SAN FRANCISO, CA, JULY 25, 2012—It’s not easy being green, according to a famous frog. Harder still is getting green if you didn’t start out that way.
The recently renovated Boys & Girls Clubs of San Franciso Mission Clubhouse is one of those animals.
The Mission Clubhouse, part of Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (BGCSF), was originally built in 1928, long before the words “sustainable” and “LEED” had sprouted in the cultural lexicon. Reopened in 2010—after a complete redesign, seismic upgrade and renovation of the Mission-style structure thanks to an $8M investment from the Club’s capital campaign—the building today is one of the greenest in San Francisco, having recently achieved LEED EBOM (existing building: operations and maintenance) Gold Certification.
Relatively speaking, it’s simpler to design a highly energy efficient building from the ground up. That way, you can take advantage of proper building siting and positioning, for example, which greatly enhance a building’s energy performance and also contribute to its LEED point total. Achieving LEED EBOM can be more difficult, as many of the elements that contribute to a LEED rating are out of the project team’s control. The Mission Clubhouse team, however, was able to achieve LEED EBOM Gold by streamlining operations and maximizing resource efficiency.
Taking advantage of the opportunity to use the structure as a model of social, environmental, and economic responsibility for the community, BGCSF worked closely with the architect (Tom Eliot Fisch), builder and engineers to deliver an extremely efficient building. “We really wanted this building to speak to our values,” says BGCSF President Rob Connolly. “That meant creating a Clubhouse that was inspiring, educational and cost-efficient, along with having a very small carbon footprint. We want local businesses to look at our operations and follow our lead.”
Transforming the circa 1928 Clubhouse on the corner of Alabama and 21st streets in the Mission District of San Francisco included the renovation of the historic two-story building on the corner and the demolition and rebuilding of the old gymnasium behind it. The new Mission Clubhouse contains 14,000 sq. ft. of new space, including a gym, teen center, learning center, multimedia center, art studio, multipurpose room and administrative offices.
Now in operation for 21 months, the Mission Clubhouse is using nearly 75 percent less electricity through solar panels, a radiant heating system in the floors of both the historic wood building and new concrete structure, and abundant use of day-lighting throughout.
“We looked at the operations of the building and realized the structure was actually approaching net-zero electricity status,” says Matt Macko of Environmental Building Strategies, hired to take the building through the LEED EBOM certification process. “While the building has limited solar access, preventing it from becoming a net-zero electricity building, it was designed and constructed extremely well, making the LEED EBOM process easier.”
While the new Mission Clubhouse is saving BGCSF money in lower operational costs, it is also better serving the youth who use the building. The vastly improved lighting, ventilation and overall indoor environmental quality have created a healthy, vibrant space that the kids not only use but respect. “Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco has created something different than other communal spaces,” says Macko. “It feels good when you walk in there. It’s a good, clean, environmentally friendly place with a great purpose.”
Founded in 1950, Nibbi Brothers is a builder of technically complex urban projects whose singular objective is getting the job done right. It’s a philosophy that guides every action on every Nibbi project. By relentlessly focusing on the right goals, the right people and the right approach, we help our clients find the best solutions to their project needs. Nibbi’s primary market sectors include commercial, community-based, education, mixed-use and multi-family, seismic/historic and waterfront. We currently are building the new Exploratorium @ Pier 15 ($140M), which is targeting LEED Gold, with possible Platinum, and is striving to become the first net-zero energy (NZE) museum in the world.