California Academy of Sciences - Plumbing

Location: San Francisco, CA

Date: September 2008

The new headquarters for the California Academy of Sciences, located in Golden Gate Park, are unlike anything ever built before. With the goal of earning a rare Platinum LEED rating in mind, the new CA Academy of Sciences is designed to take environmental awareness to a whole new level. Several unique features in the building design, including a 2.5 acre living roof for which ACCO provided irrigation, are included to decrease energy consumption and minimize waste.


ACCO’s plumbing department was asked to provide some unique plumbing systems such as a reclaimed water system, a recharge chamber to collect rain for irrigation and a 10,000 gallon underground diesel storage tank.


Prior to the start of the project, the ACCO plumbing project team took advantage of their ability to visit other local facilities, such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, in order to better prepare themselves for the Academy of Sciences project and to gain a greater understanding of the specific needs and challenges of a project of this kind.

After reviewing what was planned for the project, ACCO was able to make several suggestions in order to improve the original design, such as stainless hangers and PVC coatings to prevent corrosion in the salty environment. The Life Safety Support equipment uses salt water from a beach pump plant located about a mile away on Ocean Beach. The beach plant was furnished and installed by ACCO.

Other recommendations made by ACCO took into account the aesthetic look desired by the facility’s designers. For example, ACCO took the original design of the stainless steel rainwater leaders and helped redesign and install them exceeding the expectations of the owner and taking the appearance of the building to a whole new level.


Architect: Renzo Piano Building Workshop/Chong Partners
General Contractor: Webcor Builders
Mechanical Engineer: Ove Arup
Plumbing Contractor: ACCO Engineered Systems

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