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It’s not Easy Being Green, but River Park Aims to Pull It Off

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The popular River Park Shopping Center is going all out with a newly announced five-part environmental sustainability plan. (GV Wire Composite/ Paul Marshall)
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A popular north Fresno shopping center says it’s pushing even harder to be “green.”

Earlier this week, Lance Kashian & Co. announced a five-part sustainability plan to make River Park Shopping Center more environmentally friendly.

The effort involves assembling a team of local businesses to reduce the center’s carbon footprint.

The plan calls for cutting water use, increasing renewable energy production, improving HVAC efficiency, sending less refuse to landfills, and implementing safety and lighting upgrades.

River Park vice president Tracy Kashian said her team was committed to fulfilling the new sustainability goals.

“We are excited to have reached these levels of certification,” said Kashian, “Not only because it shows our commitment to sustainable building, but mostly because of the direct benefit to the environment, as well as to the tenants that occupy the buildings.”

Reducing Water Use With Drought Friendly Plants

To start, the park aims to plant 3,700 low water-use plants throughout the shopping center. This will save 145,000 gallons of water annually, said aid Terry Broussard, who heads up the landscape architecture firm Broussard Associates.

In addition, the center will modernize its irrigation system with the work performed by Jain Irrigation. This upgrade will monitor temperature, humidity, wind speed, and rain.

In 2016, the center installed ETwater weather-based irrigation controllers. Now the system will include 38,000 linear feet of drip irrigation with new controllers that will look at the weather forecast on a regular basis and self adjust to an irrigation schedule matching pant and soil needs daily.

“We are excited to take the next step in water conservation, by installing an all-new, updated system at our properties,” said Kashian.

River Park Increases Renewable Energy Production

The center’s second goal revolves around solar. Regal Cinemas, Park View Plaza, and JoAnn Fabrics have completed solar installations. Cost Plus World Market is up next.

Blair Cunnings, president of Barrier Solar, said that by painting roofs white, rooftop temperatures fall by up to 30 degrees.

Besides looking to reduce the consumption of natural resources, the center wants to maximize the use of renewable resources. One example: Regal Cinemas could eliminate more than 22,554 tons of CO2 from its carbon footprint over the life of the solar system.

Regal Cinemas: Before and After

River Park Buildings Will Combat Bad Air Quality

The center is also installing medical-grade HVAC systems that will result in cleaner air. And, the phase-out of old filtration systems is nearing completion.

“All of these efforts increase and improve workplace air quality, all while reducing the carbon footprint by using only what we need when we need it,” River Park officials said.

Park Will Increase Recycling and Landfill Diversions

With current state demands, cities are required to divert 50% of their waste. River Park officials say they have fully exceeded these requirements for the year 2021 by generating close to 223 tons of waste and recycling 73% of it.

To continue these diversion efforts, the center plans to add more recycling bins in eating and shopping areas.

River Park Shopping Center’s Environmental Transformation: 

Park Focused on Increasing Safety and Lighting

The park’s final goal includes increased surveillance and safety.

Since 2011, River Park has increased its surveillance cameras from 17 to 101. All of the cameras are energy-efficient digital HD and integrated with the Fresno Police Department.

Since 2017, the center has converted to energy-efficient LED lighting in all of its commercial properties and exterior parking lots.

 

Liz Juarez joined GV Wire in July, 2021 as a Digital News Producer. She has experience working for publications around the Central Valley including the Clovis Roundup, Porterville Recorder and Hanford Sentinel. While in college, she interned for Mountain West Athletics and served as Outreach Chair for the Fresno State Radio and Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). Liz earned a bachelor's degree in Media Communications and Journalism at Fresno State and a master's degree in Communications from Arizona State University. In her down time, she enjoys reading, drawing and staying active by playing basketball, taking trips to the coast and visiting national parks. You can contact Liz at liz.juarez@gvwire.com

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