From SFEnvironment.orgThis August, Mayor Newsom signed San Francisco's groundbreaking green building ordinance that imposes strict new green building requirements on newly constructed residential and commercial buildings, and renovations to existing buildings. The ordinance specifically requires newly constructed commercial buildings over 5,000 sq ft, residential buildings over 75 feet in height, and renovations on buildings over 25,000 sq ft to be subject to an unprecedented level of LEED and green building certifications, which makes San Francisco the city with the most stringent green building requirements in the nation. "If we want to get serious about addressing the root causes of global warming, then let's draw down the empty rhetoric and start taking concrete actions," said Mayor Newsom. "A lot of people don't realize that their homes and businesses create a significant portion of our carbon footprint, so today, by signing these strict green building standards into law, we're saying enough is enough. Let's end the stale promises, emphasize conservation, and tackle climate change on all fronts." Mayor Newsom speaks at EcoCity World Summit 2007, a must watch:
The City's Climate Action Plan found that energy use in buildings and facilities is responsible for approximately 50 percent of San Francisco's greenhouse gas emissions. In 1990, San Francisco's energy use resulted in a total of approximately 4.5 million tons of CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere, making green building a critical component in the fight against climate change. Some of the significant cumulative benefits this ordinance is expected to achieve through 2012 are: reducing CO2 emissions by 60,000 tons, saving 220,000 megawatt hours of power, saving 100 million gallons of drinking water, reducing waste and storm water by 90 million gallons of water, reducing construction and demolition waste by 700 million pounds, increasing the valuations of recycled materials by $200 million, reducing automobile trips by 540,000, and increasing green power generation by 37,000 megawatt hours. This ordinance also continues San Francisco's efforts to reduce the City's greenhouse gas emissions to 20 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2012, a goal outlined in the City's 2004 Climate Action Plan. In addition, by reducing San Francisco's emissions, this ordinance also furthers the State's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide as mandated by the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. In 2007, Mayor Gavin Newsom established a Task Force on Green Buildings for the City comprised of ten members from San Francisco's ownership, developer, financial, architectural, engineering, and construction community. The mission of the Task Force was to advise and recommend to the City's policy makers: mandates, incentives, education, and outreach in order to increase the number and improve the quality of green buildings in San Francisco, and to assess the impacts of the Task Force's recommendations. The Task Force issued its Report and recommendations in June 2007. This legislation is based upon the Task Force's findings.