Green Cities, More Jobs: Summit for Economic Development

Rafael Galdamez, a project engineer for Access Pacific General Contractors, knows that environmental and sustainable building is a rapidly growing market. And so, he enrolled in a special program that taught him how to qualify for government contracts to renovate buildings to be more environmentally sound.

Armed with his new knowledge and skills, Galdamez recently attended the Green Cities, More Jobs: Summit for Economic Development at the East Rancho Dominguez Library, seeking to expand his company’s business.

“I am here to learn about certifications and trainings to compete on green projects so our company is more competitive,” said Galdamez.

[raw]The Green Cities, More Jobs: Summit for Economic Development was sponsored by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas, Citi Development and Emerald Cities Collaborative. More than 30 business owners, contractors and city officials gathered together inside the East Rancho Dominguez Library, the only county-owned building that received LEED Platinum certification for its environmentally sustainable construction and design.

“We must lead the way in bringing more sustainable building practices to Los Angeles,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas. “Energy efficient building creates employment opportunities and preserves our environment.”

Among the attendees was California State Senator Kevin De Leόn, who co-authored energy efficiency legislation, Senate Bill 39, the Clean Energy Employment and Student Advancement Act of 2013.

The summit focused on how to take advantage of financing and training programs that are available to cities, school districts and publicly-owned buildings. The event also marked the completion of a free, seven-week program called the E-Contractor Academy Program, which provides contractors with support, information and training to bid on projects.[/raw]

The academy is a collaborative effort between, the County of Los Angeles, Citi Community Development and Emerald Cities Collaborative to help contractors understand how to bid on green projects in LA County.

“E-Contractor Academy introduces small, minority contractors to the process of working on energy efficiency projects,” said Veronica Soto, Emerald Cities LA program manager. “The program is about building a completive capacity for contractors to compete and execute energy efficiency projects.”

Green building brings many advantages, including lower energy and water costs, reduced waste, less exposure to toxic materials and improvements in natural surroundings with drought tolerant and native landscaping. Los Angeles County spends approximately $150 million year to heat, cool and light its buildings.

The Green Cities, More Jobs Economic Summit is part of the larger Southern California Regional Energy Network (SoCalREN) pilot program authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission to provide greater local government control of energy efficiency initiatives. The SoCalRen includes more than 50 municipalities committed to lowering their buildings’ energy consumption.

“We are helping residents and contractors from low and moderate income communities compete for LA County projects and for over $2 billion a year of state and utility energy efficiency investments,” said Denise Fairchild, President/CEO of Emerald Cities, a national nonprofit sustainable development firm.

To learn more about the free E- Contractor program, please visit:

East Rancho Library Earns LEED Status

Not only is the new East Rancho Dominguez Library a bright light beckoning readers to browse through its bookshelves, it is now also the first building built by a Los Angeles County agency to receive one of the highest honors in environmental design.

The 7,200-square-foot library on East Rose Street and South Atlantic Ave. in unincorporated East Rancho Dominguez was recently granted a coveted LEED Platinum status from the U.S Green Building Council. The designation, decided on by a national committee of architects, designers and environmental experts, was given for the library’s design and eco-friendly construction including the use of solar panels, installation of water efficient facilities, drought resistant landscaping and its pedestrian friendly setting. By achieving the highest LEED status, the library which was completed in late October, stands as a national model of innovation, environmental stewardship and social responsibility that others can point to for inspiration. With so many concerns about climate change, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas has taken the lead in ensuring new buildings in his 2nd district neighborhoods also reduce their carbon footprint. The library is only one example among dozens of new projects to “green” the 2nd District.  The new library, which is home to 35,000 books, public computers with Wi-Fi Internet connection, a community room, homework study room and displays of public art, is the anchor in part of a community revitalization effort that will create a town center feel around the adjacent East Rancho Dominguez Park. With its bright blue, orange and fuchsia panels and welcoming drought-tolerant landscaping, the library is expected to become a hub for the community.

Next for Rancho Dominguez is the construction of a new $4.4 million senior and community center that will be built across the street from the new library at East Rancho Dominguez Park. That new center, will provide referrals for health care, mental health, employment services and other social and recreational services to approximately 1,200 residents, but it will also include a dining area, computer room, game room, fitness equipment and office space. Construction is set to begin in 2014.

“When residents walk by the new library and see the solar panels and preferred parking for electric vehicles, they are experiencing first-hand what it’s like to live in a more sustainable world,” said Supervisor and Board Chairman Ridley-Thomas. “Once they learn about the design features used for the library it will hopefully be a natural transition to begin using compact florescent light bulbs and drought tolerant landscaping at their own homes. Everyone can reduce their carbon footprint and this library shows people how they too can live a greener life.”

Grand Opening of the New East Rancho Dominguez Library

The Grand opening of the new East Rancho Dominguez library, located on the corner of East Rose Street and South Atlantic Avenue, took place Monday, October 29.

With a collection of 35,000 books and other materials, the 7,200 square-foot facility is a full-fledged community resource, boasting a community room, reading areas, a homework center, public access computers, a meeting room, group study space, and public access Wi-Fi internet connection. The new library also is home to a unique piece of civic art designed by Elizabeth Griffin and consisting of six, 13-foot high laminated glass panels with colorful depictions of maps, library books and photographs.

Lastly, the library is also an environmental standout, built using solar energy panels that will offset the facility’s annual energy

Click hear to view the Media Advisory for the opening of East Rancho Dominguez Library
Click here to download the flyer as a PDF document.

Update on East Rancho Dominguez Library

Progress is being made on the new East Rancho Dominguez Library on Atlantic Ave in unincorporated East Rancho Dominguez. While the recent rains, have somewhat delayed progress, we are pleased to report that 70% of the current construction workers have been hired from the local community.  Click here to view complete hiring statistics.

East Rancho Dominguez Craft Utilization Report 12-2011 (PDF)

Click here to view the complete posting on East Rancho Dominguez Library

Board approves $4 million for East Rancho Dominguez Library

A new library in the unincorporated area of East Rancho Dominguez is one step closer to opening its doors and serving the public. Today the Board of Supervisors allocated $4 million to construct a new facility on the corner of  East Rose Street and South Atlantic Avenue, which will replace the existing undersized library located half a mile away on Compton Avenue.
[pullquote_right] “The County’s investment into this library is meant to meet the needs of the community while serving as a public oasis for people of all ages,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. [/pullquote_right]The action taken by the Board authorizes the contractor to begin construction on the 7,200 square-foot facility, which when completed, will house a collection of 35,000 books and other materials. The library will be built using solar energy panels, which will help offset the library’s annual energy cost and qualifies the County to receive an estimated one-time $32,000 rebate from Southern California Edison through the California Solar Initiative Program.  Once completed, the building will meet Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Certification.

Aside from providing students and adults with a wealth of books, the $7.5 million facility will create approximately 200 jobs and provide nearby residents and commuters with a community room, reading areas, a homework center, public access computers, a meeting room, group study space, and public access Wi-Fi internet connection.

“The County’s investment into this library is meant to meet the needs of the community while serving as a public oasis for people of all ages,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.  “I look forward to walking into the brand new East Rancho Dominguez Library once it’s completed.”

Press Release (PDF Document)