Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mayor introduces ecofriendly bill

Wednesday, August 11, 2010
San Francisco already has some of the nation's toughest green building standards for new construction. On Tuesday, Mayor Gavin Newsom introduced legislation aimed at making existing commercial buildings as ecofriendly as possible.

The legislation submitted to the Board of Supervisors would require the owners of large commercial buildings to conduct an energy-efficiency audit every five years and to supply annual updates - all of which would be available in a public database.

The audits would include a list of steps that would improve energy efficiency, like installing solar panels or sealing windows better, Newsom said. The reports would also include an estimate of energy savings from those steps, the cost of implementing them and their economic value. Property owners would have to supply that information to tenants.
Newsom likened the audits to fuel-efficiency ratings listed on cars at an auto dealership.

"Not everyone loves it, but I think it will be among the most aggressive standards I know of in any city in America," Newsom said. Similar programs exist in Berkeley, Sonoma County, Palm Desert (Riverside County) and Boulder, Colo.

The local branch of the Building Owners and Managers Association, a commercial real estate industry advocacy group, supports the legislation, though there are still skeptics in the business community, the mayor said.

There are exemptions for buildings less than 5 years old, those with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification and others.

If approved, the legislation would set a staggered, three-year schedule for compliance, starting in April.
- John Coté

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