A sneak peak at San Francisco's new low-carbon neighborhood

By District Energy posted 06-01-2020 15:08


Smart Cities Dive


San Francisco's waterfront is home to a number of iconic attractions like the Ferry Building, Ghirardelli Square and Fisherman’s Wharf. It's also home to a lesser-known, 300-foot "stack" that has stood watch over the waterfront for decades.

The towering structure once belonged to the Potrero Power Station, built in 1901, and was responsible for providing one-third of the city's power until its closure in 2011. Today, the city plans to breathe new life into the industrial site by creating a 29-acre sustainable community in its place.

The project was conceived with walkability and efficient transportation as key design elements, according to Geeti Silwal, an urban planner at Perkins and Will who was also behind the design of San Francisco's car-free Market Street. ​And after three years of planning and more than 170 public meetings, the project received unanimous approval from the city's Board of Supervisors in April.

The Potrero Power Station Mixed-Use Project (PPS)​ was intentionally designed to include walkable blocks for a low-carbon community that is less dependent on cars, according to Silwal. The site will include pedestrian and cyclist connections between open spaces, the waterfront and multi-use trails.

All buildings will be required to meet Gold or better LEEDv4 certifications, and the project may even build shared thermal energy plants. The plants would recover waste heat from commercial buildings for space heating and domestic hot water in residential buildings, helping to cut down on the site’s energy and water use. 

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