San Francisco Department of the Environment

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Why benchmark?

Energy use is the single largest controllable cost in building operations, and tracking energy performance is the critical first step. To manage, one must measure. The Existing Commercial Buildings Task Force recommended that all building owners and managers in San Francisco have a benchmark for their facility's energy performance, a proposal prepared by a professional laying out the cost-effective opportunities for improvement.

Energy efficiency helps San Francisco's economy by reducing operating costs, supporting jobs developing and deploying innovative technologies, conserving resources, and enhancing electricity reliability. By squeezing waste out of occupancy costs and making performance public, potential tenants will know that much of the city's building stock is among the most efficient in the world, and where cost-effective investments can be targeted.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions also helps improve electricity grid reliability, and helps San Francisco join other cities in meeting greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals to reduce the risks that climate change poses to coastal real estate and city infrastructure.  The operation, construction, and demolition of buildings accounts for about half of San Francisco’s greenhouse gas emissions. Commercial, industrial, and municipal buildings account for 60% of building-sector emissions. 

The intent of the Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance is to empower owners, managers, operators, and occupants with key information to control utility costs, and exactly how they will benefit from improving energy efficiency. The Annual Energy Benchmark Summary report is intended to encourage improvement in energy management, as well as sustained excellence.

Our home. Our city. Our planet.