SF Launches Database of Preferred Eco-Friendly Products

SAN FRANCISCO, CA —  San Francisco's Department of the Environment has finished on online catalog of products and services that meet the standards in the city's preferred purchasing program.

In 2005, San Francisco enacted an ordinance requiring city staff to avoid purchasing products that may be harmful to human health and the environment. The new catalog provides more than 1,000 products and services that are required or suggested, covering cleaning supplies, office items, light bulbs, paint and graffiti removers, pesticides and more.
Although created to assist city staff, the catalog is available for public perusal at SFapproved.org. The Environment Department screened products using data provided by GoodGuide, a Berkeley, Calif., organization that provide health, environmental and social information on products and companies.
Last week, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom moved to improve the energy efficiency of commercial building by introducing an ordinance that would require owners of existing non-residential building to publicly report how much energy their buildings use annually.
The ordinance, if passed, would also require owners of commercial buildings that are more than 5,000 square feet to conduct energy efficiency audits every five year. The ordinance was based on recommendations from a task force made up of building, engineering, architectural and related stakeholders that was charged with coming up with ways the city can reduce the greenhouse gas emissions related to existing buildings as opposed to new construction.
The city already addressed new buildings with an ordinance in 2008 that set the tightest environmental standards by a city for new commercial and residential buildings as well as renovations.
Another way the city is improving energy efficiency is through the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program, which was created and funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The program allocates $2.7 billion in formula grants (and will be providing $454 million in competitive grants) to cities and counties with the intent of improving energy efficiency and green job growth.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors met in San Francisco today to discuss how cities are using the block grants. San Francisco itself is using the funds to improve energy efficiency in close to 150 buildings.