Mayor Lee and Board President London Breed Introduce New Municipal Green Building Standards as San Francisco Reaches New Milestone

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Mayor’s Office of Communications, 415-554-6131

San Francisco, CA—Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Board of Supervisors President London Breed introduced new legislation updating the San Francisco Environment Code with new green building standards for all new municipal construction projects.

The legislation comes on the heels of San Francisco being named by CBRE Group, Inc. as the top market for Green Building in 2016 and reaching 7 million square feet of City-owned and operated Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certified properties -- an increase from 4 million square feet in 2014. The City’s municipal real estate portfolio, which is comprised of properties such as San Francisco International Airport, Laguna Honda Hospital, and City Hall, now includes 50 certified projects that meet LEED’s rigorous sustainability standards for energy efficiency, green design and resource conservation.

“Our municipal buildings are some of San Francisco’s most treasured and well-used spaces, and now, I am proud to say that they are some of our greenest spaces too,” said Mayor Ed Lee.  “Designing and constructing more sustainable buildings is not only the right thing to do for our environment, but it is smart planning. With these updates to our Environment Code, our municipal green buildings will be higher-performing and more cost-effective to operate for years to come.”

“San Francisco’s green building policies have made us a leader, locally and nationally, in designing municipal buildings that are state of the art and resource efficient,” said London Breed, President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. “This legislation builds on that success and will help further reduce greenhouse gas emissions while providing healthy, productive places for City employees and members of the public.”

The proposed legislation updates the San Francisco Environment Code to bring municipal green building code into compliance with new state law and LEED version 4. It also includes new studies to explore achieving Zero Net Energy (ZEN) in new municipal construction by 2030 – a goal that has been set by the state – and identifying potential sites for solar and storage capacity to increase resiliency in case of a disaster or emergency.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) that provides independent verification of a building’s green features and promotes the design, construction and maintenance of resource-efficient buildings. The city’s 7 million square feet of LEED certified properties, equivalent to almost 13 Transamerica Pyramids, includes nine LEED Platinum projects. Recent LEED Gold certifications of San Francisco International Airport’s Terminal 3 renovation (387,000 sq. ft) and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (538,280 sq. ft) puts the City’s municipal green building portfolio at one of the largest in the nation.

“Because of San Francisco’s municipal green building requirements and the committed collaboration of our City agency partners, we have been LEED-certifying roughly one million square feet of City property each year,” said Debbie Raphael, Director of the San Francisco Department of Environment. “At this rate and with these proposed updates to our Environment Code, San Francisco is expected to achieve a total of 12 million square feet of LEED certified municipal properties within the next five years.”

“San Francisco has been a leader in green building since USGBC’s founding more than 23 years ago,” said USGBC Founding Chair and CEO Rick Fedrizzi. “With every new LEED-certified building, the green building movement is proactively responding to the most-important challenges of our time, including global climate change, dependence on non-sustainable and expensive sources of energy and threats to human health. With leadership at the city level, as demonstrated by the extraordinary commitment of San Francisco, we are getting one step closer to achieving a sustainable global built environment within a generation.”

The City, which first established municipal green building requirements by ordinance in 1999, has required LEED Silver certification since 2004 and LEED Gold certification since 2011. Notable among these certifications are Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, California’s first LEED certified hospital; the California Academy of Sciences, the world’s largest double-LEED Platinum building, SFO Terminal 2 the first LEED Gold airport terminal in the United States; and San Francisco City Hall, the oldest building the in the United States to achieve LEED Platinum for Operations & Maintenance.

San Francisco's municipal experience has informed the adoption of LEED standards in the San Francisco Building Code for private sector development.  Green buildings have achieved extraordinary city-wide market penetration in San Francisco with more than 100 million square feet of space earning LEED certification to date.  In 2011, San Francisco was awarded “Best Green Building Policy” by the World Green Building Council, and ranked the No. 1 market for green development in North America in the Better Bricks/Cushman & Wakefield Green Building Opportunity Index.

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