The Harvard-Westlake River Park will meet the highest standards for environmental protection and sustainability.
The River Park will include a state-of-the-art stormwater capture system that collects, cleans, and re-uses stormwater run-off.
Once installed, the system will remove solids that currently flow into the LA River and threaten downstream habitats and our ocean. On-site storage tanks will hold hundreds of thousands of gallons of treated run-off water, which will be used to irrigate landscaping, significantly reducing the amount of potable water used on site.
The River Park will be a model example of LA River landscaping, inspired by recognized guidelines and backed by environmental science. It will serve as an inspiration for all who will walk among its beautiful foliage and native plantings.
It will contain 100% native trees and plantings, virtually eliminating the need to draw potable water for landscaping. The River Park would also provide nearly 6 acres of open space and trails for the public to enjoy at all hours.
The school is committed to replacing every single tree that is removed, even the existing trees that violate the City’s guidelines because they are considered invasive species. Not only will the project result in an increase in the number of trees on site, but a significant number of the newly planted trees will also be mature specimens that are far larger than what is required by City code.
The annual rate of carbon sequestration achieved by River Park’s extensive landscaping is projected to surpass existing conditions at the project site in year 2. And within 10 years of opening, the River Park’s new trees and landscaping will capture, remove, and store far more carbon dioxide than what the existing non-native trees and fan palms can.
The canopy cover provided by the new trees at River Park will exceed that created by existing trees and fan palms on the site by year 6-7 of the project’s life. And when the trees are fully mature, which is projected to be year 25 of the project’s life, the canopy cover will extend across more than half of the property, which is 2.5 times more coverage than existing conditions.
The River Park will be partially powered by solar panels on the roof of the gymnasium that will provide 281,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, which is equivalent to the electricity used by 26 Los Angeles households every year, on average. This renewable energy will significantly reduce the amount of electricity pulled from the power grid and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions associated with the River Park.
The golf course and tennis courts currently on site provide marginal wildlife habitat and foraging opportunities. But the Harvard-Westlake River Park will increase the biodiversity of the site, benefiting the migratory birds and other wildlife who frequent the site.