San Francisco City Hall in California. Bess Adler / Thornton Tomasetti.
When the 100-year-old San Francisco City Hall gained LEED EB:OM Platinum certification in May 2015, it became the oldest building in the United States to achieve that distinction. Its certification is the culmination of energy and water efficiency retrofits spearheaded by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC). Prior to the renovation, City Hall was already one of the greenest, most sustainable historic buildings in the country. Our staff worked with the project team to manage the LEED certification process, providing sustainability strategy recommendations to the design team, tracking compliance with LEED during design and construction and reviewing and submitting documentation to the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI).
Strategies and Solutions
We facilitated an in-depth analysis and field survey to identify areas that would not meet resource efficiency goals, including water, energy and construction materials. The results of this analysis led us to recommend a retro-commissioning effort to reduce the building’s energy use. We also identified specific hurdles to pursuing LEED certification, such as the need to separate building steam meters for district-supplied steam. We also worked with the commissioning agent, kW Engineering, and the SFPUC to identify which items had the best return on investment and determine which should be implemented.
Achieving Platinum Results
The changes made as a result of our energy analysis and commissioning recommendations resulted in overall energy efficiency improvements that will reduce consumption by 20 percent. The most significant changes were made to the HVAC systems, which alone will save 293,598 kWh of electricity per year. Switching to low-flow and flush fixtures has dramatically increased water efficiency: it will save 825,000 gallons per year.
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