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Los Angeles

Can green be sexy? You could ask Kermit, or one of the 400 who attended the USGBC-LA Chapter's Dream Green Gala last week. We were on hand for the ninth annual event, held at the Avalon in Hollywood (factoid alert: historic site of The Beatles' first West Coast concert, in '64). The evening included a mixed-media art exhibit featuring repurposed materials and found objects, and an eco-fashion show using sustainable fabrics.

We snapped executive director Dr. Jorge Partida, a clinical and research psychologist. How did a head doctor get into sustainability? Much of his work has involved a concept called intentional communities—starting from scratch in places that have been devastated by war, for example, and looking holistically at systems such as education, employment, culture. In doing so, Jorge was introduced to some great architects in Latin America and Africa. The built environment is critical in how communities are designed to maximize social interaction, productivity, and sustainability, he's found.

The marquee moment: the 2013 Sustainable Innovation Awards, which recognize project teams whose strategies can be used as a model for sustainable design and construction. Big winner: Conrad N. Hilton Foundation HQ (Project of the Year and Energy & Atmosphere), a net-zero, LEED Platinum facility in Agoura Hills that helped changed the city's building guidelines to be more accommodating for sustainable building. Other winners: Burbank Water and Power EcoCampus (Sustainable Sites and Innovation in Design), Step Up on Vine (also for Innovation in Design) and the Jorgensen Laboratory at Caltech (Materials & Resources).

The art exhibit was produced and curated by business consultant Joan Marshall, who specializes in architecture, design and building. We snapped her with artist Cassandra Tondro, who uses leftover acrylic latex house paint that she gets from recycling centers to create her artworks.

Related Topics: The Beatles, Agoura Hills, Step Up