  • Demonstrated sector leadership by not only achieving carbon neutrality for its Scopes 1 and 2 emissions, but also began to tackle its supply chain Scope 3 emissions from ships, trucks and trains.
  • In 2022/2023, the State and Federal Government awarded $67 million to LBCT to further electrify the remaining heavy-duty cargo handling equipment.
  • Training, reskilling and upskilling the workforce – job assurance and commitments
  • Heavily invested in addressing environmental injustices and supporting local community.

“We are very honored by this prestigious award. Although we are already one of the most advanced and environmentally friendly cargo-handling facilities in the world, LBCT continues to pursue a sensible strategy with its employees, partners and stakeholders to achieve complete Net Zero operations in just a few years,” said Anthony Otto, LBCT Chief Executive Officer. “LBCT remains a committed community partner in the goal for a greener Southern California.”

Community Awards

USGBC-LA also honors the ongoing importance of its community by recognizing that spirit in nine people or groups this year. These awards were selected by the Chapter leadership:

Emerging Leader Award:  Alexandre Authie, Senior Project Engineer, Energy and Sustainability, AMA Group

Recognizing an individual who is still early in their career, but is demonstrating industry leadership in pushing us all forward to a more sustainable built environment.

Kevin Devine Award:  Noe Ortega, Assistant Chief Engineer, One California Plaza

This award honors the life and work of Kevin Devine, commemorating a leading green building operations, maintenance, or facilities professional who demonstrates the highest values that Kevin represented: true leadership and setting an example for others.

Environmental Justice Award (2 Awardees):  Eastyard Communities for Environmental Justice, and Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE)

Honors an organization or person who has led the way in putting equity and the environment at the center of focus for projects and buildings in our region.

Corporate Sustainability Award:  URW / Westfield

Recognizes a company creating lasting change through ambitious goals, policy, and action towards a more sustainable future.

Community Impact Award:  Bending the River Project (Lauren Bon)

Recognizes outstanding leadership paving the way toward a more sustainable future.

Partner of the Year Award:  Clean Power Alliance

Recognizes organizational leadership and commitment to accelerating the transformation of Southern California into a more sustainable region for all.

Heart of the Chapter Award: 

Nurit Katz, Chief Sustainability Officer, UCLA

Jenny Whitson, Director, Sustainability & ESG, IQHQ REIT

Honors a USGBC-LA member – this year two – who has gone above and beyond in their dedication to creating a more sustainable future for us all and inspires us to keep doing this work.

All the Awards will be presented during the Green Gala, in front of a guest list of over 500 top industry professionals including real estate owners and developers, local government representatives, architects, engineers, contractors, agencies, sustainability professionals and other supporters. With the built environment touching energy, water, waste, health, and so much more, USGBC-LA collaborates across a broad spectrum of community, corporate, and government partners .

Adds Stapleton, “We continue to be humbled by the support we receive from our sponsors and community partners to continue to grow our programming to address critical regional needs. We look forward to extending our  impact in 2024 to issues around extreme heat, clean construction, and workforce development to create a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable region for all the people of California.”

The Green Gala is supported through the donations of many corporate partners:  AMA Group, Athens Services, Beneficial State Bank, Bernards, BNBuilders, Hathaway Dinwiddie, Howard Building Corporation, Leading Edge, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Port of Long Beach, Rising Realty, Roux, SafeworkCM, San Bernardino Community College District, and University of Southern California; and additional support from Building Skills Partnership, GreenWealth Energy, HMC Architects, Leading Edge, and Skanska.

Significant Annual Support for USGBC-LA comes from these:  Platinum sponsors – CIM Group, USGBC; Gold sponsors – LADWP, Long Beach Container Terminal, Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas Company; Silver sponsors – CalSTART, Carpet Recovery, Howard Building Corporation, Hudson Pacific Properties, ICF/SoCalREN, Kilroy Realty Corp., Lendlease, LivCor, Rachio, Willdan; Bronze sponsors – Arup, Assa Abloy, Beneficial State Bank, BNBuilders, Brightworks, Buro Happold, Clean Power Alliance, Cumming Group, Epic Metals Inc., GAIA, Green Building Initiative, Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI), International WELL Building Institute, IQHQ REIT, LA Metro, Momentum, Perkins&Will, Verdani Partners, and Verdical Group


About U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles

Founded in 2002, USGBC-LA is a 501(c)3 non-profit and member-based organization whose mission is to transform Southern California’s built environment into a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable region for all. We lead by inspiring leaders throughout our communities to take action on climate change, public health, and environmental justice while educating, developing, and empowering a diverse talent pipeline through our training, mentorship, and direct-to-community programs. We connect by merging interdisciplinary perspectives and collaborations to create positive systemic change. We advocate through promoting innovative, impactful policy solutions addressing the most urgent environmental and social challenges of our time.(


The 13th Annual SUSTAINABLE INNOVATION AWARDS – Project Teams:

Long Beach Container Terminal PROJECT OF THE YEAR

Bonnie Nixon, Port of Long Beach Container Handling Terminal

DMV Inglewood Field Office Replacement

Paul Murdoch Architects (Architect); Stantec (Civil/Mechanical/Plumbing/Electrical Engineering); MIG (Landscape Architect); Nabih Youssef & Associates (Structural Engineer); Francis Krahe & Associates (Lighting Design); Waveguide (Acoustic, IT Security Consultant); Linespace (Graphic Design); ZC Sustainability

City National 2Cal

CIM Group; ABM Engineering (Property Engineering)

One California Plaza

Rising Realty; UL (LEED Consultant)

Home Depot Distribution Center

GAIA (Sustainability Consultant); Prologis (Owner); RGA, Office of Architecture (Architect)

LAMP Consolidated Rent-A-Car Facility

ZC Sustainability (Sustainability Consultant); LAWA (Owner); PCL (Owner and GC); PGAL (Architect); AC Martin (Design Architect); Syska Hennessy Group (MEP Engineers); RELM Studio (Landscape Architect); Englekirk Structural Engineers (Structural Engineer); Kimley-Horn (Civil Engineer)

Epstein Family Amphitheater

BNBuilders (GC); Safdie Rabines Architects (Architect); University of California, San Diego (Owner)

Villa Hermosa III

Coachella Valley Housing Coalition; Y&M Architects (Architect); Sun Country Builders (GC); S Y Lee Associates, Inc. (MEP engineer); TKD Associates (Landscape Architect); CalSolar (Solar Design & Builder); Green Dinosaur, Inc. (Sustainability Consultant / Green Rater / HERS Rater / Energy Modeler)

11010 Santa Monica Blvd.

VCA Green (Sustainability Consultant); The Weingart Center; Swinerton (GC); Zen Development; Perkins&Will (Architect); Silver Creek Modular (Prefabrication Contractor); Green MEP (MEP Engineer)

University of California, Irvine, College of Health Sciences, School of Nursing, and Integrative Health Institute

Harley Ellis Devereaux (Architect); Hathaway Dinwiddie (GC); SLAM (Interior Design)


Studio One Eleven (Architect); RDC (Interiors); Leading Edge; VCA Green; Zero Envy; Associated Soils Engineering (Geotechnical Engineer); Walden and Associates (Civil Engineer); SALT (Landscape Architect); Structural Focus (Structural Engineer); Southland Engineering (MEP); Miller and Severson (GC); Urbana Development (Construction Manager)

San Bernardino Valley College Technical Education Building

HMC Architects (Architect); Snipes Dye (Civil Engineer); EPT Design (Landscape Architect); Saiful Bouquet (Structural Engineer); P2S Inc. (MEPT Engineer)

Santa Ynez Chumash Museum

Bernards (GC); Jones & Jones (Architect / Landscape Architect); O’Brien360 (Sustainability Consultant); Santa Ynez Chumash Museum

Upper Los Angeles River & Tributaries Revitalization Plan

Studio-MLA (Landscape Architect / Urban Designer); Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority; Tetra Tech (Civil Engineer)

Bank of America Plaza

Brookfield Properties (Chief Engineer); Bank of America Plaza Team and Chemsearch FE (SVP)

Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County

All About Waste (Consultant); Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County (Owner)

Partake Kitchen

Studio One Eleven (Architect / Landscape Architect); RDC (Interiors); Leading Edge (Sustainability Consultant); LFA (Civil / Structural Engineers); Sunstone Management, Inc. (Developer); Howard CDM (GC); Schnackel Engineers, Inc. (MEP)


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