San Francisco Adopts High Efficiency Standards for Municipal Buildings

(June 30, 2004)

Millions in Savings, Increased Productivity Expected

San Francisco – San Francisco is moving forward with construction standards that will save the City millions in operational costs. The recently adopted Green Building Ordinance, set to take effect in September, will require applicable new city construction projects, renovations, and/or building additions to follow green building design principles–helping to increase energy efficiency, promote the environment, and increase employee productivity.

"This Green Building Ordinance will translate into millions in savings on future operational costs on new construction. The ordinance is good for the City and will help improve the health of our environment and the thousands of employees that continue to provide services for this community," explains Jared Blumenfeld, director of SF Environment. "This City leads by example and together we can hope this will encourage the private sector to adopt similar building measures."

The Green Building Ordinance, sponsored by Supervisor Tom Ammiano, requires that all, city-owned facilities and leaseholds will need to achieve at least a LEED‚Ñ¢ Silver certification. LEED‚Ñ¢ is the green building rating system of the US Green Building Council; the acronym stands for "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design." The buildings are rated on a four-step scale from lowest to highest: LEED Certified, LEED Silver, LEED Gold, and LEED Platinum. LEED‚Ñ¢ criteria evaluate a building's environmental and energy efficiency performance from a "whole building" perspective, over the course of a building's lifecycle, which provides a definitive standard for what constitutes a green building.

Green buildings are designed, constructed, renovated and operated in an environmentally- friendly manner. Resource-efficient buildings exhibit a high level of environmental, economic and engineering performance. In order for a building to qualify as green, they are analyzed under six categories: site consideration and its closeness to public transportation, water efficiency and the management of water consumption, distribution, treatment, and storage, energy and atmosphere including alternate energy sources such as energy from solar panels, materials and resources from recycled products, indoor air quality including the use of high quality cleaning and painting materials, and innovation and design.

Laguna Honda Hospital is adding a 1200 bed rehabilitation healthcare facility. The design shows that the new facility will use thirty percent less energy then the code requires, which is estimated to help save the City more than $7 million over the course of the first ten years. At least 75% of all construction and demolition debris will be recovered or recycled from this new addition. Residents of the facility will also have access to natural lighting and ventilation and views of the 62-acre forest that surrounds the facility.

California Academy of Sciences is rebuilding to be among the largest natural history museums and research center located in Golden Gate Park. The museum is registered with the US Green Building Council and is projected for the highest rating, LEED Platinum. The 370,000 square feet facility will highlight sustainable features including an environmentally friendly roof–one that will capture and reclaim millions gallons of rainwater from becoming storm run-off, floor to ceiling glass walls that will suffuse public spaces in natural light and integrate the interior space with environment of the park, solar panels, and many other benefits that maximize the areas natural resources.

There are huge advantages in having adequate indoor air quality for employers. Corporate productivity studies show natural lighting and ventilation in the office can improve employee productivity by as much as sixteen percent. These employee productivity gains include a decrease in absenteeism, improvements in the quality of work, enhance comfort and health, a reduction in liability, and minimization in turnovers and workers compensation claims.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the construction and operation of conventional buildings uses 35% of all energy the nations consumes, and are responsible for 35% of the material that goes to landfill. In addition, conventional buildings use 30% of wood and other raw materials, and contribute to 35% of the carbon dioxide produced nationwide.


Gloria Chan, 355-3733