San Francisco ordinance requires energy efficiency audits for buildings

October 28, 2011

The city of San Francisco, California, has adopted an ordinance that would require the owners of commercial properties of at least 10,000-square-feet to conduct an energy audit every five years. This may lead to an increase in the number of energy efficient buildings in the city due to the annual performance benchmarks that now exist, according to Green Biz.

The news source reported that the 11 members of the San Francisco's Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the measure to help the city join the rest of the country in moving to energy efficient buildings.

"San Francisco needs to increase the energy and resource efficiency of existing buildings if we are going to meet our aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets," Mayor Edwin Lee said in a statement.

The city is part of the nationwide movement to reduce the energy consumption of commercial structures, as these buildings account for 40 percent of the total use in the country.

To spearhead this move, the Department of Energy developed a site, the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy-Efficient Buildings project (GPIC), to serve as the living laboratory for the design and development of energy efficient buildings and the associated technology for these structures.

Places like San Francisco may end up using products or designs that are developed at this site. The iconic West Coast city enacted a Climate Action Plan to help reduce the total emissions to pre-1990 levels by the end of 2012, according to Green Biz.

Though the plan is not something that requires immediate action, Barry Hooper of the Private Sector Green Building Program for the city noted that it would "dramatically [accelerate] energy efficiency."

One of the city's iconic buildings, the Transamerica Pyramid, recently improved its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification level, as the structure rose from a Gold to a Platinum award, Green Biz reported in a recent article.

Given by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the LEED certification is a symbol of a company's persistence in outfitting one of their buildings with energy consumption-lowering technology and designs.

"It's a continuous process … and no one person is responsible. It's everybody, from the owners to the janitors, the security guards, the managers and the consulting firm," Dan Geiger, executive director of the USGBC's Northern California Chapter, said at the award presentation. "This is recognition of their leadership."