State Architect of California Launches Initiative to Make Local Schools More Sustainable

State Architect of California Chester A. Widom has launched “7x7x7: Design, Energy, Water”—an initiative that aims to demonstrate the importance of contemporizing California school facilities with more sustainable features.

Based on the “7x7x7: Case Studies in School Energy and Water Reduction,” the program is sponsored by the Division of the State Architect (DSA)—part of the California Department of General Services—in collaboration with the California Energy Commission and AIA California Council (AIACC).

A selection process highlighted seven California-based architecture and design firms that will each develop a conceptual case study, assigned by the DSA, to address a different campus type and construction style. These case studies will serve as future reference points for those seeking to reduce energy and water usage within educational facilities. Money that is consequentially saved would be reinvested into schools and the student experience. For participating, each firm will receive $7,000 and more than $5,000 in reimbursable expenses.

The seven firms and their assignments are:

WRNS Studio 

1950s elementary school 


Aedis Architects
1970s high school 

San Diego


1980s elementary school 


Ehrlich Architects

1960s elementary school
Los Angeles

DLR Group 

1980s elementary school (designed by Donald Wexler)
Desert Hot Springs

Hamilton + Aitken Architects
1920s high school

Santa Barbara


1970s technical college
Los Angeles

In January 2016, the firms will present their case studies during four regional events hosted by California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo; the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Southern California in Los Angeles; and the New School of Architecture and Design in San Diego. 

For more information regarding the “7x7x7: Design, Energy, Water” initiative and its associated case studies, visit the official website.