Why Save Energy?

San Francisco is meeting the challenge of climate change with leading policies, programs, and partnerships, all of which are designed to make energy efficiency and renewable energy easier and more affordable. With actions taken towards the installation of energy efficient equipment and clean energy, San Francisco becomes a cleaner, healthier and more secure city.  

Pursuing energy efficiency for your building allows building owners to save money and operating costs, minimize energy waste, and lower your building's environmental impact. 



Existing Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance

Benchmarking is the process of tracking a building’s energy use, so you know how its performance compares to similar properties and understand how it’s performing over time. Each year you must send SF Environment an “Annual Energy Benchmark Summary” to prove you’ve benchmarked your building. 

The intent of the Existing Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance is to help the local market maximize energy efficiency in San Francisco by empowering owners, managers, operators, and occupants with the key information to control utility costs, and to know exactly how they will benefit by improving energy efficiency. The ordinance applies to commercial buildings 10,000 square feet and larger, and residential buildings 50,000 square feet and larger.  

Commercial Lighting Ordinance

San Francisco's Commercial Lighting Efficiency Ordinance required that by December 2011 fluorescent lamps and ballast systems in commercial buildings be upgraded to output at least 81 lumens per watt of electricity consumed, and meet a mercury content standard: no more than 5 mg mercury per 4-foot linear fluorescent lamp, and no more than 10 mg of mercury per 8-foot linear fluorescent lamp. Usually this requirement is satisfied by upgrading to LED lamps. Read more about this ordinance here.

Commercial Water Conservation Ordinance

In order to protect natural resources, address the increase in water demand, and cut greenhouse gas emissions through reduced water use, San Francisco enacted an ordinance that required all commercial property owners to provide certain water conservation measures for their facilities by 2017. The building was required to be inspected, retrofitted and have a Certificate of Compliance on file with the Department of Building inspection. Read more about this ordinance here.


San Francisco Environment Code Chapter 30 (Ordinance 220-19)

This ordinance requires large commercial buildings to obtain all electricity from 100% renewable sources. 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. 

This requirement is driven by San Francisco’s goal to achieve zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from large buildings by 2035. Although only 9% of commercial buildings in San Francisco are larger than 50,000 square feet, they account for the majority (73%) of commercial building energy use, thus signaling that this is an important subset of the building stocks to focus on. 




Visit the links below for details on incentive programs in San Francisco. If you still have questions, please reach out to the Department using the contact information below.