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San Francisco Wins World Top Green City Award: Best City Policy for GreenBuilding!

12/06/11
U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced San Francisco as the recipient of the World Green Building Council's Government Leadership Award for Excellence in City Policy for Green Building. Announced at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-17) in Durban, South Africa, the award acknowledge international best practice in city-level government policy for green building initiatives and recognize green buildings as an important means to reduce carbon emissions. Winners were chosen by an expert panel of judges comprised of ICLEI International, UN HABITAT and the WorldGBC.

San Francisco’s Green Building Ordinance requirements together represent the strictest, most ambitious, most comprehensive policy approach to the built environment yet
undertaken by any city in the United States. All new construction projects of any size or occupancy must:
• Meet the California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen),
• Beat California’s Title 24 (2008) Energy Standards by a minimum of 15%,
• Meet stringent stormwater management standards, and
• Recycle at least 65% of construction and demolition debris, and provide for collection of recycling and compost from occupants in operation. Further, new commercial construction and alterations greater than 25,000 square feet (2,300 m2) must meet a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

Silver standard (rising to LEED Gold in 2012). New residential buildings must meet either LEED or California-based GreenPoint Rated standards. Certification
is not required, but projects committing to LEED Gold certification receive priority in permitting queues. All municipal projects are required to attain LEED Gold certification.
“San Francisco’s innovative and comprehensive green building policies are lasting investments in the environmental and economic future of our great city," said mayor Ed Lee, "The Green Building Ordinance employs San Francisco’s design talent, as well as technological and business innovations, to ensure that we meet the market
demands of the 21st century, protect the environment, and support the health and well being of our residents.”
The performance of existing building stock is addressed through requirements for annual public disclosure of energy labels, comprehensive energy audits every five
years for commercial buildings larger than 10,000 square feet (929 m2), water efficiency retrofits at time of sale, and mandatory recycling and composting. With a net present value of $612 million over the first ten years of implementation, energy savings from energy labeling, disclosure and audit requirements dramatically exceed
their costs. To assist private building owners with implementing the polices, the newly launched GreenFinanceSF PACE program offers $100m in financing capacity for
commercial energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water efficiency upgrades, with repayment collected through a property tax assessment. Energy efficiency and solar
energy rebate programs are also offered.
In San Francisco, the construction and operation of buildings are responsible for 56% of greenhouse gas emissions (with over half of those from existing commercial buildings). With a population of 800,000, the new construction requirements alone are anticipated to reduce CO 2e by 60,000 tons/ year, with an additional reduction 70,800 tons/year of CO 2e coming from requirements for existing commercial buildings.

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