With the passage of Measure R in 2008 and Measure M in 2016, Metro has had access to the resources and funding needed to accelerate the expansion of our world-class transportation system. This includes construction and maintenance of rail lines, rapid bus lines, bike paths and more. A lifecycle approach to these initiatives will advance regional mobility while integrating sustainability into planning, design, construction, operations and maintenance.
In 2011, we established a Green Construction Policy (GCP) to reduce emissions during construction, as well as the Sustainability Plan (SP) Program to assist contractors with meeting the California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen) obligations. We have built on these successes by creating an interdepartmental Sustainability Engagement Team that is responsible for embedding sustainability in every phase of our projects. The adoption of our Sustainable Acquisition program in 2019 strengthened our efforts to sustainably source products and services. We continue to proactively identify opportunities to advance sustainability within our existing processes.
Sustainable Acquisition Program – Pilot Success
In 2019, Metro’s Board of Directors adopted the Sustainable Acquisition Program: Metro’s first top-down and enterprise-wide program for sustainable procurement. This program enhances the agency’s acquisition practices, ensuring careful consideration of the environmental, social and economic impacts of the products and services we purchase. This more structured approach to acquisition operationalizes the commitments in our Environmental Policy, advances our sustainability initiatives and continues Metro’s leadership regionally and among transportation agencies nationally.
In 2020, Metro convened several cross-departmental working groups to identify forthcoming product and service contracts to function as pilots for the Sustainable Acquisition Program. These working groups evaluated the sustainability risks and opportunities related to each of their product or service acquisitions to identify viable sustainability requirements to include in the contract scopes of work, technical specifications and evaluation criteria. One working group, which was focused on the landscaping and irrigation maintenance services contract for all Metro properties, achieved an early win for the program. As a result, the final solicitation included requirements that the contractor use clean, all electric landscaping equipment, report on waste and organics recycling, inspect for and report on nesting birds, and conserve water, amongst other requirements.
This is only one example that illustrates what is possible when sustainability is considered up front; Metro is better able to achieve our mission and deliver projects that increase benefits and reduce burdens in the communities we serve. Amidst the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sustainable Acquisition Program also supports Metro’s goal to implement innovative solutions that are cost effective and to be a steward of taxpayer dollars. Building on this success, Metro is currently developing internal training to ensure the successful agency-wide roll out of the Sustainable Acquisition Program. Stay tuned as we continue to find innovative ways to use our purchasing power to stimulate a greener, cleaner and more ethical economy.
Championing Collaboration on Capital Projects
California’s state and local governments continue to adopt more progressive regulations, codes and standards to enhance the quality of the built environment. Metro honors these progressive standards and we highlight our commitment to more resilient, energy efficient and sustainable transit through our plans, programs and environmental policies.
One such program is the establishment of the Sustainability Engagement Team, a cross-functional group that identifies and fosters the adoption of sustainability requirements into capital project scope, specifications, design and budget. The team uses an integrated approach to incorporate sustainability into all project phases.
Despite 2020’s unparalleled challenges, this holistic approach helped advance our goals across all projects. For example, Metro’s East San Fernando Valley (ESFV) Transit Corridor project successfully used the engagement team during the preliminary engineering project design phase to:
- Use a climate resilience assessment to mitigate extreme heat for critical assets
- Carry out a renewable energy assessment to determine the value of solar array installations at facilities
- Support project managers by developing a comprehensive package of requirements to achieve CALGreen Tier 2 – the highest achievable standard under California Green Building Standards Code, Title 24, Part 11
- Provide training on CALGreen Tier 2 for all departments involved in capital projects
- Consult subject matter experts to review designs for opportunities to participate in the Measure W Safe Water Program.
The team’s work on ESFV advanced sustainability opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle miles traveled, while enhancing rider experience. Collaboration in these early phases not only helps us ensure project compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements, but also helps us achieve our sustainability and resilience goals.
Metro helps projects during design and construction. We collaborate with contractors, providing subject matter experts on commissioning throughout all phases of the project lifecycle. In 2019, Metro worked with commissioning agents to optimize the performance of our new maintenance facility, Location 64, which provides critical support for rail service across LA County. In addition to the improved facility operation and maintenance, these activities significantly lowered energy costs for the facility.
Metro’s Engagement Team is equipped to support these commissioning activities, advancing projects’ environmental, economic and social value. Metro plans to continue to use the engagement team and its holistic project delivery model to support collaboration among project stakeholders, laying a foundation of long-term resilience for the communities we serve.
Integrated Station Design Solutions
Metro’s system is experiencing a period of unprecedented growth, with more new rail stations under construction and even more in planning and design phases than ever before. With system growth comes the opportunity to realize a consistent, integrated and sustainable design approach for all new Metro stations.
Integrated Station Design Solutions (ISDS), completed in 2020, updates and refines solutions and guidance to be applied to future rail and bus rapid transit stations. ISDS are situated within the Systemwide Station Design Standards, where guidance will increase environmental sustainability, while improving the rider experience, streamlining the design, construction, operations and maintenance of each station.
This modular “kit-of-parts” approach is adaptable to the flexible arrangement of station components needed to accommodate unique site conditions. The standards incorporate sustainable design requirements to ensure high performance and durability of station infrastructure, including landscaping, furnishings, lighting, energy systems, acoustics and noise mitigation. These particular components play an important role in ensuring that the stations are not only more appealing to riders, but also cost-effective to operate. For example, sustainable landscaping contributes to station identification and wayfinding, while also creating shade at key transfer areas to reduce the heat island effect.
The Systemwide Station Design Standards reflect Metro’s vision for a safer, smarter, cleaner and greener future, operationalizing guidance from Metro’s 2020 Long Range Transportation Plan to prioritize infrastructure investments that provide more sustainable and equitable outcomes for communities across the region. As we move full speed ahead toward a more resilient LA County, Metro’s new stations will have a consistent design palette connecting communities through public art, public spaces and sustainable infrastructure.
Building Award Winning Infrastructure through Sustainable Design
Metro is committed to being an industry leader in sustainable design, construction and operations practices. As our system expands, we constantly incorporate innovative sustainability measures throughout all phases of our capital improvement projects to enhance and expand the environmental, social and economic benefits of our system infrastructure. And we have been recognized for our efforts. In 2019 and 2020, two of Metro’s newest facilities not only achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification, but they also earned external awards for their innovative and sustainable design.
The Division 16 Rail Operations and Maintenance facility, serving the upcoming Metro K (Crenshaw/LAX) Line, Metro C (Green) Line and Airport Metro Connector (AMC) was certified LEED Silver. During 2019 and 2020, the division received additional awards, including an Associated General Contractors of California 2019 Constructor Award, a Municipal Green Building Conference & Expo: Award of Recognition and a Construction Management Association of America 2020 Project of the Year award. Each award highlights some of the advanced sustainable design features incorporated into the facility, including systems that capture and reuse water for vehicle washing, high efficiency plumbing and electrical equipment, daylight harvesting, use of low-emitting paints and sealants, and electric vehicle charging.
Location 64 Operations and Maintenance facility, serving the Metro B Line (Red) and D Line (Purple), was certified LEED Gold in 2019. Then in 2020, Location 64 earned a Municipal Green Building Conference & Expo: Award of Recognition for its sustainable design features, including its capacity for renewable energy generation, which will help us achieve our goal to increase on-site renewable energy capacity across Metro through 2030.
We are proud that our efforts are being recognized as facilities like Division 16 and Location 64 advance sustainability goals through their design and construction and continue to generate positive environmental, social and fiscal impacts as they operate. By incorporating sustainable features into projects now and in the future, we are making our system more resilient, assuring Angelenos that they will have continued access to a world-class transportation system for decades to come.
Understanding This Target
Metro has a long-standing commitment to integrate sustainability strategies throughout all phases of the capital project lifecycle. As an internationally recognized green building rating and certification program, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Rating System Metro’s Board-approved standard for designing and constructing new sustainable facilities, when applicable. Metro has committed to constructing all new facilities over 10,000 square feet to LEED Silver standard or higher. This target measures Metro’s commitment to green building by tracking the number of facilities that have achieved LEED certification. For infrastructure projects where LEED is not applicable, we are incorporating applicable strategies from the Envision rating system. As a new target, performance on this metric will be measured against a 2020 baseline.
As of 2020, 12 buildings have achieved LEED Silver certification or higher, including Metro’s headquarters and several transportation and maintenance buildings. In 2019, Metro achieved LEED Silver certification for our newly constructed Division 16 Rail Operations and Maintenance facility serving the upcoming Metro K Line (Crenshaw/LAX), Metro C Line (Green) and Airport Metro Connector (AMC). Metro’s Location 64 Operations and Maintenance facility, serving the Metro B Line (Red) and D Line (Purple), also earned LEED Gold certification in 2019. These two projects exemplify what is possible through collaborative work with our contractors and early incorporation of sustainability elements into the design and construction of our world-class projects. Looking ahead, we currently have four new facilities undergoing the LEED certification process. Collectively, these efforts lay the foundation for a more sustainable, connected LA County.
Understanding This Target
This target measures Metro’s efforts to design and build 100% of our capital projects to the California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen) requirements and to achieve enhanced green building performance measures contained in CALGreen Tier 2. This second tier contains voluntary measures in addition to the regulation’s minimum requirements. Target performance is measured by the percentage of new projects completed within the performance period (2019 and 2020) that are designed and built to Tier 2 standards.
To achieve this target, Metro is requiring contractors to comply with the mandatory and voluntary measures outlined in CALGreen Tier 2 when designing and building capital projects, ensuring that we design and construct projects that both demonstrate excellence in sustainable design and advance regional mobility and resilience. Our Sustainability Engagement Team is supporting the achievement of this target, intervening early in the planning and design phases to integrate the relevant sustainable design elements. In addition, staff supports contractor compliance throughout each phase of a project, utilizing robust internal communication and partnerships during the earliest phases of the capital project lifecycle to meet Tier 2 requirements.
As of 2020, 14 projects are being designed and built to CALGreen Tier 2 building standards, and are currently being routed through the Sustainability Engagement Team process. In 2020, we rolled out the first block of CALGreen internal training modules for staff involved in the earliest phases of project lifecycles. These modules provide agencywide education on the purpose of CALGreen, Metro’s commitments and our strategies to support and monitor contractor compliance. These trainings were delivered to staff in the Program Management including Environmental Compliance and Sustainability Department and Engineering, as well as the Countywide Planning and Operations groups. Looking ahead, we will strive to increase the frequency of and access to these trainings to better support project staff in achievement of this target.
Understanding This Target
Sustainable acquisition is a holistic procurement strategy that considers the environmental, ethical and social impacts of an organization’s supply chain in addition to the traditional selection criteria of price, quality and functionality. Metro’s annual budget generally exceeds $6 billion, and our operations rely on the procurement of millions of dollars’ worth of goods and services. Therefore, the agency has significant opportunities to reduce the environmental and social impacts within our acquisition and supply chain activities. The Sustainable Acquisition program will advance fiscal responsibility, protect Metro from supply chain risks, reduce toxic materials, improve air quality and support economic development. This target measures Metro’s progress implementing the program, beginning with the development of staff training and implementation support materials. Quantitative performance targets measuring the results of the program (i.e., annual spend on sustainable goods/services) will be developed by 2022.
Through 2018 and 2019, Metro developed a conceptual framework for the Sustainable Acquisition Program by assessing our current acquisition processes and identifying high impact opportunities to further integrate sustainability considerations into procurement decisions. In June 2019, Metro’s Board of Directors adopted the Sustainable Acquisition Program Framework and provided staff with the resources and support needed to move forward into the program development phase. This phase included cross-departmental development of modified procedures and a toolkit to enhance the acquisition process, peer agency research to identify best practices and pilots to test efficacy of sustainable acquisition in practice. Currently, Metro is developing internal training for staff to successfully roll out the program agencywide. Upon rollout in fiscal year 2022, Metro will develop Sustainable Acquisition Program targets.