Anthem Blue Cross on Monday showed off a $1.1 million landscaping project at its Woodland Hills offices that replaced an expansive lawn with drought-tolerant plants.
The new landscaping at the insurer’s 21555 Oxnard St. campus is expected to save 12 million gallons of water each year while cutting the company’s annual water bill by $65,000.
The costs were completely covered through rebates from the California Friendly Landscape Incentive Program run by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
The project took five months to complete and involved ripping out more than 12 acres of lawn and replacing it with 8,500 plants and trees, including 1,185 Caramel Creeper bushes and 178 Crape Myrtle trees. The vegetation is expected to take up to 36 months to mature.
Jim Ardell, the company’s vice president of real estate, said the landscaping project sets a good corporate example because of the property’s prominence in Warner Center.
He noted the grass was replaced with greenery that was “natural landscape” for the Valley’s semi-arid climate.
“This is one of the most visible pieces of property in the area,” said Ardell, during a press conference held to highlight the recently completed project.
The LADWP’s rebate program offers up to $3.75 per square foot in rebates for residential customers and up to $3 per square foot for commercial customers.
The rebates were available to Anthem Blue Cross even though it is based in Thousand Oaks and is a subsidiary of Anthem Inc. in Indianapolis.
The program ties into Gov. Jerry Brown’s April 1 executive order that California reduces water usage by 25 percent statewide, which calls for replacing 50 million square feet of lawns with drought-resistant landscaping.
L.A. Councilman Bob Blumenfield, District 3, who attended the event, said the landscaping is attractive to businesses “looking not just for the aesthetics, or what’s right for the environment but for their bottom line.”