More eco friendly future in building

Conservation and recycling efforts have never gained more attention than in today's society. With the apparent rise of condos and a surge in shopping centers across the Los Angeles area (indeed across much of Southern California), there comes a much larger drain on the state's power supply, and even far more potential damages caused to the frail and scarce natural ecosystems existing in and around our growing metropolis.
However, amid the mass construction occurring around town, there is at least one place, one building that stands out among the countless others in Santa Monica.
Built by and for the Natural Resources Defense Council, a group founded in 1970, and dedicated to preserving and protecting nature through the legal system, a fairly new office structure named after and opened by actor/nature advocate Robert Redford has been erected.
The building is unlike any other in its design and function as it is one of the first and few truly eco-friendly buildings.
The Robert Redford Building is located on 2nd Street in Santa Monica, born out of an older structure that was demolished, but salvaged for building materials.
With 20 percent of its power drawn from solar panels planted on the roof and an interior design that harnesses sunlight for illumination, it stands out due to its use of natural light and fresh air flowing throughout its halls.
A lecture took place last Thursday concerning the building and leading the event was Professor William Selby of the Earth Sciences Department at Santa Monica College, who has been conducting lectures regarding Earth's preservation for two years. The event included NRDC's Evelyn Slavin showing a presentation of the building's history and purpose.
"The Robert Redford building is an example of how simple is better," said Selby. The lecture centered on countless efficient and eco-friendly tools that exist for people to use in reducing pollution to the atmosphere (and taking less from their wallets).
Water conversion methods such as reverse-osmosis and harvesting fallen rainwater for later use was one example of helping to preserve the less than 1 percent of drinking water remaining in the world.
Other parts of the lecture revealed all the common pollutants found in the air that are caused by building materials used today, such as a number of toxins found in homes that aid in causing headaches, or the innovative method of using a building mixture of sawdust and cement to repel or reduce termite infections on wooden floors.
Many students from the presentation seemed impressed by all that they learned. "The NRDC is a very interesting group - the Robert Redford Building is right around the corner from AMC theaters. Anyone can walk over to see it," said Melanie Hutchison, an environmental engineering major and a student who has visited the building.
Sophomore Keith Mazzapica shared similar feelings. He said, "I think the presentation went really well. I think she [Evelyn Slavin] covered a lot of ground promoting the NRDC."
Mazzapica also encouraged other students to come to see the new office center. " I think anybody who lives in the Santa Monica area should go down and see the building," he said.
When asked what the lectures stood for and symbolized, Professor Selby said, "Empowerment: If you want to change your life, you must become educated in how to do that - which is the goal of our group."
The Robert Redford Building is open for tours every Tuesday and Thursday. All are welcome to view its advanced technologies in eco-friendly engineering and the strong essence of nature found within its rooms.