No Fooling, April 1 is Deadline for SF Buildings to Rate Energy Use

Hundreds of large commercial building owners across San Francisco are gearing up to rate their property’s energy use by April 1st 2012 to comply with San Francisco’s Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance aimed at helping owners lower energy use and costs.

The effort is part of an innovative program launched by the San Francisco Department of the Environment (SF Environment) last year to give property owners and tenants unprecedented insight into the types of energy-efficiency strategies that are most effective at reducing costs.

“Knowledge is power, and benchmarking your commercial building is a necessity in today’s market. BOMA San Francisco believes responsible building owners want to understand their energy consumption. That’s why BOMA helped craft and remains supportive of this ordinance. Making buildings more energy efficient lowers costs and helps the environment. The Building Owners and Managers Association has supported benchmarking our industry’s operating expenses for over 80 years.”- Ken Cleaveland, Vice President, Public Policy San Francisco Building Owners and Managers Association

To comply, buildings must describe their facility and its energy use in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager (,) a free online tool provided by the US EPA. Early compliers say that documenting building energy use helps them identify energy-saving improvements that increase property value and competitiveness in this tough real estate market. Participants in the program say rating their buildings is easy and some report that obtaining information on their energy use has already helped them cut costs.

“Reducing energy costs is the best way to increase operating income and appeal to future tenants, investors and owners. Your competition is benchmarking and auditing; not doing so puts you at a competitive disadvantage.”– Blake Peterson, Senior Property Manager, Orrick Building

“Knowing current performance is the starting point to find ways to improve a building's energy efficiency. To improve, you need to know where you are at.” - Steven Ring, Northern California City Leader, Cushman & Wakefield

Properties that have already rated their energy use are now being featured on They include such well known buildings as the Embarcadero Center, Transamerica Pyramid, 101 California, the Intercontinental Hotel, as well as historic landmarks like the Russ Building and the Ferry Building

"Displaying San Francisco's benchmarking information is a critical step towards transparency in the built environment. San Francisco is empowering citizens to make informed decisions about the buildings they occupy."- Riggs Kubiak, CEO of

The ordinance took effect last October for buildings 50,000 sq. ft. and above, and will apply to buildings 25,000 sq. ft. and above starting April 1st 2012, and will extend down to 10,000 sq ft in 2013.

Buildings account for more than half of local greenhouse gas emissions, yet many owners don’t know how well or poorly their buildings use energy and could be unknowingly wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars each month paying unnecessarily high energy bills.

It’s easy to get started. Numerous energy efficiency companies offer benchmarking, audits, and building tune-ups to cut energy costs. Or you can use Portfolio Manager in-house with the help of a free step-by-step benchmarking workshop at the Pacific Energy Center ( PG&E offers a free Automated Benchmark Service ( which can automatically upload each month’s utility bill to ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

Equipped with information, building owners have many resources to help them reel in energy use and costs, such as SF Environment’s GreenFinance SF (  and SF Energy Watch ( programs, as well as rebates from PG&E.

”We can only manage what we measure. To improve our environment and our economy SF Environment is engaging with every stakeholder in commercial buildings across the city. We are combining actionable information, rebates, financing, and the wealth of local professional expertise to accelerate the transformation of our built environment.” – Melanie Nutter, Director, Department of Environment      

San Francisco is one of the first cities in the U.S. to take this innovative approach to help owners and consumers stop energy waste and save money in the process. San Francisco is the first city in the nation to reveal publicly which buildings have and have not complied. Cities with similar ordinances that plan to reveal compliance rates and building energy use information publicly are New York City and Washington D.C.




Note to Editors: For photos and profiles of buildings that have already complied with the ordinance, please contact Friday Apaliski, SF Department of the Environment: 415-355-3788 or



Blake Peterson

Sr. Property Manager

Langley Investment Properties

405 Howard St, Suite 416, San Francisco, CA 94105

(415) 495-8181


Steven Ring

City Lead/Regional Managing Director

Cushman & Wakefield

One Maritime Plaza San Francisco, CA 94111

(415) 658-3667 Direct


Ken Cleaveland

Vice President, Public Policy

Building Owners and Managers Association of San Francisco

Address San Francisco, CA 941XX

(415) 362-2662 x111 - Desk

(415) 828-7676 Mobile