Saving water, composting— what’s next for 80-year-old PLB?

| April 27, 2023 | 0 Comments

It’s never too late to change. Just look at Park La Brea (PLB).

PROPERTY MANAGER Aryn Thomez at Park La Brea.

The 80-year-old apartment complex — the second largest in the country — was recently awarded an Innovation Award for its “out-of-the-box” irrigation system credited with saving 30 percent of water use annually, said Aryn Thomez, vice president of property management for Prime Residential, which owns Park La Brea.

Thomez was pleasantly surprised when she got a call out of the blue announcing the honor.

“We didn’t even know we were in the running for the award,” Thomez said last month in her garden-view office.

The award was presented recently by the Better Buildings Challenge, a United States Dept. of Energy program that encourages sustainability and recognizes innovative projects.

The water-saving system was installed in 2022 soon after Thomez took the helm of the 4,250-unit residential complex at 6200 W. Third St. It is estimated to save up to 23 million gallons of water each year.

Thomez, who brought her experience working with new real estate developments, was looking for innovative and forward-thinking ways to improve the complex.

Since landscape is such a huge component of the 150-acre property, she thought it might be worthwhile to switch out the traditional weather-based irrigation system — common to apartment buildings — for a system specific to larger sites like cities and golf courses.

With rebates in hand from the Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power, Thomez and members of her 200-member staff worked with the company UgMO to install 770 plastic sensors 6 inches deep throughout the property.

The cellular communication-based system monitors temperature and soil conditions of plants and trees in specific areas and reports data to Thomez and the landscape crew. “It’s a much better way of doing it than asking when was the last time it rained,” Thomez smiles.

The project will be fine-tuned over time to further reduce water usage and monitor leaks and faulty sprinklers. Cost savings will be passed along to residents.

She plans to introduce indigenous plants over time, said Thomez, who grew up in Minnesota. She feels at home in the lush grounds at Park La Brea, a welcome break in the center of a busy metropolis. She walks through the complex’s two parks from her garden apartment to her office each morning.

She rose up the ranks in her 20-year career and worked in Washington D.C. and New York before moving to California seven years ago. She oversaw developer Greystar’s Southern California region for its newly developed and owned assets before joining Prime.

Composting, EVs too

She also has overseen a compost program to divert food waste from the landfill for all 4,000+ units at Park La Brea. She will talk about the program at the WasteExpo this month in New Orleans, along with representatives from PLB trash collector Athens Services.

Also in the works are plans to increase the site’s EV charging stations. “I am a go-green kind of gal,” she said.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Real Estate

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *