Green is good, especially in San Francisco. And the city's Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has plans to build a green tower, the likes of which have never been seen on American soil...at least for an office building. Agency consultants describe the project as "the most energy-efficient office building developed in an urban setting in the United States to date." Other experts tag the green initiative as aggressive, which is definitely a compliment in SF! The building will be a 12-story structure located at 525 Golden Gate Avenue (cross street Polk Street) and is just two blocks away from city hall. Greening the building will cost an additional $16 million to the already hefty $178 million budget. However, the savings may be well worth it. Currently, the PUC's employees are renting out space at $9 million per annum. The estimated cost to house all of the employees in the new "green" structure is estimated at $3.8 million per year. Some of the buildings green features include the following:
- Wind turbines stacked on the roof to generate energy (positioned behind glass to fit in)
- Solar panels embedded in portions of the buildings facade
- Waterless urinals, faucet sensors and on-demand water heaters
- Wastewater recycled through basement filters
The windturbines are extremely lightweight and employ slow-moving swirls, which reduce vibration (especially important since they will be on the roof) and they are safe for birds. The are produced and manufactured by Aerotecture (cool website, check it out). KMD Architects commissioned Timmons Design Engineers in association with ARUP to carry out the sustainable design services for the new building.