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October 2, 2014

Green building at its finest in Los Angeles

Located among the factories and warehouses of Vernon (right outside of Los Angeles) is the WM Healthcare Solutions Vernon facility, where local hospitals and treatment centers send materials that are generated while caring for patients. Equipped with two sterilization autoclaves and a slew of other equipment, the facility is capable of processing up to 100 tons of medical waste every day.

At one time the Vernon facility was an old transfer station that had been categorized as a “brownfield site,” meaning a major cleanup was necessary to restore the property. Waste Management acquired the location in 2011 and immediately jumped into a renovation project that would restore the building and raise its environmental standing.

In 2012, following the reconstruction, WMHS Vernon received LEED Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, which is a major achievement from a construction and building management perspective. In fact, you wouldn’t think when you walk through the door that this facility is one of the greenest of its kind. Check out this video to see how it’s unique.

One of the more impressive features at Vernon is its ceiling, which was restored from the previous structure and altered to include skylights throughout the working areas. In fact, over 75 percent of the facility is lit using natural sunlight, significantly lowering its use of electricity. Other green features include:

  • An advanced stormwater capture system
  • A parking lot made from actual debris from the previous site
  • Low VOC emitting materials (paints, adhesives, paints, etc.)

The building is something when you walk around, and customers appreciate it too since they can feel good knowing where and how their items are being managed. In total, the site diverted more than 75 percent of the construction materials from the landfill.