Thursday, November 3, 2011
Think of a movie opening with an aerial shot of a city. The location isn’t obvious – boxy glass buildings, serpentine streets – until the camera pans across an unmistakable skyscraper pointing heavenward.
“The pyramid comes into view and you know exactly where you are,” Barry Giles says. “This is the architectural icon of the West Coast.”
As it approaches its 40th birthday, San Francisco’s iconic Transamerica Pyramid has scored LEED Platinum certification under the guidance of Giles’ Seaside-based consulting firm, BuildingWise.
Giles served on the U.S. Green Building Council committee that launched the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system for existing buildings, or LEED-EB, in 2003. Transamerica Pyramid Properties first retained BuildingWise in 2007 and achieved LEED Gold status two years later.
That effort included an onsite, 1.1-megawatt, gas-fired cogeneration facility that provides most of the pyramid’s cooling, heating and power. The cogen boosted the building’s Energy Star score from 77 to a near-perfect 98, putting it in the top 2 percent of energy-efficient buildings in the nation.
“That was the number-one reason to help them get up the ladder to platinum,” says Transamerica spokeswoman Nancy Green.
The LEED Platinum certification, announced Oct. 27, also reflects a 70 percent recycling rate; a 20 percent water use reduction; greener construction materials and other eco upgrades.
“The plaque’s just a piece of glass,” Giles says. “It’s what’s connected to it that’s important.”