Courtesy Thomas Hawk via Flickr Creative Commons


San Francisco City Hall, completed in 1915, serves as the seat of government for the city and San Francisco County. The building is a beautiful example of Beaux-Arts-style architecture in the city, but was not an example of sustainability until the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the City Administrator’s Office carried out major modifications to raise efficiency of the asset.

Using a $700,000 grant provided by the EPA, water usage in the building was reduced by replacing 90 toilets and urinals with high-efficiency or dual flush fixtures, and 200 sink faucets were traded for fixtures using 6.5 less gallons/minute. Low-mercury fluorescent lights have been installed, new natural daylight management systems capitalize on the ample light that pours in from the building's rotunda and 4th floor offices, and electricity for the building is now greenhouse gas-free. 

With the recent LEED Platinum Certification for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council, San Francisco City Hall has become the oldest existing building in the nation to receive the highest level of certification from the USGBC, due in large part to the SFPUC's green initiatives that have already helped 180 buildings in the city achieve energy efficiency, and have saved ~$5.5 million in energy costs annually. 

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