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Energy & Building Sciences
San Francisco Green Building Ordinance Could Reduce Energy Use by 50%
Spray foam and solar panels help to boost efficiency in buildings large and small

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - February 16, 2011 - A new ordinance in San Francisco would help drive the adoption of sustainable building technologies like spray foam insulation, potentially reducing the energy usage of commercial buildings in the city by 50 percent, reports UPI.

The new rule requires commercial buildings with a footprint of more than 10,000 square feet to audit their energy efficiency standards twice a decade. Owners of buildings will use a free benchmark tool provided the Environmental Protection Agency and will give their results to the city government.

"San Francisco currently offers energy efficiency audits for businesses through our Energy Watch program, and we have learned that up to 70 percent of business that have an audit will take action and conduct a retrofit," Melanie Nutter, the director of San Francisco's Environment Department, told the news service. "We expect this ordinance will deliver similar returns with existing buildings, which could lead to a 50 percent reduction in commercial building energy use within 20 years."

By making owners more aware of potential efficiency issues with their structures, the move could spur developers and property owners to improve the performance of their buildings.

That, in turn, may drive demand for technologies like solar panels and spray foam insulation, which boost the efficiency of buildings large and small.

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