SAN FRANCISCO — PG&E’s major remodeling of its San Francisco Service Center Garage has earned the highest possible “green” rating – a first for the utility.
A Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Certification was awarded for the major remodel of the 145,000-square-foot San Francisco Service Center Garage at 2270 Folsom Street.
The building, constructed in 1929, is primarily used to house gas and electric service vehicles, with some office and shop space. It was recently remodeled with the goal to improve customer safety and cut costs, and was upgraded to a fully modern, fully “green” facility, earning the highest LEED level possible – a first for PG&E.
Driving the project was the need to make the building structurally sound in case of a seismic event — ensuring that PG&E first responders will be able to access their vehicles to address customer emergencies in a timely manner. In the process, the design team developed an innovative solution for the structural reinforcement which required 65 percent less material than traditional design, and reduced the use of energy and water, thereby lowering construction and operating costs. The project supports safe, reliable and affordable gas and electric service, while putting the environment at the forefront.
“Safe and reliable energy is PG&E’s top priority. During this remodel, not only did we meet those requirements, we worked toward a better environment from the inside out,” said Karen Cochran, PG&E’s sustainability lead for Corporate Real Estate Strategy and Services. “Since the 1970s, we have been committed to reducing our carbon footprint, and the footprint of our customers. The innovation of the project design team and LEED Platinum Certification represent PG&E’s ongoing dedication to energy efficiency and sustainability.”
Green features at facility include:
- A solar power array that produces 165,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually, protects parked vehicles and reduces the heat island effect of the parking lot.
- Seismic reinforcements that utilized a new design technique requiring 65 percent less material.
- Mechanical system upgrades that include new digital controls, energy efficient equipment, and outside air ventilation.
- Materials, including paint, adhesives, flooring, ceiling tiles, and countertops that emit low to no greenhouse gases.
- Water from a natural underground stream that is redirected to cool mechanical systems and flush toilets.
The project design team used creative techniques and solutions for environmental requirements, structural issues, and other challenges. For example, a natural underground aquifer and stream posed an ongoing challenge of managing basement level water. By redirecting the water to cool mechanical systems and flush toilets, an estimated 153,000 gallons of water will be saved annually – an 81 percent reduction in the amount of potable water used in the building.
As part of PG&E’s Environmental Sustainability program, the utility seeks LEED certification for all new construction and major building remodel projects. PG&E has earned 11 LEED certifications for facilities throughout Northern and Central California and is currently submitting its San Francisco headquarters complex for a LEED Gold Certification. Submitting this complex as an entire block is an innovative and precedent-setting approach within the LEED system.
LEED is a green building framework developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to offer third-party verification of sustainable and energy efficient construction and operation practices. Unveiled in 2000, LEED offers four levels of certification, the highest being Platinum.