San Francisco mayor London Breed has announced a plan to ensure that all commercial buildings in the city larger than 50,000 square feet are powered by renewable energy by 2030.
The move will see the city’s 50 largest buildings transition to clean energy by 2022. Smaller commercial buildings will also form part of the plan, according to staggered deadlines, in the run up to the 2030 deadline. The city intends for renewable power to be in place city-wide by 2050.
City data has shown that approximately 44% of San Francisco’s greenhouse emissions are caused by buildings, approximately half of which are commercial. Commercial property owners will need to switch to a greenhouse emission-free utility schemes, such as those offered by Pacific Gas & Electric and other utilities.
According the city’s environment department, utility bills may rise between 2% and 4% should building owners switch to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s CleanPowerSF program, or by up to 5% for the PG&E renewable plan.
The proposal will be introduced to San Francisco’s board of supervisors in May, and if approved, would make the city the most advanced in the US in terms of commercial building requirements. Other cities such as New York have also taken firm steps towards the green energy transition, with a recent bill passed by the New York city council which sets emissions caps for certain buildings and requires property owners to upgrade insulation and heating systems to cut emissions.