San Francisco Department of the Environment

San Francisco’s Existing Buildings Ordinance


In response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID -19), the City and County of San Francisco is following the Shelter-In-Place Order issued by the Public Health Department directing residents to stay home and requiring the closure of non-essential businesses to prevent the spread of the virus. In recognition that the Shelter-In-Place may pose significant challenges to comply with the Existing Buildings Ordinance, the grace period for submission of 2019 Annual Energy Benchmark Summaries and Confirmations of Energy Audit has been extended to July 1, 2020. As a practical matter, this action extends the due date for all outstanding submittals to July 1, 2020. While the City and County of San Francisco has closed public access to all non-essential facilities, the Existing Buildings Ordinance Helpdesk continues to operate remotely. We remain available to answer questions and provide technical support by phone or email and will continue to review submittals in the order they are received.

San Francisco’s Existing Buildings Ordinance applies to existing non-residential buildings with 10,000 square feet or more of space that is heated or cooled and existing multifamily residential buildings with 50,000 sq ft or more of space that is heated or cooled. The Ordinance has two separate requirements:

Energy Benchmarking - due annually on April 1*

The building owner must report the total amount of energy that the building uses every year using the US Environmental Protection Agency’s free ‘ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager’ website. This process is called "energy benchmarking," and the benchmark report must be submitted to the San Francisco Department of the Environment through the Portfolio Manager by April 1st each year.

*Note: Benchmarking for residential buildings is due July 1 in 2019, and April 1 every year thereafter.

Energy Audit - required every 5 years for nonresidential buildings

The non-residential building owner must ensure the non-residential 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. The audit provides the building owner with a list of specific opportunities to save money and save energy in the building, as well as any rebates that may be available.  

For more information, please send your questions to [email protected] or contact us by phone at (415) 355-3750.


Overview of Existing Buildings Energy Ordinance (PDF)

Existing Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance Report Dataset (SF OpenData)

SF EBO Visualization courtesy of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory City Building Energy Saver Project 


Existing Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance graphic