Sustainability in Long Beach

From its iconic coastline to idyllic weather, famous music scene to unparalleled athletic successes, there’s a lot about Long Beach to make other cities green with envy. One of those things is just how Green Long Beach is. You see it all over, from historic homes to innovative aquariums, bus stops to tarmacs, much of it due to the leadership of some of the biggest organizations in town that continually strive to create, through education, services and resources, a circle of sustainable life. It’s why Long Beach has long been seen as a leader in that regard, why it was recently recognized with the Green California Summit Leadership Award. It may not always be easy being Green, but these organizations’ actions have proven they’re committed to it.


Whether it’s climate change, sustainable seafood, online STEM classes, films or cultural events, the Aquarium of the Pacific tackles the globe's most pressing issues through speaker series, online programs, policy forums, the arts, and science events, just to name just a few. And it practices what it teaches. The Aquarium has produced more than 80% of its own energy on-site thanks to a fuel system installed in 2019. It also saves more than 960,000 gallons of water annually, due to such innovations as touch-free faucets, waterless urinals and dual-flush toilets. Its Watershed Classroom, which hosts ongoing exhibits regarding water issues, features an energy saving “green roof,” and reduces stormwater runoff. This kind of commitment is nothing new. In fact, it was in 2012 that the Aquarium became the first zoo or aquarium to receive the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award.



These unique, historical jewels embrace their past but also use it to offer a guide to the future. Rancho Los Alamitos has four acres of nationally significant historic gardens that not only engage visitors but offer such classes as nature journaling which allows visitors to engage and appreciate nature while considering their responsibility in protecting it. Through its Looking Back to Advance Forward project, Rancho Los Cerritos is using the latest technology to capture, store and reuse rainfall on its historic property. The Rancho, which aims to increase its stormwater capture from 40% to 95% annually, is creating an innovative model for rainfall reclamation that can serve as a local and national model.



The Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center does a number of things inside, outside and over, to be more efficient while lessening its overall footprint. It saves significant energy by employing “cool roofs” over the exhibit halls, Terrace and Beverly O’Neill theaters; those roofs act as insulation when outside temperatures are cool, while blocking heat on sunny days. Most lighting fixtures have been retrofitted with LED bulbs. Landscaping waste is composted and utilized as mulch while landscaping “wood chips” are actually made from recycled tires. In fact, the convention center recycles everything from machinery oil, to batteries to more than 1,200 wooden pallets. There’s even an on-site herb garden that’s managed and utilized by the center’s kitchen staff.



Anyone coming to Long Beach via this historic art deco gem – the BBC named it one of the 10 most beautiful airports in the world, the only U.S. airport on the list – knows it’s something special. What might not be so apparent is how sustainable all that charm has been made through drought-resistant turf, shrubs and trees, low-flow water fixtures and a solar project on top of the airport’s parking structures designed to generate renewable energy to supply 70% of the electricity used in the terminal. The commitment extends to the tarmac, where the Long Beach Airport has been converting all taxiway lights to LEDs that use less energy, are brighter than regular bulbs and have a longer lifespan. To show that sustainability extends beyond Green, airport concessions not only use recyclable materials in their packaging but donate about 100 meals a month to organizations fighting food insecurity.