Sustainability and resource efficiency are important core values at the Orange County Great Park. The Great Park takes pride in demonstrating cutting-edge ideas and technologies and inspiring people to make changes in their own lives, making a profound impact far beyond the Great Park’s boundaries. It’s one of the reasons the Great Park was an ideal host for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 and XPO.
The Great Park is committed to utilizing the rich materials that already exist at the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro and showcasing their use in the construction of the Great Park. Look closely at many of the currently constructed elements at the Great Park and you’ll notice the re-use of existing buildings and the use of former pieces of runway in structures. The Palm Court Arts Complex and Historic Hangar 244 are converted squadron buildings that are now home to the Great Park Gallery, Artists Studios and a special event facility. Former pieces of runway, nostalgically referred to as El Toro Stone, have been used in the North Lawn parking lot, and in gabion walls throughout the South Lawn Sports + Fitness Complex and in the Great Park’s Visitors Center Pavilion.
The Great Park’s commitment to sustainability and resource efficiency also includes habitat restoration, renewable energy generation, water quality management, transportation, and more.
Restored native habitats are found in the Great Park plan in the Wildlife Corridor and Agua Chinon. Native plant communities are found in other areas as well, including the Botanic Garden.
The Wildlife Corridor, off limits to the general public, is reserved for animal movement from the mountains to the sea. Agua Chinon also links nature preserves north to south, but it is crisscrossed by paths so that visitors can enjoy this natural area.
Our obligation to future generations is to maintain clean water for their future use. The South Lawn Sports + Fitness Complex features a sophisticated water management system designed to supplement the South Lawn’s irrigation needs. The system captures, filters, and stores storm water in four new retention ponds on the South Lawn. It has the capacity for more than 5 million gallons of storm water storage.
The Great Park is designed to promote alternative means of transportation. The Park is easily accessible by mass transit via the Irvine Station near Marine Way. The Great Park will feature a meandering network of trails for walking, biking or jogging that will mesh with City and regional trail networks and encourage visitors to exit their cars and enjoy the Great Park’s open space. All sections of the park are accessible to all people, regardless of physical ability.
Renewable Energy Generation
In October 2013, nearly 64,000 people attended the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 and XPO at the Great Park. This free public event featured two complementary attractions: the Solar Decathlon, where visitors toured highly efficient, solar-powered competition houses, and the XPO, a clean and renewable energy exposition that featured visionary and innovative clean energy companies, products, and educational opportunities.
Together, Solar Decathlon 2013 and the XPO created a unique and powerful showcase for technology, education, products, arts, and business opportunities related to clean and renewable energy generation and efficient energy use.