San Francisco Building to Raise the Bar on Sustainability

KMD Architects' 'green' design for Public Utilities Commission headquarters

set to exceed LEED Platinum, go off grid and minimize carbon footprint.

Jun 08, 2007, 01:00 ET from KMD Architects

    SAN FRANCISCO, June 8 /PRNewswire/ -- KMD Architects' design for a new
 12-story headquarters for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is
 expected to be a leader in demonstrating energy efficiency, water recycling
 and reduced carbon footprint among major office buildings nationally,
 according to P.U.C. officials.
     (Photo: )
     "What better organization than a major municipal power and water agency
 to create one of the most advanced buildings in green design in the U.S.,"
 said David Hobstetter, KMD principal.
     "Our intent from the beginning was to create the most energy-efficient
 office building developed in an urban setting in the United Statesto date,"
 said P.U.C. deputy general manager Anthony Irons. The $178 million,
 254,000-square foot headquarters will include features uncommon in
 buildings today, but "would be commonplace in years to come," he said.
 Officials say construction will be paid by selling surplus real estate
 holdings and by issuing bonds against future rent savings, not by funds
 from rate-paying customers.
     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 structure to supply 40 percent of its own energy needs, said
 Hobstetter. On windy, sunlit days, it will go off the power grid
     "The SF PUC headquarters is the type of well-proportioned, elegant
 project that reveals the next wave of thinking by designers and planners in
 which the building is seen as a component of its natural setting. The
 possibilities for innovation are limitless; just think of a city that
 regenerates rather than depletes its natural resources," said Lisa
 Sullivan, Director of Publications, "Places: Forum of Design for the Public
 Realm", a journal sponsored by a consortium of design schools including
 U.C.-Berkeley, the Pratt Institute and M.I.T.
     Planned to break ground at 525 Golden Gate Ave. near City Hall in 2008,
 the P.U.C. headquarters also employs advanced water-saving and water-
 recycling. Faucet sensors, waterless urinals, and on-demand water heaters
 will cut use to 5 gallons per occupant per day, compared to 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.
     While water and power efficiencies were the P.U.C's primary goals, the
 new headquarters will also employ leading-edge design concepts in enhancing
 human performance, said Hobstetter.
     "Dozens of research studies have confirmed the benefits of natural
 daylight and views of greenspace in improving a person's productivity,
 reducing absenteeism and improving health and well-being," said Hobstetter.
 "By utilizing sun-filtering shades, new window-glazing materials and other
 techniques, we were able to bring sunlight well inside the structure's
 interior work spaces."
     "Energy efficiency is one thing, it can be accomplished with smart
 technology; it is easily measured," said Ryan Stevens Design Principal at
 KMD. "We want to go one step further and provide a work space that will
 contribute to preserving the environment, foster interaction, creativity
 and productivity and also inspire the community."
     The building is designed to exceed LEEDs-Platinum, and will exceed
 California's recently-instituted Title 24 requirements for energy
 efficiency in new office buildings by 60 percent, he concluded.
     About KMD
     Since 1963, KMD (Kaplan McLaughlin Diaz) has combined innovation and
 creativity to provide exceptional healthcare, academic, commercial and
 corporate architectural services. With offices in Mexico City, Shanghai,
 Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and projects throughout
 the world, KMD believes that experimentation and investigation of
 interpersonal interaction with the built environment are central to their
 work as architects, planners and researchers.
     A leader in green building and sustainable design, KMD designs have
 been completed in over 30 US states, and 15 countries around the world
 including France, China, Japan, Korea, Spain, Germany, England and Mexico
 and have won over 200 design awards, including over forty from AIA
 (American Institute of Architects). The company's web site is at

SOURCE KMD Architects