Gavin Newsom said: “A comprehensive recipe for our environmental and economic sustainability requires solutions to the challenges posed by existing buildings.”

He added: “By retrofitting our existing structures there is the potential to create thousands of green jobs.”

He announced he has convened an Existing Buildings Efficiency Task Force to turn the city’s energy-wasting buildings into greener, more energy efficient structures.

San Francisco already has one of the nation’s strictest green building codes but the mayor’s office has hinted more legislation may be on the horizon.

The task force recommendations would “inform new legislation to improve the performance of the built environment”, his office reportedly revealed.

“In August of 2008, I signed a groundbreaking green building ordinance that created the most stringent green building requirements in the nation,” he blogged on news website The Huffington Post last Thursday.

“This was a big step in the right direction, requiring that all new buildings be subject to an unprecedented level of LEED and green building certifications.”

The legislation required all new commercial buildings of more than 5,000sq ft, residential buildings more than 75ft tall and renovations on buildings bigger than 25,000sq ft to have Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification – a US Green Building Council standard.

And, the mayor is keen to press on pointing out that around half of all greenhouse gas emissions in San Francisco are from its buildings.

Existing buildings are the problem as new construction represents less than one percent of San Francisco’s built environment, he says.

More than half the area’s commercial buildings were built before 1978, requiring far more energy than those built afterwards.

“Greening existing buildings is more challenging than new construction,” he said. “Consider that buildings use two thirds of our state’s electricity.”

The task force and city authorities will join the private sector to “enable, encourage and in some cases require” energy consumption cuts, the mayor added.

“Each of these efforts creates hundreds of green jobs retrofitting our existing building stock, and in the process reduces utility costs and environmental impacts, making San Francisco a more competitive place to locate a company and raise a family,” he said.

To read the mayor’s article in full go to the following link.

David Gibbs

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