Eco Heroes: Solar stars at CBS Television City
More than 1,700 rooftop solar panels generate hundreds of kilowatts of electricity at CBS Television City, where the network has produced programming for nearly 60 years. Learn how the LA Conservation Corps has joined the effort to reduce energy and water consumption in this EcoMedia video.
Editor's Note: EcoMedia and SmartPlanet are part of CBS Corporation.
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>> Mike Klausman: Hi, I'm Mike Klausman. I'm president of CBS Studio Center, and I'm senior vice president of operations for CBS on the west coast. CBS is made up of a lot of good people. They spend a lot of time here. And we are, we're a big family, and as a family, we want to do the best for our family. We get together and come up with ideas of ways to improve our green effort and to save money, and maybe even to make some money. Probably the largest initiative we have is the photovoltaic system at TV City.
>> Ted Johnson: Hi, my name is Ted Johnson, and I'm currently located on the south side of the main studio at Television City in Los Angeles. the section right behind me constitutes about 600 panels and represents, uhhhh, in the neighborhood of 35 percent of the total system size. On the north side of the main studio here, we have about 500 panels, totaling about 1100 on the main studio. Across the way, behind me, is the east studio, and on that we have 500 panels over there. The total number of panels that we have in this system is 17 hundred and 12. And that will generate about 300 and 50 kilowatt AC worth of electricity. From a business perspective, sustainability has got to be part of our equation, and it's got to be an increasingly important part of our equation. To cool the studios down, we use a lot of electricity and light. The real problem there is, currently with the lighting we have, we use a lot of cooling energy -- i.e., for our chillers -- to cool the lighting down. A lot of that light creates a lot of waste heat. Totally, it runs about 90,000 dollars in savings that we will be able to obtain from this system. These gentlemen here are members of the L.A. Conservation Corps, and they're currently pulling an electrical wire through the conduit.
>> The Los Angeles Conservation Corps is a non-profit organization here in the city that focuses on at-risk youth and trying to get at-risk youth trained to do all sorts of different jobs within the green sector -- you know, things like conservation and education of the local community.
>> Ted Johnson: We started hiring these kids to help. Now, not only were they doing just mundane work like tearing the roof up and throwing away the stuff, but now they're learning photovoltaic, they're learning how to install it, they're getting real tradesmanship.
>> One of the biggest things we have to overcome is this preconception that inner-city youth can't do this kind of project. So by CBS giving us this opportunity, we're able to let all these professionals that are up here working with our young people see that not only can they do it, but with the right structure, they can move on to careers not only in solar but hopefully become electricians. So we're deeply indebted to CBS for this opportunity.
>> Ted Johnson: The roof we're standing on is just that, it's a cool roof, basically. It's a membrane roof. This one is made out of TPO, and there's other ones that are polyvinyl. Under this one, there's an inch and a half layer of foam, insulation, and that in itself is probably the biggest thing that keeps us from losing heat, or gaining heat for the studio's sake. And in this case, because it's white it reflects most of the sunlight. Even in the hottest part of summer, middle of the day, you touch it, and it's still cool, because the sunlight reflects off of it very effectively. So we are reducing our heat gain during the warmer months. Above us you'll see the energy-efficient lighting that is being incorporated throughout the studio. It is replacing the older two-tube lights that have been used previously. And the replacement is with one tube, and it's far more energy-efficient, consuming about half the energy that the previous lights did.
>> Mike Klausman: We have reduced our water consumption by an incredible amount by putting new fixtures in.
>> Ted Johnson: What you're looking at now is the control board for the newest addition to our chiller group. These are the brand-new 650-ton chillers that we use to cool the studios. These chillers have been in service for less than three years, far more effective or efficient than the ones we have on the other side of the studio. They can be modulated, which means simply that we can ramp them up or down as the heat demand requires.
>> Mike Klausman: People look at us. We're in the limelight. Our name tied with it has impact, because people see it. And we start to realize that if a company like that can do it, then my company can do it.
>> Ted Johnson: I don't think there's any question that when people find out what we're doing they're really excited about it. And they're very excited about CBS's proactive stance on moving forward with a sustainable program.
>> Mike Klausman: Frankly, what's most satisfying is we find out from people that know the business that we're doing the right thing, and we're doing it well.
==== Transcribed by Automatic Sync Technologies ====