S.F.'s 101 California nabs LEED platinum

The iconic 101 California office tower in San Francisco earned a LEED platinum designation.

The iconic 101 California office tower in San Francisco earned a LEED platinum designation.

The tenant roster at San Francisco’s 101 California St. is known for its white-shoe lawyers and investment bankers from the likes of Winston & Strawn LLP and Morgan Stanley.

But deep within the bowels of the 48-story, 1.25 million-square-foot building, a new group of tenants is winning accolades in its own right: the earthworms. Working in plastic composters, they are turning 101 Cal’s sandwich scraps into castings, which are then collected into large porous bags and steeped into a liquid blend. Gardeners then take this dark fertilizer brew and feed the plants and trees of the building’s spacious plaza and glass atrium, as well as other Hines-owned properties around town.

“It’s similar to brewing tea,” said Robert Dawes, who manages the property for Hines. “The plants love it.”

San Francisco office building owners love to tout environmentally sustainable aspects of their properties. Hardly a day goes by without an announcement from some property owner achieving some level of certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s various Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design programs. At 101 California St., however, Hines and partner NLI Properties West (a subsidiary of Nippon Life Insurance Co.) managed not only to win the highest platinum designation for existing buildings. They got the best score in the history of the program: 94 points out of a possible 100. That means that the building was deemed greener than 7,306 buildings worldwide that have won LEED certification under the existing building program.

Read more from the San Francisco Business Times here.

See a slideshow here of the building's greenest features.

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