San Francisco's historic landmark gets outfitted with energy efficient technology

November 30, 2012

Even a city's historic landmarks can get a green energy retrofit in order to increase the sustainability of the site. Sustainable Business claims that the Port of San Francisco's historic Pier 1 building is the first to leverage the city's new Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) bond financing program.

The intent of the bonds is to make funds available for sustainability initiatives throughout the greater region. According to the source, there are about $100 million in green bonds available to commercial building owners, which are intended to fund energy efficient upgrades to about 226 million square feet of property.

"Since buildings contribute 53 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in San Francisco, it is essential that we address inefficiencies in the built environment," says Melanie Nutter, director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment.

"Projects like this exemplify the successful combination of our policies and programs to both reduce emissions and help save businesses money. As more businesses take similar action, we'll continue to grow our economy while decreasing carbon emissions to help ward off the worst effects of climate change," said Nutter, according to the source.

With PACE, the improvement costs are spread out so that a commercial entity can pay the organization back over a period of time. For example, Pier 1's retrofit with solar panels and new energy-efficient light fixtures cost approximately $1.6 million and about 90 percent of the project was covered by PACE bonds. The low-interest funding options allow organizations to begin incorporating green energy technology into structures now – not later.

According to the source, the property management company Prologis, which runs the pier will save $98,000 annually thanks to the upgrades.

Established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as an Energy-Regional Innovation Cluster, the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) intends to promote the integration of green energy technology into commercial building design. The organization focuses on bringing sustainable solutions to Pennsylvania. Regionally exclusive green energy funding initiatives help make the improvements a community venture.

Other historical buildings that are used as a symbol of a community can be outfitted with energy efficient upgrades with the help of regional agencies.