Solar Powers Staples Center Events, Green Cuisine Factory

LOS ANGELES, California, October 28, 2008 (ENS) - The famous sports and entertainment venues at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles are about to go solar in a push to advance sustainable energy practices

Highlighting companies and facilities that are going green, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today installed the last of 1,727 solar panels on the rooftop of the Staples Center.

"Our landmark global warming law calls for 30 percent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, and projects like these will help us get there while also helping us meet our long-term renewable energy goals," said the governor.

The 345 kilowatt photovoltaic solar system by Solar Power, Inc. of Roseville, California spans the length of two football fields on the roof of the arena and is the latest green action taken by the Staples management team.

When completed, at least 24,190 square feet of the center's roof will be covered with a giant array of solar photovoltaic modules generating electricity with zero emissions.

Staples Center serves as home to the L.A. Lakers and L.A. Clippers basketball teams, the L.A. Sparks women's basketball team, the L.A. Kings ice hockey team, and the L.A. Avengers football team well as hosting special events and concerts.

The 7,000 seat Nokia Theatre directly across the street will also be fitted with solar panels by Solar Power, Inc.

"Our investment to purchase these state-of-the-art solar energy systems for both Staples Center and Nokia Theater L.A. Live, making them the first facilities of their kind to do so at this level, reaffirms our commitment to insuring that our venues are the most environmentally friendly in the industry," said Lee Zeidman, senior vice president and general manager of the two venues.

Governor Schwarzenegger had another solar stop on his Los Angeles schedule today - he toured the Contessa Manufacturing Plant - the world's first and largest environmentally responsible, LEED-certified frozen-food manufacturing plant.

The facility, its processes, and the product manufactured there will be known as "Green Cuisine."

This is the first time the U.S. Green Building Council has awarded LEED certification to a frozen-food manufacturing facility, setting a new industry standard. The LEED rating system is the national standard for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. It recognizes five areas of environmental and human health - sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality and selection of materials.

"Until now, the USGBC has never LEED-certified a frozen-food manufacturing facility," said John Z. Blazevich, president and chief executive of Contessa. "As a leader in our industry, we didn't wait for environmental standards to be established. Instead, we collaborated with LEED and decided to raise the bar for the entire industry and to do the right thing for the long-term sustainability of our environment."

Company officials say they will use advanced design and technology to reduce Contessa's environmental impact. A water preheating system saves energy by redirecting the heat used in refrigeration coils to the plant's boilers.

Variable frequency drives adjust the amount of power supplied to motors at specific times or under specific conditions to minimize energy use.

And an innovative loading dock prevents the loss of refrigerated air, reducing temperature fluctuation and energy use.

The new $35 million plant is expected to produce up to 150 million pounds of food products in the first year and at the same time is set to reduce its energy use and emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by 65 percent, according a company statement.

"I am thrilled to be celebrating the commitment of these companies to reducing their carbon footprints,” the governor said. "They are examples that going green is not only good for the environment but also for business.

Schwarzenegger has set a goal of increasing California's renewable energy sources to 20 percent by 2010, and he supports reaching 33 percent by 2020.

California's Million Solar Roofs Plan enacted in August 2006 is now renamed as the California Solar Initiative. It offers more than $3 billion in incentives for homeowners and building owners who install solar electric systems.

The plan is intended to encourage the installation of one million solar roofs in California by the year 2017. If accomplished, that goal will provide 3,000 megawatts of additional clean energy and reduce the output of greenhouse gases by more than two million tons.

{Photo: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger stands atop the Staples Center in a sea of new solar photovoltaic panels. (Photo courtesy Office of the Governor)}

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.

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