It’s not easy being green, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) discovered when it set out to build a new headquarters.

According to a San Francisco Chronicle article, the SFPUC had to scale back on dreams of making the building generate as much as 40 percent of its own power.

Still, the new $146.5 million building – officially unveiled by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee on Wednesday – offers many impressive eco features including wind turbines.

Along with a solar array, the turbines can generate up to 227,000 kilowatt hours per year or seven percent of the building’s energy needs, the city says.

In addition:

• A state-of-the-art raised flooring system incorporates the building’s data and ventilation infrastructure and reduces heating, cooling and ventilation energy costs by 51%.
• Maximizing daylight harvesting and minimizing artificial lighting saves electricity.
• Lighting and work station equipment shutoff automatically after-hours.

The building will also consume 60 percent less water than “similarly sized” buildings. How?

• One of the first buildings in the nation with treatment of gray and black water.
• An onsite “Living Machine” reclaims and treats all of the building’s wastewater to satisfy 100% of the demand for the building’s low-flow toilets and urinals.
• The Living Machine(r), technology by Living Machine Systems, L3C, treats 5,000 gallons of wastewater per day, and helps reduce per person water consumption from 12 gallons (norm) to 5 gallons.
• The building’s rainwater harvesting system can store up to 250,000 gallons of water per year for use by the exterior irrigations systems.

In addition, the city says, the building used a “green” concrete mixture that releases less carbon gasses.

As a final ecological measure, the building offers only four parking spaces. That will force more than 900 occupants to either take public transportation or burn even more carbon fuels while circling the city’s crowded streets in search of someplace to leave their unwelcome cars.

For detailed specs, visit the SFPUC website.

San Francisco PUC Building Touted as Ultra Green 20 June,2012Laird Harrison

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