Find out about San Francisco programs that help you save money and operating costs for your commercial property.

Ahorre dinero y costos de operación, reduzca al mínimo el derroche de energía y reduzca el impacto ambiental de su inmueble.

Llame a la Línea Directa de Energía de Medio Ambiente de SF al (415) 355-3769 para obtener información sobre incentivos económicos para mejoras de eficiencia energética o energía renovable, opciones de financiamiento, y los requisitos.



¿Por qué ahorrar energía?

San Francisco está enfrentando el desafío del cambio climático con políticas, programas y alianzas, que están diseñadas para hacer que sea más fácil y asequible lograr la eficiencia energética y usar energía renovable. Al ejecutar medidas que conduzcan a la instalación de equipo eficiente y al uso de energía limpia, San Francisco se convertirá en una ciudad más limpia, saludable y segura. 


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.  

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. 

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.


There are many other financing options to make high value energy improvements that can save money and enhance property values. 

Unsecured financing provided by specialized financial institutions (and often marketed by partner energy contractors) require review and approval based on the personal credit of the borrower and other factors.  Secured financing options, like a home equity line of credit or second mortgages, use the property or other assets as collateral for the lender. Secured financing often leads to lower interest.  It’s important to review all available options and understand the relative benefits and risks before making a financing decision.  

Some available financing options include:  

  • On bill financing: Business owners served by PG&E (including customers of CleanPowerSF) can receive "on bill financing", which can provide up to $4 million per premise at 0% interest to fund energy saving equipment including heat pumps. The business pays the funds back with a level, amortized charge on their normal bill. Projects are designed to generate savings and corresponding financing payments that match pre-retrofit utility bill charges. 
  • Energy Service Agreements (ESAs): ESAs closely resemble solar power purchase agreements, where a private entity finances, installs, owns, and maintains certain energy installations, and through special agreements with the owner, receives payments set at or below their pre-retrofit utility costs.  This unique structure makes it possible to finance deeper retrofits at minimal liability to the property owner, and may allow for favorable accounting treatment. 
  • Go Green: Discover a range of home loan & financing options for homes and businesses in California at Go Green Financing 

Contact SF Environment at (415) 355-3700 for information on financial incentives for energy efficiency or renewable energy upgrades, financing options, and requirements.