On Saturday, I took a little architectural field trip to the BP Helios House, on the corner of Olympic and Robertson in Los Angeles. Helios House is a LEED Certified gas station - BP took the station that was originally there and renovated it to be more environmentally responsive. According to their web site, "It’s a kind of a conversation between BP and people who come into the station, a conversation about how we can both move up a notch on the greencurve....This idea grew out of BP's commitment to balancing society's need for energy with a responsible approach to the environment. It reflects our belief that small steps in the right direction can make a difference."
Some of the features on the Helios House which make it a little more eco-friendly are a green roof landscaped with local plants and grasses; a rainwater-retention system with a catch basin for onsite irrigation; use of recycled glass, tiles, aluminum, and completely recyclable stainless steel; motion sensors and photocells on lights; motion-activated faucets; and 90 solar panels on the canopy, enough to power 2-3 average American homes for a year.
The kicker, of course, is that it's a gas station. It's not a biodiesel station, or a fuel-cell powering station, or an electric car charging station, or even a cold-fusion creation station, it's a gas station. Which means that BP has essentially (if you'll permit me the embellishment) "put lipstick on a pig". This is not to say that the lipstick isn't pretty or that it doesn't get the job done, but it's still a pig. We haven't taught the pig how to use less gas or not use gas at all.....but to BP's credit, they have at least brought attention to the pig, er, challenge of the environmental issues that we face. And if this station makes a few people think about using less fossil fuels eventually, then it's done its job. Right?
Enough talk about pigs! Let's look at the pretty pictures....
I don't know about you but I don't think $3.39 a gallon is "good"
Someone had entirely too much fun with a 3D rendering program on this project
This sign should have a postscript that reads "So why are you here, again?"
I will plant this postcard, just as soon as I'm done learning about fluorescent compact bulbs