KMD Architects Sustainable Design: Public Utilities Commission Building
San Francisco will soon be home to what is considered the most sustainable office building in the U.S.: The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Headquarters. The 12-story, 178 million dollar, 254,000 square foot tower will be located on Golden Gate Ave. near city hall.
“What will make the PUC building the most sustainable urban building in the United States is the combination of energy production on the building itself,” says David Hobstetter, the principal KMD Architect, “through the use of wind turbans, and solar panels, and combined with a super efficient envelop which will harvest daylight and minimize the energy demands of the occupants of the building.”
Energy efficiency, water recycling, and reduced carbon footprint are all key factors in the design.
“The energy efficiency features in this building include a variety of different measures. We have located a series of wind turbans on the building in a number of locations. We have incorporated solar PD cells also in a couple of locations on the top of the building and are actually embedded in the glass of the building itself. And then we have incorporated what we call ‘thermal chimneys’. Theses help the building to exhaust its own heat throughout the day. All of which add up to producing 40% of energy needed for the building on the building itself.”
“One of the most interesting things about the building is how we incorporated wind turbans on the building. Most people are familiar with the idea of wind turbans when they see them out in the landscape, but now really in the building. It is a very new technology. In our case, we actually use it as part of the architecture of the building, in the office on the north face of the building. (The wind turban) is shape to accelerate the wind, draws in and pass a vertical wind power, kind of a vertical air foil that helps to draw the wind accelerated and thus create a greater amount of energy.”
“The building itself generated 40% of the energy for the building and thus reduce the carbon foot print f the building. We exceed the local building codes by up to 60%.”
KMD is the recipient of over 200 prestigious designer awards, including 40 from the AIA–America Institute of Architects. Its distinct design has been completed in over 30 U.S. states and 15 countries around the world.
“What’s the shape that inspires my work as an architect is No.1 an appreciation, a celebration of urban context in a design to enhance the meaning of life through architecture that ties with sustainability and concerns about sustainability. We believe these two elements lead to greater meaning, greater health, and a higher level of human performances. ”
Our works reflect a real variety, and simply because each and every project in each and every location is significantly different. We believe that each project therefore should reflect its surrounding. ”
“Place making is an architectural term which means that one is striving to provide more meanings through architectural design, to articulate buildings or a set of buildings. And this can be very important because it is important, through architecture, to provide society additional meanings, inspire society to future. We achieve this by integrating the buildings with their physical settings, and making sure there is seamlessness to that, although the building also needs to stand out to reflect its special meaning. That is tied to a concern for environmental setting: the sun, wind, etc. to ensure that the building flows with those forces and does not fight them. ”
Creating a sense of space at San Francisco’s Public Utilities Commission Building entail many facets.
“Creating a sense of place for place-making is an important sense of what this building is all about. Through the demonstration of this building we provide what can be done with green strategies and energy generations, so and so forth. And by drawing people to it, to learn about it and view it, and to be intrigued by it, it will have transforming effects on this part of San Francisco, which is what the mission is all about.”
The building’s design will benefit the environment as well as the 1000+ employees it will house.
“It is important to respond to human needs. First, architectures have always respond to the basic human needs to shelter. We now have, at this point in history, the ability not only to respond to that basic need, but also to use architecture and building design as an vehicle to enhance human performances, increase human health, and a higher level of spirituality and a greater meaning to life. ”
“Human performances, well-being, the longevity and the usefulness of the building are the most important things about sustainability. We did significant benchmarking and research we as began this project to really understand why we could or couldn’t affect. Among the most significant factors are really the inclusion of natural light in the environment because people respond better to natural light, and therefore are much more productive. ”
The building was completed in the fall of 2009.
We are Urban Eco Group, a commercial general contractor in Atlanta, GA. We not only build new buildings but also perform facilities maintenance and management. We also specialize in green high performance solutions for building owners to save money on monthly building utility costs, while also improving public relations and the bottom line. Please contact us today for a free consultation or to engage us on your upcoming building project.
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