San Francisco Environment Department

San Francisco’s Existing Buildings Ordinance

The Existing Buildings Energy Ordinance Applies To:

  • Non-residential buildings with 10,000 square feet or more of space that is heated or cooled
  • Multifamily residential buildings with 50,000 sq ft or more of space that is heated or cooled.


Energy Benchmarking - due annually on May 1

"Energy benchmarking" means measuring a building's energy use, and comparing it to the average for similar buildings in order to help identify waste and recognize changes over time. The ordinance requires each building owner to track energy use with US Environmental Protection Agency’s ‘ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager’ website, and report each year to San Francisco Environment Department.

How to Comply with San Francisco's Benchmarking Requirement
Get Help with Benchmarking

Energy Audit - required every 5 years for commercial buildings

Each owner of a non-residential building must ensure the building receives an energy audit by a qualified energy professional every five years. The professional must hold one of the qualifications approved by the Department of Environment, and must examine the entire building including tenant-occupied spaces. An audit provides specific, actionable recommendations to save money by saving energy in the building, as well as rebates that may be available.  


Renewable Electricity for Large Commercial Buildings - San Francisco requires commercial buildings of 50,000 square feet or more to obtain all electricity from 100% renewable sources. The easiest way to comply is by subscribing to: CleanPowerSF SuperGreenSFPUC Hetch Hetchy Power, or PG&E’s Solar Choice program. Direct Access electric service can comply.

Deadlines are based on the size of the building:

Commercial Building Size

Must Transition to
Renewable Electricity by
Documentation of Compliance
Will Be Due
500,000 gross sq ft
or greater

December 31, 2022

April 2023
250,000 gross sq ft
or greater

December 31, 2024

April 2025
50,000 gross sq ft
or greater

December 31, 2030

April 2031




Existing Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance graphic
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