Here’s some news that will appeal to both green building enthusiasts, park lovers, and greenthumbs: ZETA Communities, the net-zero energy, prefab green building firm behind Oakland’s Lancaster Net Zero Energy Live Townhomes, has built a super-efficient structure for the Presidio Stewardship Center in San Francisco.


The building, the Plant & Seed Lab, was showcased (photos below) at last week’s Urban Land Institute Expo and is the first green building to be completed as part of the new Presidio Stewardship Center campus. The Presidio, if you’re unfamiliar, is a sprawling, historic military base turned stunning park — complete with dense forests, beaches, a campsite, a golf course, restaurants, museums, an environmental learning center, and more — that’s part of the Golden Gate National Parks system. And the cool thing about the Presidio that sets it apart from most large, urban parks? You can actually live (or work) there in both historic and non-historic residences giving the park a self-contained city-within-a-city vibe. 




The LEED Platinum-exceeding Seed & Plant Lab was built as part of a partnership between ZETA Communities, the National Park Service, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and the Presidio Trust and took only four weeks to complete including the design, fabrication, and delivery processes. The precision-built, 1,040-square foot lab boasts an array of green features including cellulose insulation, a 3.6 kW photovoltaic system, low-flow water fixtures, a grey water system, an energy recovery ventilator, natural ventilation and lighting systems, and more.


The building itself will serve as a facility — replacing the current, well-loved but inefficient nursery — to treat, process, and sow the over one million native plant seeds collected each year at the Presidio. ZETA's structure will help boost production by 30 percent, greatly aiding in the effort to restore and enhance the over 300 acres of open space at the park. The lab will be permanently installed in January 2010 and coincide with the completion of new greenhouses. Other projects in the works include moving the shadehouses, constructing a new Nursery Stewardship Center, and installing a Living Machine waste water system.


Says Greg Moore, Executive Director of Golden Gate National Parks Conversancy in a press release:


The native plant and seed lab aims to drive awareness of the need for parks all over the country to make it a priority to implement practices and invest in projects that help preserve our national parks while conserving precious environmental resources.

Cool stuff ... the ideal marriage of green building and one of the nation's more impressive native plant restoration programs. Was anyone able to check out ZETA’s fantastic new prefab building at the Urban Land Institute Expo before it made the move to its final home at the Presidio?


Photos/Renderings: ZETA Communities; thumbail: sebypires


Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

San Francisco's truly green greenhouse
Net-zero energy builder ZETA Communities unveils a super green nursery, the Seed & Plant Lab, for the Presidio Stewardship Center.