Mayor Newsom Breaks Ground on First 100% Off-Grid Building in San Francisco

Environmental education facility - EcoCenter - opens at Heron's Head Park.

by / April 24, 2008

Mayor Gavin Newsom was joined today by city and state officials, community leaders, residents and youth to celebrate the groundbreaking for the EcoCenter at Heron's Head Park, a landmark youth education facility and environmental initiative in Bayview Hunters Point. The EcoCenter is the first building in San Francisco entirely "off the grid", boasting cutting-edge features that set a new standard for green building.

"The EcoCenter at Heron's Head Park places San Francisco on the cutting-edge of green building," said Mayor Newsom. "It embodies my vision for San Francisco-a global 'eco-city' at the forefront of urban environmental commitment. By bringing off-grid designs to an urban environment like the Bayview, we are working to redefine what a 21st century city can be."

The first building in San Francisco's Southeast sector to be LEED certified by the US Green Building Council, the EcoCenter's innovative features include:

  • o Solar panels and a wind tribune to meet all electricity demands of the building.
    o Wastewater treatment that utilizes a series of wetland cells and ultraviolet sterilization lamps to treat wastewater and recycle treated water for landscape irrigation.
    o Green "living roof" to reduce building needs for heating and cooling, provide retention of storm water on site for reuse, and encourage wildlife habitat.
    o Structurally Insulated Panels to provide high-energy efficiency and strength in the walls and roof as well as seismic support and fire resistance.
    o Native landscaping to promote water conservation, the elimination of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and encourage education around native plant propagation.
    o Fixtures constructed from reusable material, and non-toxic and sustainably produced paint and finishing.

"With this groundbreaking ceremony, we are taking a major step toward bringing a beacon of environmental justice and education to a community that sorely needs it," said Milton Reynolds, Board Chair of Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ), the non-profit project leader. "Thanks to our partners and community supporters, this initiative will place San Francisco at the forefront of urban environmental commitment."