Green Economy Center Proposal
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The central goal in developing a mixed-use (residential/commercial) building at 1950 Mission Street in San Francisco, is to create a new kind of educational institution that houses teachers in affordable green housing, and also creates public space that educates and mobilizes the public around sustainability (energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean-tech, organic urban agriculture, green community development).
The bottom floor GreenMart commercial space will feature all the most cutting-edge green goods and services, with sales revenue supporting the educational components of the building. Currently, the Bay Area does not have a one-stop-shopping location for all the most up-to-date green products in one place.
This is the balanced model of enterprise and education that we have pioneered in event form (GreenFestivals.org) for ten years in six cities, including San Francisco where this building is being planned on an empty lot owned by the school district. The relationships we have built with hundreds of green companies, hundreds of excellent authors/speakers, and millions of customers will form the market basis of this institution's success.
This real estate prototype will be replicable in many cities that have (1) vacant land owned by the city or school district, (2) a need to attract and retain good teachers, and (3) the need for a green economy center. The model provides a convergence platform for uniting all the best organizations, generating new ideas from the synergy of technologies that are now in silos. Plus, teaching teachers about these crucial issues has a great social multiplier effect, spreading green wisdom to the generation that will be running the world when environmental challenges will be much greater than they are today.
Feed-in tariffs are coming to California soon, so by designing the building as a super- efficient conserver and generator of power, rather than just a consumer of power, the building itself can generate profit. Money generated from feed-in tariffs will be dedicated to a college scholarship fund for low-income youth of the neighborhood who are interested in pursuing a career in Green Energy. The building will put more energy back into the grid than it takes out by integrating a mix of the following:
- An Eco-Gym in which all the rowing machines, stationary bicycles, arm cranks, etc., generate electricity into the building;
- Eco-Playground in which the see-saws generate electricity, and the merry-go-round pumps water up into a storage tank on the roof, that feeds a drip irrigation system for food crops growing on the terraces and in the large, south-facing courtyard;
- Excess water from the rooftop water tank will fall through mini-hydro generators that will power flat panel displays in public areas explaining all these systems and highlighting the companies that provided the equipment;
- Recharging stations will be located in the garage for electric vehicles;
- The building will maximize day-lighting and will feature the most efficient windows and lighting throughout the residential and commercial portions of the building;
- The dance floor in the entertainment space will feature under-floor LED lights that light up from the pressure of feet;
- The building will bristle with innovative wind and solar harvesting;
- Fuel cell technology will store energy and provide educational opportunities for the many public tours of the building;
- We will build and operate a large teaching farm in the courtyard and terraces, with the food purchased by the food court of the building;
- We will compost all biomass and food scraps generated on the site for use on the buildings many gardens, thus closing the circle of biological energy;
- The co-generation plant in the basement will bio-remediate the building's grey water and black water, trapping methane that will be used to power generators;
- All appliances will be Energy Star, and other energy consuming devices (e.g., elevators, automatic window blinds) will be the most efficient available;
- State-of-the-art ventilation and motion sensors for lights and fans will ensure the highest levels of fresh air circulation, thermal comfort, and energy efficiency;
- Through ground-sourced heat exchange, and heat recovery systems in the building, we will maximize thermal efficiency and reduce energy costs;
- Advanced data tracking will integrate building performance and community development results from our many educational/outreach programs, which will add to our body of knowledge for advancing collaboration among public agencies, private sector and non-profit organizations (the data will help make this prototype building replicable in other cities);
Communities need education and training regarding sustainability. As our natural resource base continues to be degraded, capital, policies and jobs are shifting in a green direction. This creates enterprise opportunities and career track possibilities for inner city residents. Teachers provide the best social multiplier for green education, so making green education available to large numbers of teachers, right where they live, will achieve widespread social impact.
The 1950 Mission Street project is a mixed-use real estate model that will synergize the following elements:
- Affordable green housing mainly for teachers, but also first responders (police, firefighters, EMTs), and leaders of CBOs (community-based organizations) in the neighborhood;
- Offices of the San Francisco Department of the Environment, green enterprises, and nonprofit organizations focused on green neighborhood development;
- A GreenMart eco-mall featuring the major product lines of the green economy where students and teachers can learn enterprise skills and generate revenue for neighborhood development projects;
- A food court—featuring locally grown organic food, including food grown on-site in the courtyard gardens—where students and teachers will learn about nutrition and its relationship to agriculture;
- A Green Enterprise Incubator where clean-tech start-ups can collaborate and launch new green enterprises to create green jobs in the neighborhood (see Appendix One);
- The Green Guardians service learning program developing green curriculum and participatory community development strategies (see Appendix Two);
- Event and meeting venues for lectures, conferences, musical performances, film screenings, poetry slams, and training programs
The young generation now in our school system will be forced to deal with environmental calamities that we can hardly imagine. But that dire situation also presents opportunities for green technology and business models that break with our nature- destroying ways of the past. As natural resources get depleted, the profitability of conserving and restoring nature will rise steadily.
By housing teachers in a green energy center with an abundance of green programming, we will equip them for training the leaders of tomorrow. Strategically located on a mass transit hub, 1950 Mission Street will be first and foremost an educational institution, introducing the tenants and the general public to the most cutting edge clean-tech innovations for sustainability. By providing teachers with affordable housing, we will help the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) attract and retain talented educators who might otherwise shun our expensive city. This building will become a model for other neighborhoods and other cities.