Mayor Introduces LEED Gold for Municipal Buildings

(July 19, 2011)

Mayor Edwin M. Lee today introduced legislation at the Board of Supervisors updating the Municipal Green Building Code to require U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification for all municipal construction and major renovation projects over 5,000 square feet after September 1, 2011. Currently, only LEED Silver certification is required for municipal buildings, while LEED Gold is required for private sector buildings starting in 2012. This legislation updates green building standards for municipal construction projects that will secure San Francisco's place as a national leader in resource efficient building.

"Now that we have developed high standards for new construction and existing commercial buildings, it is time to turn our attention to municipal building practices," said Mayor Lee. "This legislation will make City departments pursue LEED Gold certification ahead of the schedule currently required for the private sector. San Francisco once again is leading by example."

"San Francisco was just named the Greenest City in North America in a study by Siemens and the Economist Intelligence Unit, and its legislation like LEED Gold for municipal buildings that keeps us at the forefront," said Environment Department Director Melanie Nutter. "Not only is this legislation good for the environment, it helps support the building and energy efficiency component of our burgeoning green economy."

San Francisco already has the most stringent standards for new commercial and residential construction, requiring U.S. Green Building Council'xs LEED Gold certification by 2012, as well as legislation requiring the owners of existing commercial buildings to benchmark energy use and conduct regular energy efficiency audits.

The LEED Gold requirement for municipal projects puts San Francisco in the company of only nine other municipalities in the country with this high standard for new construction. San Francisco is one of only three jurisdictions in the country that require LEED Gold certification for major renovations, and the only jurisdiction that places LEED requirements on City leaseholds.

Other provisions of the proposed ordinance include date-certain retrofit requirements for energy-efficient lighting and high-efficiency toilets, urinals and showerheads in City facilities. New and renovated City buildings will reduce energy use by at least 15 percent and reduce water use by at least 30 percent compared to conventional buildings. Many City projects will exceed these levels with commensurate resource and dollar savings to the City.

San Francisco currently has 52 municipal projects seeking LEED certification including three museums, two hospitals, 10 branch libraries, five recreation centers, a new office building, and an airport terminal totaling nearly six million square feet, at a value of over $3 billion.