Mechanical Engineering of a Commercial High-rise which Achieves Near-Net Zero Energy, Water, Waste and Emissions

Open Access
Rekstad, Nicholas Michael
Area of Honors:
Architectural Engineering
Bachelor of Architectural Engineering
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Moses Df Ling, Thesis Supervisor
  • Richard George Mistrick, Honors Advisor
  • net-zero
  • energy
  • water
  • waste
  • emissions
  • carbon
  • high-rise
  • efficient
  • sustainability
Faced with the design of a new commercial high-rise—350 Mission—in San Francisco, CA, it was desired that the building operate efficiently and effectively, while minimizing the energy, water, waste and emissions inherent in building operation. In order to design 350 Mission, four main goals were put in place in order to guide the building’s conception: 1. Achieve Near-Net Zero Energy, Water, Waste and Emissions 2. Design mechanical, plumbing and fire protection systems which maintain their performance and integrity after a design-level earthquake 3. Utilize Building Information Modeling software, processes and workflows to ensure the highest level of performance possible 4. Design mechanical systems which enhance the aesthetic and participative connectivity of 350 Mission with the surrounding urban ecology These goals were addressed through the use of Thermophilic Anaerobic Digestion in order to generate fuel from municipal sewage and food waste; leveraging Combined Cooling, Heating and Power in order to utilize the on-site renewable fuel; utilizing evaporative cooling in order to generate cooling water for radiant chilled ceiling panels throughout the office spaces in the building; and through utilizing an AquaCELL Water Reclamation System in order to reduce 350 Mission’s municipal potable water usage. Through the application of these technologies, as well as through the careful design of supplementary building services, a 100% reduction in building energy, an 84% reduction in potable water, a 95% reduction of building waste, and a 99% reduction in building emissions was achieved.