“Just as owners of commercial buildings must take inventory of their energy use, the City is making sure we lead by example and provide transparency and accountability about our own operations, an essential component of San Francisco’s goal to reduce carbon emissions,” said Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “I’m proud of the progress we have made and will continue to capitalize on the opportunities ahead that will save energy and taxpayer dollars.”
“As they say, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. While the City is doing quite well overall, we are always looking for ways to be more efficient.” said SFPUC General Manager Harlan L. Kelly, Jr. “San Francisco’s public buildings also have the additional environmental benefit of receiving their clean, greenhouse-gas-free electricity from the Hetch Hetchy Power system.”“Tracking energy usage through benchmarking reveals which facilities are performing well, and helps agencies understand which should be prioritized for improvements.” said John Updike, Director of Real Estate for the City and County of San Francisco.
Key benchmarking findings include:
- In 2011, the 305 buildings analyzed used just under 3.5 million MMBtu of energy (electricity, natural gas and steam combined) and were responsible for 91,454 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions.
- The overall energy usage of buildings in 2011 declined 3.8% from 2010 and 1.1% from 2009. This translates into approximately $1 million less in energy costs in 2011 than the previous year.
- As expected, some building types are bigger energy users per square foot than others, for example hospitals and museums (higher energy intensity) vs. fire stations and libraries (lower energy intensity).
- Of the 30 buildings that were eligible for energy ratings from the EPA, 75% performed equal to or better than the national average for similar buildings; and 11 of those buildings performed in the top 25% nationwide – the threshold for the ENERGY STAR label. These top performing buildings include the Public Defender’s Office, Mission Mental Health Services, and Chinatown Child Development Center. The ENERGY STAR label has not yet created ratings categories for most other public building types.
“We are learning what some private property owners who are already benchmarking buildings have known for some time – that regular measurement of building energy performance helps identify opportunities to save energy, lower operating expenses and improve property values. We hope that other owners will see the benefits for themselves as they evaluate their buildings’ energy use under the city’s benchmarking ordinance,” said Melanie Nutter, Director of the San Francisco Department of Environment.