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The American Institute of Architects and Mayor Newsom Partner to Select 'San Francisco's Greenest' Print E-mail
Thursday, 30 April 2009 05:16

Buildings exemplify excellence in sustainable design principles and reduced energy consumption

To celebrate San Francisco, the host city of the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) 2009 Convention, and its commitment to sustainable design, the AIA has partnered with Mayor Gavin Newsom to select San Francisco’s "greenest" buildings. The AIA San Francisco chapter and City representatives identified a cross-section of building types and uses that represent the diversity of green buildings in San Francisco. Mayor Newsom’s office will announce "San Francisco’s Greenest" today during a ceremony at the San Francisco Friends School, which is one of 10 buildings selected for the honor. On behalf of the Mayor’s office, John Rahaim, Director of the San Francisco Planning Department, will be joined by Catherine Hunter, Head of the San Francisco Friends School, and Christine McEntee, CEO of AIA.

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San Francisco’s Greenest program celebrates projects that make a positive contribution to their communities and reduce environmental impacts through strategies such as reuse of existing structures, energy and water conservation and the use of sustainable or renewable construction materials.  The announcement comes on the heels of Mayor Newsom’s signing of a groundbreaking green building ordinance to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in San Francisco.

“San Francisco continues to be at the forefront of the green building movement,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom. “These projects emphasize conservation and attempt to tackle the city’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 20 percent by 2012.”

The San Francisco’s Greenest list includes buildings that are certified by the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star Program. Signatures historic preservation projects that have built- in sustainability strategies through energy retrofits, procurement and the operations of the facility also have been selected.

Students from the San Francisco Friends School and the Wilderness Arts and Literacy Collaborative (WALC) have created sidewalk art representing and interpreting the AIA's “Walk the Walk” sustainable design initiative throughout the week. The “Walk the Walk” logo signifies the AIA’s mission of reducing fossil fuel consumption and achieving carbon neutrality.

“Collectively these buildings showcase exemplary sustainable design techniques that reduce the environmental impacts of buildings on human health and the natural environment, said Christine McEntee, Executive Vice President and CEO of the AIA. “We are pleased to partner with the Mayor’s office and honor these buildings for their commitment to green design and hope that existing structures and buildings under new construction follow in the footsteps of San Francisco’s Greenest.”

“San Francisco’s Greenest” (listed in alphabetical order):

355 Eleventh Street
Architects: Aidlin Darling Design
355 Eleventh is a LEED Gold candidate for its adaptive reuse of a Historic turn-of-the-century industrial building. It is the first project to rise through San Francisco’s new priority permitting process for green buildings and is on track to become the City’s first Gold-level LEED-NC building. The building features a ‘living roof’ garden, 30-kw solar panel system, natural air ventilation, bamboo flooring, radiant heating floors, bicycle parking and dedicated parking spots for alternative-fuel vehicles.

555 Mission Street
Architects: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and Heller Manus Architects
The 555 Mission Street building is San Francisco’s first LEED Gold-certified speculative high-rise development. To enhance energy efficiency and to reduce heat load on the building, the roof includes a reflective cap sheet. In addition, the landscaping is water-efficient and there are low-flow toilet fixtures and fittings. To reduce the project’s overall impact on the environment, more than 25 percent of products specified in the project are from recycled content including items ranging from structural steel, wood and concrete, to nails and studs used for framing, plus ceramic tile, wood paneling and most finishes. Additionally, the environmental impact was reduced by diverting 80 percent of waste that was generated during the building process to recycling and take-back centers.

California Academy of Science
Architects: Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Stantec
The California Academy of Sciences, which reopened on September 27, 2008 in its new quarters in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, is a showcase for green architecture and design, and the largest public LEED Platinum-rated building in the world. The new Academy consumes approximately 30-35 percent less energy than required by standard building code, and features a 2.5-acre living roof covered with native plants and wildflowers. By absorbing rainwater, the living roof will prevent up to 3.6 million gallons of runoff from carrying pollutants into the ecosystem each year. Building materials such as recycled steel and recycled blue jeans were used to construct and insulate the walls, and more than 90 percent of the demolition waste from the old Academy was recycled.

Forest Hill Clubhouse
Architects: Bernard Maybeck
Set in a lush garden under towering redwood trees the historic Forest Hill Clubhouse is the center of the Forest Hill community. Designed in 1919, by Bernard Maybeck, the clubhouse's exterior reflects the style of an English country home, and the interior opens up to a beamed cathedral ceiling which rises above natural redwood walls and a large fireplace. Green elements include thermal mass to mitigate temperature swings and large glazing areas to allow natural daylight.

La Casa Verde
Architects: John Lum Architecture Inc.
Livable and contemporary without being minimal, La Casa Verde features cutting-edge technology including: photovoltaic electrical generation, a wind turbine, gray-water system, "smart" computer-controlled house system, living roofs and ecological materials, yielding a self-sustaining house with zero-net energy usage.  La Casa Verde was created as the 2007 Sunset Idea Home. Additionally, the home designed by John Lum Architecture was used as a demonstration residential energy project for the City of San Francisco's Department of the Environment, as well as an exemplary home for the Pacific Coast Building Conference 2008.

New Resource Bank
Architects: hooks ASD
New Resource Bank is the first bank in California to have a LEED-Gold CI rating (GCI General Contractor). New Resource Bank is an innovative green commercial bank in San Francisco that is financing efficient and sustainable resources in its community. Since opening in 2006, New Resource Bank has pioneered new programs such as its solar lending program, its new solar CD program and has negotiated desirable funding strategies for community-based projects built to U.S. Green Building Council standards. Additionally, the bank works internally to reduce energy consumption and waste within its building and business. New Resource Bank is located in the Orrick Building, a winner of the 2009 BOMA awards for features such as under floor HVAC systems, motion sensor lighting, and 100% fresh air intake systems.

Orchard Garden Hotel
Architects: Architecture International
San Francisco’s first hotel to earn LEED certification, the Orchard Garden Hotel is only the third hotel in the U.S. and fourth hotel in the world with this honor. Inspired by the hotel’s 83-year-old owner, Mrs. S.C. Huang, the building is well insulated resulting in less energy use for heating and air-conditioning. Water faucets and toilets are ‘low-flow,’ while specially designed carpets from Bentley Prince Street include recycled content and have low chemical emissions. The hotel’s green practices also include chemical-free cleaning products, a 100 percent tobacco-free environment, recycled paper and soy-based inks, in-room recycling bins and the San Francisco debut of a guestroom key card energy control system.

Plaza Apartments
Architects: Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects & Paulett Taggart Architects, in Association
The Plaza Apartments is one of the first green affordable housing developments in the city providing permanent housing for the chronically homeless as a pilot project of Mayor Gavin Newsom and the Department of Public Health’s “Housing First” program. The efficiently designed nine-story building received LEED-Silver certification in 2007 and incorporates green elements that include, formaldehyde-free, low VOC paint and sealant cabinets, exterior panels made of recycled craft paper and solar panels that provide about 12 percent of the building’s energy needs. Additionally approximately 98 percent of construction waste was recycled and diverted from landfills.

San Francisco Friends School
Architects: Pfau Long Architecture with Page and Turnbull
The program for the San Francisco Friends School was to take the historic, all wood, Levi Strauss Building (originally built in 1906, after the earthquake) and transform it into a K-8 school. Aside from the removal and simplification of “un-historic” 1970’s windows and trellises, and ADA upgrades, the exterior of the building was to remain virtually unchanged. Inside, however, the space is transformed into classrooms, meeting rooms, faculty offices, a cafeteria, a library, a gymnasium with a stage and a reception area and student gallery. Sustainable design elements include, a thermal tower natural ventilation system, all wood construction, oversized columns and trusses, high ceilings, openness and natural light – all features which are in harmony with the school’s Quaker heritage.

UCSF Health Sciences West (HSW) Department of Pathology
Architects: The Design Partnership LLP
The newly renovated lab conserves both water and energy and was the first at UCSF to meet the sustainable building design and performance standards required for LEED certification. Partially funded by the National Institutes of Health, the $6 million project involved renovating an entire 11,000-square-foot lab in HSW and redesigning the research space for five principal investigators and more than 300 pieces of equipment. More importantly, the lab was designed by the mechanical engineer, Affiliated Engineers, with energy reduction in mind and has led to a 31 percent decrease in energy consumption and water consumption has been reduced by 29 percent.

In addition to announcing San Francisco’s Greenest, the AIA also will recognize its San Francisco chapter’s headquarters at 130 Sutter Street, which recently received LEED-CI Gold certification for their commitment to sustainable design and eco-friendly practices.

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