First 100% Off-Grid Green Building in San Francisco

May 9, 2008

kids-center.jpgIn San Francisco, some well financed and publicized condo projects like the Arterra spend big marketing dollars to push its LEED – NC status (wonder why they didn’t shoot for LEED on its other project the Hayes?) while the EcoCenter at Heron’s Head Park LEED certified facility opened in relative obscurity.

This landmark youth education facility and environmental center sits smack in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood right next to the former PG & E power plant. Of all the areas in SF this area truly needs the Green building support. We’re psyched to report that the EcoCenter marks the first 100% off-grid green building in San Francisco, and boasts features that set the bar high for green building.

Some of the condo and office developers should take a look at this baby with its solar panels and a wind tribune that will meet all electricity demands of the building, not to mention the wastewater treatment system that utilizes a series of wetland cells and ultraviolet sterilization lamps to treat wastewater and recycle treated water for landscape irrigation, as well as the Green living roof that will reduce building needs for heating and cooling, provide retention of storm water on site for reuse, and encourage wildlife habitat.

Those of you more into the engineering will appreciate the Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPs) that will provide high-energy efficiency and strength in the walls and roof as well as seismic support and fire resistance. We couldn’t be happier to see how they used native landscaping (what no lawn?) to conserve water, eliminate synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and encourage education around native plant propagation. Really, is that so hard?

The EcoCenter, designed by Toby Long Design and Clever Homes, and built by the LORAX Development team, came to fruition with funding by various grants from SF Environment, the Coastal Conservancy, and numerous foundations, including the Stewardship Council, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, the Live Oak Fund of Horizons Foundation, Mitchell Kapor Foundation, Walter & Elise Haas Fund and Flora Family Foundation.

Even more impressive than the grant list or the green building attributes remains the fact that it will bring Green awareness to an area sorely lacking in education about the environment. Visitors and local youth can learn about clean air and water, safe energy, healthy food, non-toxic homes and schools, open space restoration, and equitable education and employment.

Now that’s something to publicize.