Green building ordinance approved

July 27, 2008 2:59:36 PM PDT
San Francisco supervisors this week passed legislation modifying the city's building code by adding green building requirements for new construction, a move intended to reduce the city's overall carbon output. The Board of Supervisors approved the Green Building ordinance unanimously at a first vote on the legislation Tuesday. A final vote is scheduled for this coming Tuesday. The ordinance covers most newly constructed residential and commercial buildings by adding requirements such as on-site renewable energy and waste composting, chemically safe paints and carpeting, water-efficient landscaping and reduced water use, and management of construction waste and storm water. The requirements will be phased in over the next five years and would differ depending on the size and type of construction. Laboratories are exempted entirely from the ordinance. The legislation, based on recommendations made by Mayor Gavin Newsom's Task Force on Green Buildings, aims to further the city's goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. According to the city's Climate Action Plan, in 1990, San Francisco energy use resulted in about 4.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. About half of those emissions are believed to come from energy use in buildings and other facilities. Crafters of the ordinance believe it may be the most comprehensive green building ordinance of any major city in the country. They project the new rules will result in reductions in carbon dioxide emissions by 60,000 tons through 2012, as well as reductions in power and water usage, and in construction waste.

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