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San Francisco

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Two Steam Plants and a Revolutionary Water Recovery System in San Francisco’s Commercial Core

Cordia San Francisco supplies energy-efficient and environmentally sound district heating services to buildings in a 2-square-mile area of the central business district of San Francisco, California.

Cordia San Francisco’s two downtown plants produce steam and pipe it to approximately 180 customers for space heating, domestic hot water, air conditioning, and industrial process use. The system serves a total of more than 37 million square feet of space in the city’s commercial core. Located at 460 Jessie St. and 1 Meacham Pl., both plants use boilers fueled by natural gas as their primary fuel with #2 diesel as a backup fuel. The system’s CHP equipment generates 500 kW of electricity, essentially making the plant energy self-sufficient.

Water Reclamation Project

Our water reclamation project required collaboration between the City of San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), the local subway operator, and Cordia to recover over 30 million gallons of groundwater per year. The water is transported from the Powell Street Station to the Cordia plant via a newly installed underground pipeline, then treated to boiler-grade levels of purity — a much higher standard than regular drinking water. Groundwater treated for boiler makeup water is a complicated and expensive proposition. For the new system to be successful, it needed multiple steps of purification to remove trash, dirt, biologicals, minerals, and chemicals. It also required the use of an advanced front-end filtration plant, which integrates with the existing water softening equipment at Cordia, and a new and innovative reverse osmosis (RO) treatment system.

Cordia financed the project on the balance sheet and self-performed the construction of the overall system. This project reduced Cordia San Francisco’s domestic water use by 30%.

Tariffs & Regulations

System Profile

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System Type

District Energy – Steam

Total Capacity

420,000 lbs/hr steam, 500 kW electricity (for plant loads only)


71,540-ft steam distribution system

Notable Customers

  • Bank of America World Headquarters
  • Union Square Hilton
  • Moscone Convention Center
  • San Francisco City Hall
  • Golden Gate Theatre
  • Market Center
  • Standard Oil Building

Contact Us

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  • Cordia San Francisco
    14 Mint Street, Suite 200
    San Francisco, CA 94103

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Other Networks

Each of our systems is optimized to serve its end users’ needs and move closer toward their goals.