S.F. Ordinance Targets New Buildings, Renovations

San Francisco's mayor recently signed the city's groundbreaking green building ordinance that imposes strict requirements on newly constructed residential and commercial buildings and renovations to existing buildings, according to an Aug. 4 press release.

The ordinance specifically requires newly constructed commercial buildings over 5,000 square feet, residential buildings over 75 feet in height, and renovations on buildings over 25,000 square feet to be subject to an unprecedented level of Leadership in Engineering and Environmental Design (LEED) and green building certifications.

"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 Gavin Newsom. "A lot of people don't realize that their homes and businesses create a significant portion of our carbon footprint, so 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."

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 carbon dioxide emissions released into the atmosphere, making green building a critical component in the fight against climate change.

The ordinance 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 its 2004 Climate Action Plan.

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