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Sustainability

There are many opportunities to improve Anaheim’s urban environment through sustainable development. Sustainable site planning and construction techniques can reduce pollution and help protect environmental resources for future generations. Promoting interconnected green space such as pocket parks, linear greenbelts and streetside rain gardens can provide opportunities for urban heat island reduction, stormwater retention, and improved water quality. In addition, increasing efforts to reduce water and energy use can lead to a more sustainable and economically stable community.

The City of Anaheim puts forth a strong effort to implement innovative, sustainable and green projects for residents and businesses. In 2012, the City received the Orange County Eco-City Award given by the U.S. Green Building Council. The award recognized the City’s many accomplishments including city incentives, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certified buildings, City Council Sustainable goals, website information supporting green building and sustainability, and more.

The following topics describe opportunities for sustainable development and the protection of natural resources in the City of Anaheim.

5.1 Enhance the urban forest by expanding tree planting programs

Enhancing the City’s TreePower planting program can have a number of beneficial results for the greater Anaheim community. Healthy mature trees break up heat islands, decrease flooding from stormwater runoff, absorb carbon dioxide and reduce energy consumption by shading buildings. Large areas of asphalt and concrete trap the heat of the sun and reflect it back into the environment, contributing to smog, global warming and higher energy costs. Trees provide shading that mitigates these harmful effects.


Enjoying the shade at Pioneer Park

The TreePower planting program is a free shade tree program offered by Anaheim Public Utilities in partnership with Anaheim’s Community Services Department. TreePower has been in operation for 20 years and has provided over 46,000 free shade trees to Anaheim homeowners, multi-family complexes, schools, businesses, and non-profits. Well-placed, mature shade trees can reduce air conditioning use by 10% to 40%, saving money and electricity. Trees make the air feel cooler by releasing water vapor from their leaves. Mature trees have a significant potential to save energy, conserve water and clean the air. They can reduce water use of a lawn by 30% to 50%. Further, trees help keep the air healthy by releasing life-sustaining oxygen. These naturally attractive additions to the landscape also enhance the community’s beauty.


TreePower planting program incentives

There is opportunity within the City to create volunteer programs to remove invasive species, plant native trees and care for trees in the City’s parks and public places. Offering programs that help residents care for and maintain their own trees will result in healthier trees and increase the overall tree canopy in the City.

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5.2 Landscape excess rights-of-way


ROW landscaping - SCE corridor, Lakewood

Landscaping in medians, sidewalks and other excess rights-of-way enhances the livability of the Anaheim urban environment. The addition of trees, shrubs, groundcovers and landscape amenities can transform excess right-of-ways where people walk, shop and meet in many ways. In addition to the aesthetic benefits, landscaping also provides environmental benefits such as increased shading, decreased flooding from stormwater runoff, and increased habitat for urban animals and insects. More extensive greening often contributes to greater usage by pedestrians and bicycle riders as well as a more positive association with the route and surrounding community, both of which are goals of the Anaheim Outdoors Connectivity Plan (Plan).


ROW landscaping - median, Mission Viejo


ROW landscaping - median, Los Alamitos

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5.3 Create plant and animal habitat in underutilized land areas where appropriate

There are many opportunities within Anaheim’s urban environment to create habitat and areas for animals and insects to forage. Underutilized land areas such as street closures in quiet streets, empty lots, park perimeters, and canyon slopes can provide appropriate space for naturalized landscaping. Trees should be used to allow small birds to rest, to screen and protect moving wildlife and to provide shelter from hot summer temperatures. Shrubs that are dense and offer a range of resources such as seed, nectar, and nesting material should be considered. Maintenance practices should be non-intrusive and take consideration of nesting seasons and other factors specific to the existing flora and fauna.


Rabbit grazing at Anaheim Coves, Anaheim

Where habitat areas are created adjacent to trails, residences and businesses, particularly near the hills of east Anaheim, it is important that caution be taken to avoid conflict with predatory animals.

The Plan proposes several Opportunity Sites with a native plant component including: Nohl Ranch Road Open Space, Olive Hills Park Improvements, Five Coves North, and Crescent Basin Open Space and Trail Improvements. These projects are described in detail in Chapter 8 of this report.

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5.4 Enhance storm water management

Consider Low Impact Development (LID) practices
Low Impact Development (LID) is an approach to site planning that focuses on stormwater management for water quantity and quality protection. It is an alternative to more traditional development and management practices that involve rapid removal of stormwater runoff via storm drains and pipes. The intent of LID is to mimic a site’s pre-development hydrology, especially runoff rates and volumes, by using planning and design methods that minimize development impacts, protect important hydrologic features, and integrate BMPs (Best Management Practices) to keep stormwater on the development site as much as possible.


Bioswale with infiltration zone

LID results in reduced peak runoff flows that are typical of traditionally developed sites, and the BMPs tend to improve water quality through removal or treatment of pollutants and suspended solids. In addition to limiting disturbance of existing vegetation and soil, common design BMPs include use of permeable paving, rain gardens and other bioretention facilities, vegetated swales and buffers, treatment wetlands, green roofs, dry wells, and rooftop runoff collection using rain barrels or cisterns.

LID also includes training and outreach for proper maintenance and pollution prevention practices. More information on LID is available through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website at http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/green/index.cfm.

The Opportunity Sites proposed by the Plan can integrate various LID practices to help the City address stormwater volume and water quality standards. More than half of Anaheim’s domestic water is provided by groundwater aquifers. Water captured and infiltrated at these sites can be used to recharge vital groundwater stores. LID practices can also help to reduce flooding and clean polluted water before releasing it into stormwater channels. Some sites lend themselves to becoming neighborhood- or district-level stormwater facilities where larger areas can be used to collect runoff for flood detention, biofiltration and infiltration. Possible design BMPs for the Opportunity Sites include the following:

  • Permeable pavements in parking lots (under parking stalls).
  • Rain gardens and bioswales integrated into landscapes.
  • Bioswale “strips” along bike trails with drought tolerant planting.
  • Inverted bioswales or raised planters in parkways to capture, treat, and infiltrate run-on flows from adjoining buildings or lots.
  • Small treatment wetland “basins” located at sumps or confluences of tributary City storm drains. ??Drywells located to capture and deliver rainwater to recharge groundwater/aquifer.
  • Impoundments in channels to capture dry season flows for diversion to treatment wetlands.
  • Permeable pavements encouraging infiltration where soils are conducive. ??Curb bump-outs at intersections and mid-block crossings, or red curb zones (no parking losses) to capture, treat and infiltrate gutter flows. Note: induces traffic calming for improved pedestrian experience.
  • Consider "alternative" standards for streets, alleys, and trails that enable non-traditional, but practical and effective stormwater management.??
  • Investigate combined flood control detention and Stormwater quality functions in District or Community level basins (e.g. Stadium area).??
  • Retrofit or enhance soft bottom channels for maximum infiltration. ??
  • Incorporate Stormwater planters that detain and filter water before releasing it back into the storm drain.

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5.5 Identify improvements for key vacant/underutilized parcels

Several vacant/underutilized public parcels throughout Anaheim have been selected as prime locations for improvements. These areas were chosen due to their ability to fulfill several goals of the Plan. They are depicted on the map below.


Key publicly owned vacant/underutilized parcels identified by the Plan for improvement (green circle does not represent actual size)

Several of these sites are identified as Opportunity Sites and are described in further detail in Chapter 8 of this document. In total, these parcels add up to over 130 acres of potential greenspace.

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5.6 Consider water saving opportunities

Consider storing water at well sites When restarting a drinking water well, the City pumps the well water to waste (e.g., into a storm drain) for a certain period of time to assure that potential pollutants are removed before the well begins pumping into the City’s drinking water system. This procedure, which is to meet the California Public Health drinking water regulations, results in the loss of approximately 30 million gallons of water each year. The City of Anaheim could incorporate storage ponds or underground tanks at some of the well sites (such as Ponderosa and Chaparral Parks well sites) to save some of this water for irrigation purposes.


Oak Canyon Nature Center, Anaheim

Moreover, the City is also actively pursuing the development and use of recycled/non-potable water in its service area to offset the use of potable water. Recently, the City completed a City-wide Water Recycling Study that identified potential uses of recycled water in its service area. Ten primary recycled/non-potable water supply alternatives were developed to meet existing and future non-potable water demands at various locations within the City. The potential sources of water included local shallow groundwater, brackish groundwater, and the Orange County Water District’s Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) pipeline. The City is currently evaluating the feasibility of delivering water from the GWRS pipeline to Anaheim Resort and the Platinum Triangle areas. The recycled water could provide a drought-proof, reliable source of water for industrial uses, toilet flushing, and landscape irrigation.


Pelicans and Cormorants at Anaheim Coves

Encourage water efficiency education for residents For highly urbanized areas such as Anaheim, water use efficiency continues to be the most cost-effective approach to ensuring reliable water supplies for future generations. Anaheim has emphasized a voluntary and incentive-based approach over mandates and penalties to encourage customer adoption of longterm water use habits. The City offers incentive programs designed to assist all customers, from residents to big business, in improving water use efficiency and reducing their utility costs.


Drought-tolerant parkway planting

More than half of the urban water supply is used to irrigate landscapes, and one of the best ways to conserve limited resources is to make these landscapes water-efficient. The City of Anaheim has adopted the Landscape Water-efficiency Ordinance and Guidelines to provide landscape design parameters and specifications for residents, landscape professionals, developers, and contractors to follow when planning and completing landscape projects in the City.


Drought-tolerant landscape

In addition to the Guidelines, the City is currently constructing a Water Recycling Demonstration Facility to demonstrate water recycling and landscape water efficiency techniques first-hand to the public. It will incorporate sustainable elements such as a demonstration garden featuring drought-tolerant landscaping and water efficient irrigation. It will also feature porous pavement and rainwater harvesting elements which help in storm water management and groundwater recharge.

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5.7 Continue developing opportunities for roof gardens, solar panels, and alternative energy

City-wide roof garden and alternative energy efforts The placement of roof gardens and solar panels on municipal buildings is a growing trend in cities around the nation. Solar panels are an environmentally and economically responsible improvement that cities can benefit from. Many funding opportunities exist for these types of improvements, making them attainable in the current economic climate.

Roof gardens reduce the overall heat absorption of a building and heat island effects, thus reducing energy consumption. Small-scale food production can occur at these sites, and building inhabitants can join in gardening efforts as well as in consuming the fruits of their labor.


Great location for green roof - Anaheim City Hall

Anaheim has already installed a green roof garden on the Anaheim Convention Center. The City has been committed incorporating solar energy since 2000 when it completed a 100 kW capacity system for the Convention Center. Currently, the City has planned a solar energy system that will have minimum capacity of 1.5 MW. It is scheduled to commence construction in the summer of 2013 and be completed in the winter of 2014.


Solar powered light poles at Anaheim Coves

The Anaheim Solar Advantage Program was developed in 2006 to meet the requirements of SB1. The City’s Public Utilities Department is allocating $35 million to be spent between 2006 and 2016 in technological and financial support for customers who install solar energy systems. Since 2006, the Utilities Department has paid incentives totaling $9.8 million to help create 365 solar energy systems that are producing 3.9 MW of energy.


2,000 sq. ft. green roof garden at Anaheim Convention Center

The Public Utilities ‘renewable energy programs’ are also key elements in meeting the State mandate for the proportion of energy derived from renewable sources by December 2020. The focus is on local sources of renewable energy (distributed generation), specifically private solar energy systems.

During the past year, the Department provided $3.7 million in incentives to its electric utility customers; 166 grid-connected energy systems were installed; 706 kW of additional capacity online; and 2,029,031 kWh were delivered to the grid.


Chef Otis selecting herbs - Convention Center roof garden

The Green Power for the Grid Program is another element of the City’s Renewable Energy Program. It offers customers the opportunity to accelerate the Department’s acquisition of green power by contributing an additional two cents for each kilowatt-hour they consume. Nearly 100 customers participated this past year allowing over 1 million kWh to be purchased for renewable energy sources.

The Plan recommends that all new public and private buildings developed within the City consider the installation of roof gardens and/or solar panels following LEED green roof and solar practices.

The City can also incorporate solar cells on street lights that are installed along trails to areas that cannot be reached by electric service. Solar powered emergency phone boxes can also be added on some of these street light poles at regular intervals along the trails.


Solar Panels installed by County*

County-wide alternative energy efforts In 2004, the County of Orange began design and construction on the conversion of its existing Central Utility Facility (CUF) to produce electricity through the power of cogeneration (cogen). The 10.4 MW CUF cogen plant began operation in November 2009 and is saving the County approximately $5 million annually in avoided electricity costs. At the beginning of 2011, John Wayne Airport brought the County’s second cogeneration plant on-line, a 6 MW facility.


Civic Center cogen facility*

Another type of alternative energy being produced by the County is landfill gas-to-energy. The County currently has landfill gas-to-energy projects at three of its landfills and is in the process of developing three more. Also, in 2005, the County installed a small solar system at its Foothill Ranch Library; and in 2010, the County Board of Supervisors approved a Solar Power Purchase Agreement with PsomasFMG that is anticipated to save the County approximately $4.4 million over 20 years.

The County has also pursued energy efficiency and other sustainability measures. With federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funds the County completed lighting retrofits of 10 buildings and hired a consultant to write an Energy Roadmap for the County. The County owns and operates a compressed natural gas fueling facility. As the permitting authority for its unincorporated areas, the County promotes on-line permitting options. For its own procurement practices, the County has an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy. In May 2012, the County hosted its third annual OC Green Fair. The County continues to explore all options for how it can reduce its operating expenses and be green simultaneously.

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5.8 Strive to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions by enhancing the transportation network

In order to help to meet the Anaheim’s GHG reduction targets for 2020 and 2035, set by the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB32) and the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 (SB375), the City is promoting the use of alternative transportation (public transport, bicycle routes, carpooling) through various initiatives. One of these initiatives to reduce emission is to reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) by introducing new bicycle facilities and routes. The Plan proposes to implement a city-wide Urban Greening Program which will add 180 miles of additional bicycle routes. The goal of this initiative will be to reduce the overall number of VMT and reduce GHG emissions in the various districts.

This City is divided into eight subareas within which the city-wide potential GHG reduction emissions will be calculated.


VMT reduction totals by District

The GHG emission reductions were calculated using VMT reductions that would occur following the implementation of the proposed bike routes shown on the Connectivity Plan Map. These numbers were calculated by district. Note that these values can be considered to be conservative in that they only address commute trips (non-work trips were not included).

GHG emission factors were then calculated using the Emission Factor (EmFac2011) model developed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Carbon dioxide emissions are the primary GHG emission associated with vehicle travel. Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have different GHG impacts. Methane has an impact equivalent to 21 times that of the equivalent mass of carbon dioxide, and nitrous has an impact equal to 310 times that of the equivalent mass of carbon dioxide. Total emissions are shown in metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e). The City would reduce its GHG emission reductions by approximately 56 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent if all 180 miles of bicycle facilities proposed by the Plan were implemented.


GHG reduction totals by District

Another way the City is helping to reduce GHG emissions is by encouraging ridesharing and alternative transportation through numerous programs. Some of these programs are funded by money from AB2766 such as the City Wide Vanpool Program, Metrolink OCTA incentives, Rail Feeder Pool Vehicles, Rideshare Outreach, and the Trip Reduction Program. The City also provides a carpooling match list on its website.

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5.9 Promote Green Streets

Paved streets comprise a large percentage of the urban environment. Because of their imperviousness, plus the motor vehicle pollutants that collect on paved surfaces, streets contribute substantially to a city’s stormwater runoff quantity and water quality problems. Developing “Green Streets” is an approach to street design and retrofitting to improve stormwater management, while also enhancing neighborhood aesthetics and walkability. Green Streets can incorporate the following elements: more vegetation (including trees) in parkway strips to intercept and infiltrate rainfall, corner bulbouts with filtration plantings to help detain and treat stormwater runoff, permeable paving where possible in the right-of-way (e.g., parking zones), and structural soils for street trees that are surrounded by paving.

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5.10 Encourage the use of electric vehicles

Anaheim has a long history of promoting the use of green vehicles. The Anaheim Public Utilities department currently offers financial assistance in the form of a rebate for electric vehicle (EV) owners.


Anaheim Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

The 2006 Anaheim Green Resolution dictates that 90% of the City’s light and medium utility fleet vehicles will be replaced by Alternative Fuel Vehicles by 2020. There are several EV charging stations throughout the City, as shown above, which are available for use by residents, local employees and visitors who drive EVs. The City encourages all private and public property owners to install EV charge stations.

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5.11 Adopt landscape palette and standards that include drought-tolerant and native plants

Utilizing a standardized list of plant species within the City of Anaheim makes it easier for both public and private developers to choose plants that are best suited to Anaheim’s climate and appropriate for the level of desired maintenance. The Plan encourages the use of resource conserving native and drought-tolerant plants, and includes an extensive list of plants that are appropriate for different situations such as residential, streetscape, commercial or wildland. This list, or plant palette, can be found in Appendix B.

Avoid invasive species The Plan strongly recommends avoiding “invasive” plant species in both public and private landscapes. Invasive species of plants are those that adversely affect the surrounding habitat and/or threaten biological diversity. Some common invasive species that are often planted in the urban environment include: Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana, Cortaderia jubata), Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius), Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum) and Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella tenuissima).

These plants are often selected for their attractive and fast-growing nature. However, they tend to grow at such a rapid rate that they quickly outgrow their surroundings and spread throughout the neighborhood and into surrounding natural areas. Once established, these plants out-compete native plants for resources, creating mono-cultures and reducing the diversity that insects, birds and other animals rely on for their survival.

Another way the City is helping to reduce GHG emissions is by encouraging ridesharing and alternative transportation through numerous programs. Some of these programs are funded by money from AB2766 such as the City Wide Vanpool Program, Metrolink OCTA incentives, Rail Feeder Pool Vehicles, Rideshare Outreach, and the Trip Reduction Program. The City also provides a carpooling match list on its website.

Many of these plants also produce large quantities of seeds and other debris that become a nuisance to homeowners and landscape maintenance crews. Their rapid growth is difficult to control and often requires the use of repeated chemical application which is expensive and toxic to the environment.

Utilize drought-tolerant and native plants
Drought-tolerant and plants native to southern California are naturally adapted to dry conditions. These types of plants are especially suitable to the low-rainfall and warm, sunny climate of Anaheim.

Depending on the species, drought-tolerant and native plants can survive with little to no supplemental water in arid regions. However, in the urban environment it is often beneficial to supply some water year-round to ensure that plants bloom frequently and look their best. In areas where turf is essential, low water use turf species should be considered.

Drip irrigation is often recommend for these types of plants, as it provides a low volume of water with little loss to evaporation. Using drought-tolerant and native plants in combination with drip irrigation can drastically reduce landscape water usage, and is recommended by the Plan for both public and private landscape developments whenever possible.

Consider low VOC emitting trees for large-scale plantings
Researchers now know that VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are emitted from vegetation, including urban forests and landscapes. VOCs can react in the atmosphere and contribute to the formation of ozone, which can become an air pollutant in high concentrations. Many common trees in California have been shown to produce low VOC emissions, and several of these trees have been included in the plant palette developed for the Plan. Low VOC emitting trees should be considered for large-scale plantings (plantings that include hundreds to thousands of new trees), as VOC emissions can become significant with the presence of many large trees. Studies on plant VOC emissions are on-going. When considering specific species for large-scale plantings, decision makers should consult the National Center for Atmospheric Research (http://bai.acd.ucar.edu/Data/BVOC) for the most current listings of species. Specific species can then be cross-referenced with the plant palette designed for this Plan.

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