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.

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[Source:, LA Times]

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