Innovation Month, with a Green Twist

SFPUC's new headquarters has a curvature channeling wind past vertical turbines.

Mayor Lee has declared October as Innovation Month in San Francisco. The declaration is both a celebration and a call to action to highlight the City’s need to further embrace technology and catalyze greater job creation, community engagement, and government efficiency through innovation.

Innovation and cleantech

With San Francisco’s designation as Cleantech Capital of America, clean technology is a critical component of our city’s innovative future.

Cleantech refers to a diverse range of technology products, services, and processes that provide high performance at lower costs, greatly reduce or eliminate negative ecological impacts, and improve the productive and responsible use of natural resources. Examples include clean transportation, clean energy, energy efficiency, water treatment, and recycling.

Cleantech creates quality jobs in San Francisco

San Francisco has over 50,000 cleantech jobs and is home to 208 cleantech companies and cleantech investors, making it one of the largest cleantech powerhouses in the world. The estimated median wage in San Francisco's clean economy is $59,856. This is 8 percent higher than the average salary in San Francisco.

You can get involved with cleantech!

The rise of the sharing economy means it's easier than ever for San Francisco residents to use clean technology. 

San Francisco has a slew of transportation methods for residents to get around town using clean technology, including electric vehicle options like City Car Share, Zipcar, DriveNow, and Scoot Networks. Various third-party mobile transportation apps are available for finding a carpool, taxi, or public transportation route in San Francisco. If you own or plan on renting an EV, search for the nearest charging station near you!

Get involved with cleantech and design innovation by attending the upcoming Urban Prototyping Street Festival on Saturday, October 20 from noon to 10pm at 5th Street and Mission. The event, which is free and open to the public, will turn three blocks of downtown San Francisco into a living laboratory of urban experiments. The exposition will demonstrate how citizens can re-imagine public space through creative applications of design and technology.

You can even build cleantech into the city’s budget! Between now and 2040, $64 billion dollars will be available to support San Francisco transportation, and the San Francisco County Transportation Authority wants your opinion on how best to spend it. Can you think of a way in which we can further build cleantech into our transportation system? To create and submit your own investment plan, visit

Another way to share your ideas is through the Office of Innovation’s ImproveSF initiative, which challenges people to find ways to share their energy data to create programs to make San Francisco greener.

Cleantech makes San Francisco’s government more efficient

San Francisco’s public transit system uses clean technology in the form of rail and trolley cars that are powered off of 100% renewable energy from Hetch Hetchy. The city also uses diesel coaches that run off of biodiesel (B-20). These clean modes of transportation comprise 90% of the city’s fuel use for transportation. San Francisco’s vehicle fleet includes 15 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, and that number will double in the coming year. Additionally, the city has 152 Neighborhood Electric Vehicles, which are the smaller vehicles used for non-highway purposes.

The city has also taken measures to incorporate cleantech into its buildings- the new San Francisco Public Utilities Commission headquarters has solar and wind installed.

Finally, the City’s Office of Innovation is seeking out ways to merge innovation and cleantech. For example, the office is participating in the upcoming Greenbiz Hackathon that will ask designers, developers, and energy stakeholders to design new ideas for environmental and energy related issues.

More information
Mayor Lee Proclaims October 2012 as Innovation Month
Cleantech Group Recognizes San Francisco as “Cleantech Capital of North America”
San Francisco Goes Electric!