San Francisco Environment Code Chapter 30 (Ordinance 220-19) requires large commercial buildings to obtain all electricity from 100% renewable sources.
The easiest way to comply is by subscribing to:
Direct Access electric service can comply, provided the service meets the definition of Greenhouse gas-free or renewable energy resources as defined in Environment Code Section 3002.
Applicability and Timing
The ordinance applies to commercial buildings, meaning buildings that are primarily composed of non-residential occupancies A, B, E, I-1, I-2, I-3, M, R-1, and S. All buildings affected by the 100% Renewable Electricity Ordinance are already required to annually disclose building energy use to the Department of Environment under the Existing Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance (EBO). Deadlines are based on the size of the building:
|Commercial Building Size
Must Transition to
Renewable Electricity by
Documentation of Compliance
Will Be Due
sq ft or greater
|December 31, 2022
sq ft or greater
|December 31, 2024
sq ft or greater
|December 31, 2030
San Francisco’s goal is to achieve zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from large buildings by 2035. Nine percent of commercial buildings in San Francisco are larger than 50,000 square feet, and they account for 73% of commercial building electricity use.
100% Renewable Electricity is available today from the grid at no capital cost, simply by signing up.
To support emission reduction and transition to renewable energy, San Francisco requires large commercial buildings to switch to renewable electricity.
How to Document Compliance
For convenience, documentation will rely as much as possible on existing procedures for benchmarking and disclosure. The Department of Environment is developing compliance reporting instructions consistent with Environment Department regulations adopted December 16, 2022. Reporting procedures will be piloted on a voluntary basis in 2023, in advance of the first round of mandatory reporting in 2024.
Implementing Regulations (adopted December 16, 2022)
Frequently Requested Information
How can I comply?
No capital investment is necessary. 100% renewable electricity is available to any electricity customer in San Francisco, via the electric grid by enrolling in one of the programs linked above. On-site solar PV is not required.
Does the ordinance apply to tenants?
Yes, the ordinance applies to all electricity use in each applicable building, including tenants’ meters. For each meter where a tenant directly pays a utility for electric service, the tenant is responsible for enrolling in a compliant program supplying 100% renewable electricity, and for confirming to the building owner that the tenant meter has complied. Owners are required to:
- Each year and at time of lease renewal, notify tenants of the requirements of Environment Code Chapter 30, if any tenants are directly responsible for the cost of utility service.
- Confirm to the Environment Department that all electric meters serving a covered building are in compliance, OR
- Report to the Environment Department that separately metered tenants have not confirmed enrollment in a compliant service, and provide contact information.
Can I comply by purchasing Renewable Energy Credits (or similar)?
No, the ordinance requires GHG-free or renewable electricity to be generated from sources that both minimize carbon emissions and contribute. to the stability of the electric grid that serves California. Therefore, the Renewable Electricity Requirement can be satisfied one of three ways: Enroll in a retail electric supply program providing GHG-free or renewable energy (e.g. simply enroll in one of the services listed above), purchase renewable electricity from a Direct Access Provider regulated by the CPUC, or generate renewable energy on-site.
Can Direct Access customers comply?
Direct Access sourced from qualified 100% renewable generation can comply. See implementing regulations; simplified instructions consistent with these regulations will be provided in Q1 2023.
Does the ordinance affect existing contracts?
Contracts executed prior to December 31, 2019 are exempt during the term of the contract.
Is electricity produced from gas-fired cogeneration exempt?
The ordinance applies to all electricity use by covered buildings. Electricity generated from combustion of natural gas is not renewable, so does not comply. However, cogeneration equipment leased or purchased prior to December 31, 2019 is exempt. Building owners will be required to document any cogeneration devices serving the building, and to affirm the owner is aware it is the goal of the City and County of San Francisco to require zero onsite fossil fuel emissions from existing large commercial buildings by 2035.
Does the ordinance apply to multifamily or mixed-use residential buildings?
No, multifamily and mixed-use residential of any size, and commercial buildings of less than 50,000 square feet in gross floor area are not subject to the 100% Renewable Electricity Ordinance. However, 100% renewable electricity is available to everyone in San Francisco and any building can subscribe to these services.
|June 13, 2022
|Public workshop to review draft regulations
Draft Regulations (June 13 - 1st draft)
Ordinance No. 220-19 (2019) Adopting San Francisco Environment Code Chapter 30
|September 9, 2022
Revised draft regulation posted
Public comments requested within 21 calendar days
Draft Regulations (September 9, 2022 - CURRENT DRAFT)
|September 30, 2022
End of public comment period
Comments submitted after this point may or may not be addressed.
|October 26, 2022
|Public hearing considering adoption of regulation
|December 16, 2022
|December 31, 2022
|Compliance deadline for commercial buildings 500,000 gross sq. ft. or greater
|January 1 - December 31, 2023
|First compliance period for commercial buildings 500,000 gross sq. ft. or greater
|April 1, 2024
|Reporting deadline for commercial buildings 500,000 gross sq. ft. or greater