(KTSF by Jessie Liang)
San Francisco, CA – The new headquarters of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is one of the greenest building in North America. In addition to high efficient water conservation, the building also has high energy efficient and unique seismic safety features. All of these features will result in real taxpayer savings.
On the north facade of the building, the “Firefly” wall, made by tens of thousands of five-inch-square, clear-polycarbonate hinged panels can move in the wind freely like undulating waves. In the night, each tiny panel inward has a small embedded magnet connected to an electrical reed switch that triggers the flickering of tiny LED lights.
The SFPUC spokesman Tyrone Jue says, “If you lit up all these LED lights all together, it would take up the equivalent of a 75 watt light bulb. So it’s very energy efficient.”
The building is using renewable energy that is generated by four wind turbines and 691 solar panels. Two combines can provide 7% of the building’s energy needs. Artificial lighting can adjust automatically upon daylight to save energy. A state-of-the-art raised flooring system is easy for employees to control indoor air condition to reduce heating, cooling and ventilation energy costs by 51%. All of these features help to use 32% less energy than similar-sized buildings.
The SFPUC new headquarters is also one of the safest buildings in San Francisco because it’s taken the suspension bridge technology and applied it into the new building.
The San Francisco Department of Public Works senior project manager Brook Mebrahtu says, ” So in an event of …. a maximum incredible earthquake, the building will shake but it’s always centered itself.” Mebrahtu says the post tension systems can minimize the damage of the building and be available for occupants immediately after an earthquake.
Jue adds, “The combination of owning the building, the energy efficiency, the water conservation, all of that up will save our ratepayers 500 million dollars over a 100 year lifespan of this building.”
Mayor Ed Lee also says, “This building represents so much of the good things that we’ve always wanted.”
The SFPUC offers free public tours of the new office building. Since all July tours are full , people who are interested can check their website at sfwater.org/HQ for future public tour schedules .
(Copyright 2012 KTSF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)