The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has opened the doors of its new, ultra-green headquarters in downtown San Francisco that has been touted as 'the greenest urban office building in North America.'
Called 525 Golden Gate, the 13-story structure is certified LEED Platinum with over 270,000 square feet of office space for over 900 employees. The $146 million project was a partnership between the SFPUC, SF Department of Works, Webcor Builders and KMD|Stevens, JV.
An integrated hybrid solar array and wind turbine installation generates up to seven percent of the building's energy needs, with the rest supplied by a nearby greenhouse gas-free reservoir. A raised flooring system provides connections for the buildings technological infrastructure as well as ventilation channels, reducing overall heating and cooling costs by as much as 51 percent. Extensive use of recycled materials and green concrete also add the project's sustainability factor.
The building also incorporates one of the nation's first on-site gray and black water treatment facilities, with a 'Living Machine' reclaims and treats wastewater to provide 100 percent of the building's low-level toilet and urinal needs. While normal office buildings have individual water usage rates of up to 12 gallons per day, 525 Golden Gate's hovers around 5 gallons. Up to 250,000 gallons of water can be stored annually via the building's rainwater harvesting system for use in irrigation.
The structure is also fitted with cutting-edge post tension systems that allow the entire building to absorb energy and movement from inevitable earthquakes in the region. The project's organizers say the building will save an estimated $3.7 billion over the building's lifetime, and ultimately represents a smart investment not only in SFPUC's future, but also the lives of current and future San Franciscans.