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Building for energy efficiency, water recycling, and reduced carbon footprint

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) to demonstrate energy efficiency, water recycling, and reduced carbon footprint

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KMD Architects' Demonstrates Energy Efficiency, Water Recycling and Reduced Carbon Footprint in Office Building

KMD Architects' design for a new 12-story headquarters for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is expected to be a leader in demonstrating energy efficiency, water recycling, and reduced carbon footprint among major office buildings nationally, according to PUC officials.

Dozens of wind turbines on the roof, solar panels embedded in outer walls, and a natural-cooling "thermal chimney" are among the features enabling the $178 million, 254,000 square foot structure to supply 40 percent of its own energy needs. On windy, sunlit days, it is designed to go off the power grid completely.

Planned to break ground at 525 Golden Gate Ave. near City Hall in 2008, the PUC headquarters will also employ advanced water-saving and water-recycling features. Faucet sensors, waterless urinals, and on-demand water heaters are designed to cut use to 5 gallons per occupant per day, compared to the average office building use of 25 gallons a day. A grey-water wastewater recycling system enables reuse of water from faucets and sinks in the building's toilets and the cooling system.

Design for Human Performance and Productivity

While water and power efficiencies were the PUC's primary goals, the new headquarters will also employ leading-edge design concepts for enhancing human performance. The building will utilize sun-filtering shades, new window-glazing materials, and other techniques to bring the benefits of natural daylight and views of greenspace that are have been shown to improve employee productivity and well-being.

According to KMD, the building is designed to exceed LEED Platinum requirements, and to exceed California's recently-instituted Title 24 requirements for energy efficiency in new office buildings by 60 percent.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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