Sustainable Santa Monica

Santa Monica has been active in the sustainable movement since well before "sustainable" became a household word.

Southern California Sustainable Architect, David Hertz

Green and Sustainable Santa Monica


Recognized as one of the top ten sustainable cities in the U.S., Santa Monica is committed to ensuring that, “as a community, we can live well today without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same.”

Points of Interest

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC): The Southern California headquarters of this environmental nonprofit includes a variety of interactive and educational forums open to the public. The building received the U.S. Green Building Council's highest sustainability certification (LEED Platinum), calling it “the greenest building in the country.”

Green Building Resource Center (GRBC): The GBRC is stocked with samples of eco-friendly building materials and provides free green design advice.

Pacific Wheel is the world’s first solar-powered Ferris wheel, located at Pacific Park on the Pier.

Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is an entertaining, educational center displaying the local marine ecosystem.

Parks: Santa Monica has more than 420 acres of public open space with sporting facilities, including swimming pools, tennis courts, and lawn bowling.

Healthy Eating: Santa Monica has four renowned Farmers’ Markets and an array of Organic Food Stores and Organic Dining.

Sustainable Quality Awards

The Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, Sustainable Works and the City of Santa Monica work together each year to produce the Sustainable Quality Awards (SQA). The Sustainable Quality Awards have celebrated local businesses that make extraordinary contributions to the community by honoring business achievement in economic development, social responsibility, and stewardship of the environment. The voluntary activities these businesses undertake result in cleaner air and water, less waste, reduced traffic and pollution, improved quality of life for residents and workers, and a strong and viable local economy.


1994: Santa Monica adopts the Sustainable City Plan and begins to reduce – among other things – beach pollution, the amount of solid waste (by up to one million tons annually) and water use (by up to 328 million gallons annually). Rigorous goals are set year to year. Track the Sustainable City Progress Report

2000: The Santa Monica Urban Runoff Recycling Facility (SMURRF) begins operation. The first full-scale, dry-weather runoff recycling facility in the U.S., SMURRF reclaims water run-off from city storm drains, then filters and treats the water for reuse in landscape irrigation and toilet flushing. SMURRF greatly reduces water pollutants entering Santa Monica Bay, while providing grey water for other uses. The Facility also makes for an interesting, educational field trip. More about SMURRF

2006: Santa Monica launches its Green Certification Program, a voluntary initiative providing businesses with assistance in cost-saving green practices, reducing waste and conserving natural resources. See a full list of Santa Monica’s Green Certified businesses.

Today: Santa Monica uses 100% renewable electrical power; transformed 70% of heavy-duty vehicles and equipment to clean-air fuel technologies. Committed to widespread sustainable initiatives, Santa Monica is transparent about its progress and shortcomings. See the “Sustainable City Report Card”.

Green Business Certification


SQA Winner