Thursday, May 26, 2011

UPDATE: Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance

BOMA San Francisco Members:

UPDATE - May 26, 2011

Barry Hooper with the San Francisco Department of Environment recently spoke about the requirements of this ordinance at the PG&E Pacific Energy Center.  Please click here to review the presentation. 

UPDATE - February 10, 2011

Please click here to view an overview flowchart and implementation timeline for this ordinance.


UPDATE - February 9, 2011

The Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance unanimously passed it's second reading at the Board of Supervisors meeting on February 8, 2011.  The measure is expected to be signed by Mayor Ed Lee.  

Please click here for the final version of the ordinance and here for a press release from the San Francisco Department of the Environment.


UPDATE - February 2, 2011

The Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance was considered by the Board of Supervisors at their weekly meeting on February 1, 2011 and passed on its first reading; final passage of the measure is expected at their next Board meeting on February 8, 2011.


UPDATE - January 24, 2011

The members of the Board of Supervisors' Land Use & Economic Development Committee voted unanimously to send the Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance - as amended on December 13, 2010 (see our previous post, below) - to the full Board of Supervisors for their consideration. 

Your BOMA San Francisco Advocacy Team will monitor the progress of the legislation and report any updates on the blog.

Please send any feedback you man have to Ken Cleaveland at and John Bozeman at


UPDATE - December 15, 2010

The Board of Supervisors' Land Use Committee met for the second time this month on Monday, December 13, 2010 to discuss the details of the Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance ordinance.

Please click here to read the Ordinance and here for the Legislative Digest.

This ordinance, the most comprehensive of any city in the nation, will require all commercial buildings in San Francisco to be benchmarked and audited within THREE years, and to report that information to the San Francisco Department of the Environment. We had originally worked out a compromise of 5 years for both the initial benchmarking/audit and a 5 years recertification requirement for same. That was changed to three years for the initial audit, with the recertification/audit update requirement staying at 5 years. The 18 months to begin compliance was also reduced to 12 months. Both of these amendments were suggested by Board of Supervisors President, David Chiu. Chiu has now added his name to the Mayor's as a co-sponsor of the legislation.

The Department of the Environment presented a scenario for ramping up the benchmarking/audit requirement on existing buildings within a three year period, although they insisted that they needed to select buildings via a lottery rather than start with the largest properties and work downward. Department representatives also stated that there were approximately 630 commercial buildings in SF over 50,000 square feet, and over 2,500 between 10,000 - 50,000 square feet in size. This legislation will not cover buildings smaller than 10,000 square feet.


UPDATE - November 30, 2010

BOMA San Francisco Members:

On  November 23, 2010, Mayor Newsom introduced the substitute Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance, which is scheduled to be heard at the Board of Supervisors Land Use & Economic Development Committee on December 6, 2010 at 1:00 p.m.:

Revisions from the prior version from July/August include: 
  • Increased the minimum square footage of buildings required to comply from 5,000 to 10,000 sq. ft. (Section 2002, line 8);
  • As described in Section 2004(a), for buildings submitting their benchmarking data for the first time, a window of time was added between when they are required to submit their data and when the data is made public.  This will allow some time for the facility to review and ensure the accuracy of the data before it is posted;
  • Section 2006 was added to clarify compliance requirements for municipal buildings;
    • The benchmarking requirements are much the same as those for commercial buildings, the primary exception being allowing the City to use a benchmarking tool other than Energy Star Portfolio Manager if it deems another tool to be more relevant for municipal buildings, as long as it provides the same type of data (Portfolio Manager is currently quite limited in the types of buildings it has categories for, and does not include many municipal building types, ie fire stations, etc.).
    • However, because the City owns over 1,000 buildings and it would be impractical to expect the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) to conduct energy audits in all of those buildings in the timeline required in Section 2004(b), this section allows the SFPUC to elect to develop a compliance plan, to be submitted by July 1, 2011, to develop protocols and a compliance timeline for conducting energy audits in municipal buildings.  The expectation is that the SFPUC will perform 20-30 municipal energy audits per year.
  • An exception was added for unoccupied buildings (Section 2008(c)(2));
  • Administrative fines were revised as described in Section 2009(b).

Thank you to Johanna Partin, Director of Climate Protection Initiatives - Office of Mayor Gavin Newsom, for this information.

Please review legislation as soon as you can.  Please send any feedback to Ken Cleaveland at and John Bozeman at, and what positives/negatives aspects you see emanating from passage/implementation of this ordinance. 

Most importantly, if you would like to attend the December 6th meeting of the Land Use Committee to testify in support of this legislation and/or add any specific comments.  Please email us.   


Original Post - August 12, 2010

BOMA San Francisco members have been working with the San Francisco Department of the Environment to craft the Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance. Click here to review the ordinance.

The proposal would require owners of nonresidential buildings in San Francisco to obtain energy efficiency audits, as well as to annually measure and disclose energy performance. It would also requires the Department of Environment to collect summary statistics about the energy performance of nonresidential buildings and make those statistics available to the public.

The proposal would require the owner of any nonresidential building in San Francisco with a gross area of 5,000 square feet or greater to conduct a comprehensive energy efficiency audit for each such building not less than once every 5 years. The audits would have to meet specified industry standards and be conducted by a qualified energy professional in accordance with rules promulgated by the Director of the Department of the Environment. The size of the building would determine the scope of the audit.

The energy professional would prepare a signed report of the energy efficiency audit meeting industry standards. The report would include, among other things: a list of capital and non-capital measures that would improve the building's energy efficiency; an estimate of the approximate energy savings, avoided energy cost, and costs to implement those measures; and an estimate of the economic value of the corrective measures. The ordinance would require the building owner to file with the Department of the Environment a report confirming that the energy efficiency audit had been completed.

Building owners would also be required to use the "ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager"— the Environmental Protection Agency’s online tool for managing building data—to track the total energy use of each non-residential building and obtain an "ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager Energy Performance Rating" for each entire nonresidential building. The owner would then file an Annual Energy Benchmark Summary report ("AEBS") for each covered building with the Department of the Environment. The AEBS would be based on an assessment of the entire non-residential building and related facilities made using Portfolio Manager.

No energy efficiency audit would be required for: (a) a building newly constructed less than five years prior to the date an AEBS was due; (b) a building that received the ENERGY STAR® label from the EPA for at least three of the last five years; or, (c) a building that was certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system for Existing Buildings Operation and Maintenance, within the past five years. Owners of financially distressed buildings could apply for extensions of the deadlines for completion of an energy efficiency audit or for submittal of an AEBS.

The Department of the Environment would annually report to the public summary statistics on Citywide energy use in nonresidential buildings and on overall compliance with the Chapter. For individual buildings covered by the ordinance, the department would report whether the building was in compliance with the Chapter, what level of energy audit was required for the building, the date of the most recent audit, and whole-building information on energy use and efficiency.

The ordinance would require building owners to make the Annual Energy Benchmark Summary report available to all tenants occupying the building in order to engage tenants in efforts to save energy.

The ordinance would set a staggered, 3-year schedule for compliance with these new requirements, beginning April 1, 2011.

Violations would be enforced through a system of administrative penalties, after written warning to the building owner.

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