The glass-clad, 13-story headquarters of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission that overlooks Civic Center from Golden Gate Avenue, completed in 2012 and touted as the greenest urban office building in North America, has fallen short of some expectations according to a new memo detailing its various issues. Because utility ratepayers largely footed the bill for the ambitious $200 million structure, complete with its own wind turbines and wastewater treatment infrastructure, SFPUC commissioner Anson Moran says, "We owe it to the people who paid for these projects to do a more complete report."
That was during a meeting in October which, as the Examiner reports, set the new memo into motion which will now be presented at the SFPUC's meeting on Tuesday.
It details how, exactly, a number of the most experimental green-building projects in the tower haven't worked out as hoped. First off, those wind turbines affixed to the front facade, which failed to produce much wind energy and have since been decommissioned as a result.
Also, that wastewater treatment process happening onsite led to "noxious fumes" that then needed to be dealt with through "adjustments." That wastewater or "gray water" usage for irrigation and other uses has helped the building save some 2.3 million gallons of potable water in the past three years, so that's been somewhat of a success.
Photovoltaic panels on the building have reportedly met energy needs, but a new cooling system had to be installed because the room where that energy was "inverted" became too hot. And, apparently, per the Ex's look at the memo, "the company that installed the inverter room has gone bankrupt, making replacement parts unattainable." Also, the company that installed the wind turbines has, similarly, also filed for bankruptcy.