With the new headquarters for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission as a backdrop, one city supervisor announced legislation this morning to encourage more new developments to adopt technology similar to the building’s innovative wastewater recycling system.
Board of Supervisors President David Chiu presented legislation that would provide a clear pathway to help new developments reduce water use by employing alternative water systems.
At the new SFPUC building, an onsite ecological wastewater treatment and reuse system known as the “Living Machine” allows the building to reclaim water from toilet flushing and reuse it for non-drinking purposes.
Lush plants lining the interior and exterior of the building sit atop basins filled with special gravel that promotes the development of micro-ecosystems that efficiently remove nutrients and solids from the wastewater.
The end result is the use of up to 60 percent less water than what is used for a similarly sized office building, according to SFPUC General Manager Ed Harrington, who said the technology allows the building to conserve “precious Hetch Hetchy tap water.”
Chiu said this morning that he has been fascinated by the green technology employed at the SFPUC building, especially the ecological filtration system.
“We want to see the rest of the world build buildings the green way,” Chiu said.
His proposed ordinance would allow San Francisco to expand water savings achieved under the city’s Green Building Ordinance by providing a clear regulatory pathway for developers to include on-site systems that collect, treat and reuse rainwater, among other conservation efforts.
“San Francisco is seen as a leader for the nation’s sustainable green building movement,” Chiu said. “We’re solidifying that standing by supporting and encouraging developers to build sustainable buildings that utilize only the most efficient water systems.”