The new San Diego City Center is on its way to be, what the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability labels it, one of the greenest buildings ever built on the West Coast. Gerding Edlen Development of Portland, Ore. proposes to transform it into an environmentally friendly city center. The $432 million project will seek to blend sustainability with development. Jetson Green reports its design to be beyond LEED Platinum, with the obvious focus on the water issue. City Center will also have the council chambers, some sustainably designed residential edifices, a fire station, a theater and some public gathering spaces.
‘State of the art’ design with some green specs:
The green design will certainly add about 5 percent to its entire cost. Accordingly, its green makeover will incorporate:
• Solar panels will be there to provide 8 percent of City Hall’s electricity. Gerding Edlen proposes to cover the 37,000 square feet of the roof area and side-facing sun shades with photovoltaic panels.
• The building complex would recycle as much waste water as the fresh water it uses. Gerding Edlen’s hypothesizes net-zero water use that recycles water. Water from the city’s sewers will be treated at the City Hall site. It can be used for non-drinking purposes there and the surplus will be pumped out for use elsewhere.
• The city center will make use of wind turbines and generate ample energy to supply it with 9,000 to 12,000 annual kilowatt-hours.
• Instead of traditional air conditioning, the building would be cooled by chilled water running through beams.
• Indoor lighting will be ensured via sun’s rays during the day.
• The buildings will have solar thermal panels for water heating. The designers will rely on the “heat island” effect that is so common in the urban areas.
Just the outlines, as of now:
What they’ve put together is very laudable and admirable, but it’s very light on detail. It just feels like they threw everything in here that they think might work. And, without doing the engineering and design, it’s a little meaningless.
Says Irene Stillings, Executive Director of the San Diego-based California Center for Sustainable Energy
Well, I fear that Irene may be right. It’s not advisable to praise what’s in production. One of the specs says that the city center will flaunt wind turbines, but these are site-specific and it’s not sure if they’ll work here.