San Francisco Sets LEED Record

June 22, 2015

City Hall’s Platinum achievement highlights the potential of existing buildings.

At a century old, San Francisco’s historic City Hall recently became the oldest building in the U.S. to receive Platinum certification for LEED for Existing Buildings. The award underscores the potential for existing buildings to slash water and energy consumption, says EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

Thanks to the 100% greenhouse gas-free electricity provided by the local utility’s Hetch Hetchy Power System, City Hall already boasted considerable green bona fides before pursuing LEED-EB. However, the city aimed high to ensure the building was as resource-efficient as possible, particularly as California is entering its fourth year of drought. A $700,000 grant from the EPA covered the replacement of 76 toilets and 17 urinals, while additional operational and energy efficiency upgrades were funded by ratepayers.

Other improvements included:

  • Replacing 200 faucets that used 7 gallons per minute with 0.5 gpm models. The water efficiency upgrades together save roughly 825,000 gallons of drinking water per year.
  • Installing a daylight management system to reduce electric lighting when enough natural light is available.
  • Reconfiguring the first-floor HVAC systems to monitor temperature and CO2 levels and adjust fresh air circulation depending on occupancy.

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