Green day

On Presidents Day, Bill Clinton proved he had both, appearing at a frigid airplane hangar in this California town to laud the green building movement.

As evidence, Clinton touted the efficiencies of the airport hangar in which Shangri-La held the event: It has been designated an "LEED Platinum" facility by the U.S. Green Building Council, the council's highest rating for energy efficiency. The hangar, now leased by a Burbank company called Avjet, produces all its own powermainly through solar panelsbut nonetheless cost about the same to build as comparable, non-green facilities, Shangri-La officials said.

But Shangri-La did seem to skimp on one feature: heat. It was so cold inside the hangar that dignitaries at a big U-shaped table, including Clinton and several U.S. representatives from the Los Angeles area, could almost see their breath in the air. Most struggled to stay warm as they chatted and noshed on an organic lunch that included "farmers market dates" and cucumber spring rolls with albacore tartar.

Builders shaved expenses by not covering all the walls with steel, using skylights to bring in natural light during the day and installing polished cement floors that cost less than traditional flooring, among other measures. Private jets parked in the hangar also can use the building's sun power to run their daily checks, instead of having to turn the planes on and draw power from the engines.

Clinton, in his comments, even noted the high-tech hand dryers in the building's bathrooms.

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