"To build environmentally responsible homes with renewable materials, energy efficient systems, and smart technologies..."

The EcoCenter at Heron's Head Park

The first environmental education facility in southeast San Francisco and the first 100% “off-grid” building, modeling solar power and alternative wastewater technologies. Nearly every feature of this 1,500-square-foot facility will be innovative and used to educate the public about renewable energy, pollution and greenhouse gas reduction, wastewater treatment, “green” building materials, and the green economy. Technologies will include:

• Eco Machine wastewater treatment. This series of wetland cells and ultraviolet sterilization lamps will treat wastewater and recycle treated water for landscape irrigation.
• A Green Living Roof to reduce building needs for heating and cooling, provide retention of stormwater on site for reuse, reduce heat island effect of building on site, and encourage wildlife habitat.
• Solar panels and wind turbine to meet all electricity demands of the building.
• Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPs) that provide high energy efficiency and strength in the walls and roof as well as seismic support and fire resistance.
• Native landscaping to help promote water conservation, the elimination of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and encourage education around native plant propagation.

More than 400 high school students provided input throughout the design and siting of the EcoCenter. Over the course of the coming year, community workdays will be used to install the native landscape, living roof, and community-created art, with every phase and feature intended to engage or teach the public.

The EcoCenter will offer a full menu of hands-on programs focusing on Ecology, Society, and Well Being: clean air and water, safe energy, healthy food, non-toxic homes and schools, open space restoration, and equitable education and employment. LEJ Youth Interns will serve as resident naturalists and docents.

Designed by Toby Long Design, the EcoCenter is a collaborative project between Literacy for Environmental Justice, the Port of San Francisco, San Francisco Environment, and the California Coastal Conservancy. Built by LORAX Development.

* source LEJ website: www.lejyouth.org/ecocenter/eco.html