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Globally Connected: Locally Sustainable

(page 8 of 15)

Connecting to a Sustainable Future

Preserving the Environment for the Next Generation

What is sustainability? It’s defined as balancing environmental, economic and social demands in a way that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

It’s a vision of Kapolei as a self-contained, self-sustainable city where generations of families will want to live because they will have everything they need to thrive — a home, a strong economy with good jobs, excellent educational opportunities, comprehensive government and social services, and a healthy natural environment that makes it a great place to live.


Another way to define sustainability is “finding equilibrium.” This suggests a balancing act between seemingly competing interests — protecting the natural environmental; developing a healthy, robust economy; and providing for the social and cultural wellbeing of people. In Kapolei, these broad objectives are being interpreted and applied in different ways. For example, how to harness the power of the sun, and how to build a sustainable university campus.


A virtually limitless source of clean, renewable energy in sunny Kapolei makes it the ideal place to harness the sun’s power. A four-way partnership is collaborating on a project that will produce up to one megawatt of solar power using more than 4,200 solar panels. This clean energy will be generated at the Kapolei Sustainable Energy Park near the James Campbell Industrial Park, which will rank among the largest solar energy facilities on Oahu to date.

Forest City Hawaii is developing the solar plant on 12 acres of Campbell Company lands, while Hoku Solar will design and install the system that places the solar panels on an elevated concrete racks. Once the plant starts generating solar power as early as the end of 2011, Hawaiian Electric Company will purchase the power to deliver to its customers. The result: clean, bright energy from the sun.

“The Kapolei Sustainable Energy Park is a model for what Hawaii wants to accomplish in meeting its clean energy goals, while making effective use of land,” said Jon Wallenstrom, president of Forest City Hawaii. “Considering the past use of this property, it’s a remarkable turnaround. It will now be used to help preserve our environment going into the future.” 

“What we build here should be a teaching model for how we can
live sustainability for generations to come.”
—Chancellor Gene Awakuni, University of Hawaii, West Oahu


As the locus for higher learning in Kapolei, the new University of Hawaii–West Oahu campus will also be a lesson in sustainability.

The campus design takes everything into account. Site planners started by paying special attention to existing natural site conditions to capitalize on solar orientation, wind direction, views, topography, and landscape. Within this framework, the detailed plan sets strategies for attaining sustainability. For example, it identifies ways to reduce and prevent water pollution, cut down on waste, be energy efficient, and reduce the use of fossil fuels. It contains sprawl and reduces traffic congestions by creating a compact campus. It also protects sensitive land areas from over-development.

Great attention is also being paid to bio-diversity and protecting and preserving endangered native species. One such species, the brilliant native red ilima can be found on the site. During construction, the plants are being relocated and propagated for future use in campus landscaping.

Phase one buildings, now under construction, are designed to meet strict LEED standards, with the goal of achieving LEED Silver certification across the campus.

“Our intention has always been to have a campus where sustainability practices are integrated into the development and operation of the campus,” said Chancellor Gene Awakuni. “As an institution of learning, we also have a broader responsibility. What we build here should be a teaching model for how we can live sustainability for generations to come.”

Kapolei Area Long Range Master Plan

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