San Francisco’s New Solar Requirement

Worker installing solar panels on a commercial building | SIG
Solar installation is now required on new commercial buildings in San Francisco, CA.

The latest new solar requirement in San Francisco is making big headlines.  Recently, the city’s Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to make solar installations mandated on all new buildings. This brings San Francisco one step closer to reaching its goal of converting to 100 percent renewable energy, but also makes San Francisco the first major US city to require solar panels on buildings. Starting January 1st of 2017, new residential and commercial buildings up to 10 stories high must install rooftop solar systems for electricity and heat. However, buildings higher than 10 stories are exempt for now. 

According to the EcoWatch, San Francisco is mirroring two small California towns. The green municipalities of Sebastopol and Lancaster passed comparable mandates in 2013. Today, the prominent green metropolis is the first main city in the U.S. to enact such a requirement. More or less, this new requirement are extensions of the current California law that necessitates all buildings 10 floors or less to have 15 percent or more of the rooftop for solar use. Supervisor Scott Wiener, who introduced the legislation, adds that the new solar requirement will build a cleaner future and be closer to the city’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2025. 

More Amazing Sustainable Efforts

According to BisNow, the existing California law that requires 15% of roofs be solar-ready have to install either photovoltaic or solar or water panels. In addition, the law is supported by the Building Inspection Commission, the US Green Building Council and other reputable associations. 

Other Sustainability Targets

In the recent past, San Francisco committed to all-encompassing sustainability targets. Some of the sustainable targets included a landfill waste of 0%, 50% non-automobile transportation such as biking and public transportation plus 100% renewable energy. 

When it comes to energy, the current 24.8 megawatt solar systems in place would increase by 7.4 megawatts. The 7.4 megawatts alone can produce 10.5 gigawatt hours of electricity annually. That is enough electricity to power approximately 2,500 San Francisco homes. 

According to Barry Hooper (the Department of Environment Green Building Coordinator), the current 24.8 megawatt solar systems would increase by 7.4 megawatts. The 7.4 megawatts of solar energy can produce 10.5 gigawatt hours of electricity annually, which can power about 2,500 San Francisco homes. 

A Greener Roof

According to Scott Wiener, there are businesses that really do not want to utilize solar panels. However, Wiener has a back-up plan that allows for living roofs. These living roofs or green roofs would replace solar panels. Wiener also states that the roofs are similar to the roof of the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. This green roof provides better insulation, enhances the habitat and biodiversity, decreases storm water from reaching the sewer and reduces pollution. 

Sustainable Investment Group (SIG)

Sustainable Investment Group (SIG) is well known for national LEED solutions. Their expertise and experienced team has experience on over 400 LEED projects and is currently working on one of the largest buildings in San Francisco: One Market. Other sustainable projects include energy auditing, retro-commissioning and energy modeling. 

In addition, SIG will help you with proper documentation and the correct credits. And unlike other companies, Sustainable Investment Group offers both LEED consulting and engineering services that are needed for the requirements of each project. 

SIG’s most popular services include LEED Consulting, LEED Exam Preparation Classes, Sustainability Reporting, Commissioning/RCx, Performance Benchmarking, and ENERGY STAR certifications. 

For your convenience, SIG is located at various places across the nation in Atlanta, GA; Boulder, CO; Minneapolis, MN; New York, NY and will soon have a location in San Francisco, CA. Our headquarters are at 5607 Glenridge Drive, NE, Suite 250, Atlanta, GA. 

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