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SAN FRANCISCO'S CIVIC TOWER: Greenest Of Them All
Recently, we’ve been seeing scads of new projects that make big claims about their sustainable features. Some projects feature elaborate photovoltaic systems, a few wind turbines, or recycled material, while others promise to save water as much as possible. All in all, the competition to become THE sustainable building project is heating up, and now, the City of San Francisco is putting its foot down and letting everyone know that their new Civic Administration Tower, designed by KMD Architects in collaboration with Timmons Design Engineers, will be the greenest of them all.
A few years ago, the City of San Francisco drew up plans to build a new City Hall annex. At the time, the building had been designed to be as sustainable as possible. However, due to technological constraints, the building was created to meet a LEED silver rating. It included features such as tinted windows and decent shading, as well as a floor plan meant to use as much daylight as possible. But other ideas had to be thrown out. In the end, the project was put on hold due primarily to budgetary constraints. Oh what a difference a few years make…
The San Francisco Administration Building project, now revived due to a new cost-benefit estimate asserting that the building could save the city about 6 million dollars per year, has a new set of features that, according to the city, would make it the most sustainable office building in the United States.
The 14-story office project, known as 525 Golden Gate, is designed to consume 20% less energy than what is required by the California energy use code and will feature, amongst other things, integrated solar panels on the façade and roof, and solar panels installed on the shading devices. Large windows made from spectrally-tuned glazing materials will provide generous daylight to the interior, which was designed around a central core in order to maximize daylight penetration. Light shelves were added to the design to improve the light penetration.
As for the internal environment of the building, the design calls for a raised floor ventilation system and chilled ceilings- all individually controlled at each workstation for occupant control. Demountable partitions allow for changing building usages over time, while materials from the previous to-be-demolished building will be reused for the new construction. Furthermore, solar greenhouses have been included on every floor to improve the internal environment of the building.
And as if that wasn’t enough the project now includes wind turbines along part of the facade and roof to generate energy. Add waterless urinals and the reuse of recycled wastewater to the mix, and you get what seems to be a pretty impressive building that sets the bar higher than ever.
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