• Mar 1, 2007
Last Friday the covers were pulled off of a brand new gas station on the corner of Olympic and Robertson in L.A. Dubbed the Helios House by BP, the Frank Gehry-inspired structure is what the petroleum producer calls "a little better gas station," referring to the earth friendly features built into the structure. For instance, the pump palace is composed of recyclable uncoated stainless steel triangles, the rooftop is covered with 90 solar panels and collects rainwater to irrigate nearby fauna flora, the underside of the roof features low-energy lighting and the concrete base is mixed with pieces of recycled glass. Besides the materials used to build Helios House, BP employees will also go around and check each customers' tire pressure to ensure the most eco-friendly inflation pressure is acheived.

Environmental activists, however, are not swayed by BP's "green-washing", citing that the absence of alternative fuels like ethanol and biodiesel being offered at Helios House reveals a giant paradox with the facility. BP recognizes the inconsistency baked into its new building, and is considering adding alternative fuels in the future. As some activists point out, however, it's hard to criticize the oil company because at least the Helios House is a positive step, even if it is owned by what is traditionally considered an enemy of the environment.

Check out many more pics at LAist.com by clicking the Read link.

[Source: LAist.com, LA Times]


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  • 18 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      "the rooftop is covered with 90 solar panels and collects rainwater to irrigate nearby fauna"

      Is the collected rainwater deposited in a trough for the nearby fauna? ...or are we thinking irrigation of nearby flora (i.e. plants). I haven't been to L.A. recently so I'm really not sure.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I drive by the area frequently. The place was shrouded with a covering that consisted of big silk screened grass bladed. I wasn't quite sure what they were doing until they unwrapped the place last week. It's quite a nice design for a gas station. If only they'd sell cheap gas. 87 octane has hit ~2.80ish here in L.A.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Welcome to the real world,, come to the UK and fill up, it now cost $4 per liter for unleaded. Crude is not cheap. an alternative fuel needs to be found fast both for the worlds increasing energy demand and fragile economy. In the mean time the cost will continue to go up.
      • 7 Years Ago
      And one note about the harping by then environmentalist not happy that the place isn't offering atlernative fuels.


      The environmental wackos won't be happy until there are no more gas burning cars and that that all the oil companies are out of business and their workers shot in the head and thrown into ditches to rot.

      Why should BP offer alternative fuels when there are hardly any cars using them?

      They will never be happy. I just hope car companies are able to extend the life of gas burning engines by making them more efficient and utilizing more of the wasted energy when gas is burned.

      Honda is one company to look to as they are working hard to make gas engines more efficient.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Are the employees with the tire gages checking the placards in the vehicles for the correct tire pressure for that particular vehicle? Are the quizzing the customers on how much they're going to have the vehicle loaded in case that changes the rear tire pressure requirements?

      Because if they're just blindly filling tires to some arbitrary number, or worse to the "max" PSI marked on the tires, they are opening themselves up to a world of lawsuits for blowouts/accidents/rollovers caused by incorrect inflation pressures.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The problem is Helios House is still a gas station and if Beyond Petroleum wanted to move in that direction (that is moving beyond petroleum) this could have been a great start. BP can afford to set up one station in the Car Capital of the World that sells altlernative fuels. There are enough diesels in town to warrant Bio-Diesel. There are only two or three places in all of LA County that sell bio-diesel. Even if flex cars are few and far between in LA having a place to buy E85 would showcase the fuel in Los Angeles. The only way to get beyond petroleum is to start moving in that direction on a large scale. While the building should be lauded..it could have been more.
      • 7 Years Ago
      cool
      • 7 Years Ago
      People just need to stop giving Frank Gehry money for architetural abominations like this.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Oil companies are quickly becoming energy companies, and they'll be around for a long time to come. So perhaps the 'environmental activists would get farther by saying 'Good first step, now lets try some alternative fuels', rather than complaining all the time about how evil oil companies are.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I live near this nifty piece of architecture that bills itself as “a little better”. The emphasis really is on the word “little”. I was a frequent customer of the Thrifty gas that used to occupy the same spot. When they closed down the Thrifty gas to construct the new bp I was excited, thinking that the future of alternative fuel stations was finally coming to L.A. the epicenter of the automobile. Being located in the middle of the ultra-chic Westside I thought what a bold statement from one of the worlds largest oil companies. Wrong! As far as I know there are no bp branded stations in the greater Los Angeles area, so this really peaked my interest, the future is hear I thought. Now I will certainly be looking into a Flexfuel, ethanol, biodeisel, car for my next vehicle purchase, maybe even a hydrogen car or car that I could swap in and out a standardized electric battery. Nope, just regular gasoline not even diesel. They wasted an opportunity and gave us the same thing just packaged differently. What a slap in the face as if to say, we recognize the global need for improving energy efficiency but we are not really interested in that, we just want the same antiquated products to look prettier and we want you to “feel” better about using them. I don’t buy my gas from that station in protest, I buy it at the Exxon across the street. A gas station that looks like a Frank Geary inspired H.R. Pufinstuff titanium tree house complete with magic mushroom mood lights, what a waste of talent and money. Save the big bp marketing dollars and build us the next generation of fueling stations with real alternative fuels next time. On a recent trip to Oregon I stumbled upon a real futuristic fueling station with all different grades of ethanol and biodiesel, It also had a real “living roof” on the store part and solar panels on the fuel canopy, organic self serve soda fountain and an array of locally made sustainable foodstuffs and other green products. How hard could it really be to build such a thing? Check out http://www.sqbiofuels.com/ . I call that “a little better” not just a little more colorful.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Check out the linked website for some free entertainment. All of the greenies are in such a tizzy that they're practically choking on their bean sprouts!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm with bob. let's be real for christ sakes. I work in land development, specifically writing documents like environmental impact reports to assure various projects comply with NEPA and CEQA, this is a wonderful step forward. Imagine if every gas station employed a sense of sustainability the way this one does. Give credit where credit is due, green architecture and a bevy of alternative fuels shouldn't be in the same context.

      I oft wonder if anything is enough, say they did offer alternative fuels, what then, “well they just cost too much”. It’s a never ending cycle.
      • 7 Years Ago
      i don't like how they're referring to the grades of fuel as "good, better and best!" what's good for one car isn't good for another. This may trick people into thinking if they put the "best" fuel in their cars, they will magically run better or getter better gas mileage. I'd also hate to see this gas station's reflection on a bright sunny, California day.
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