Only in San Francisco: Green Initiatives and News
- Tuesday, July 31, 2007 -
The green movement sweeping the world and giving impetus to such
movements as "eco-tourism" is transforming San Francisco from grass
roots to rooftop.
Beginning July 1, 2007 there is a ban on any city department or
agency purchasing single serving bottles of water using city funds,
unless an employee contract specifies usage. This prohibition will
apply to city contractors and city funded and/or sponsored events.
On June 1, 2007 local restaurants were banned from using Polystyrene
foam (Styrofoam™) disposable food service ware. A list of providers
of compostable products is posted at www.sfenvironment.org/foodservice
On March 27, 2007 San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban
plastic shopping bags; the legislation goes into effect Nov. 20, 2007
for grocery stores and May 20, 2008 for drug stores.
San Francisco currently has a 67 percent recycling rate. The city's
goal is 75 percent by 2010 and zero waste by 2020.
San Francisco's urban compost program is the largest of its kind in
the U.S. More than 300 tons of food scraps and yard trimmings are
collected every day in the city. About 90 percent of the compost made
from this material is destined for local vineyards.
All collection and transfer trucks (385 in fleet) operated by San
Francisco refuse and recycling companies run on alternative fuel
(either bio-diesel or liquefied natural gas) reducing greenhouse
emissions 5,400 tons annually. In addition, San Francisco is
committed to converting all city-owned diesel vehicles to bio-diesel
by December 2007.
Mayor Gavin Newsom has pledged to convert 100 percent of San
Francisco's taxi fleet to hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles by 2011.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has pledged to
reduce its fleet greenhouse emissions to 30 percent below 1999 levels
by 2012 and become 100 percent emission free by 2020; 86 hybrid
electric buses have been purchased. San Francisco has the third
largest hybrid bus fleet in the U.S.
In November 2006 San Francisco became the first city in the U.S. to
certify greenhouse emissions (GHG), earning the distinction of
Climate Action Leader™ with the California Climate Action Registry.
San Francisco was the first U.S. venue for UN World Environment Day,
June 1-5, 2005. During this environmental summit, Mayor Gavin Newsom
signed Urban Environmental Accords that launched San Francisco's
Livable City initiative to make the city a world leader in city
greening by 2010.
More than 16,000 trees have been planted since 2004 when Mayor Gavin
Newsom pledged that 25,000 trees would be planted at an average of
5,000 per year.
Reduce, reuse and recycle honors include the Environment Department's
Golden Dumpster award for local restaurants and the Building Owners
and Managers Association Commercial Recycler of the Year (CORY)
Named one of the top 10 "green cities" in the U.S. by The Green
Guide, San Francisco was cited as a city that puts transit first;
dedicates over 17 percent of its 47 square miles to parks and open
space; protects its water source Hetch Hetchy, and leads in the area
of green, or resource efficient building.
In July 2005 San Francisco was ranked among the top five cleanest
cities in the U.S. in Reader's Digest's first ranking of American's
Cleanest Cities in its July issue. San Francisco was cited for
its "environmentally conscious" residents, a proactive Department of
the Environment and a public transit system that leads the way with
clean air vehicles. San Francisco scored a perfect 50 for its
drinking water and also ranked high for its air quality.
In June 2005 Runner's World named San Francisco the #1 running city
in the U.S. From a list of 50 cities based on population and
performance in a 2004 nationwide survey of jogging participation
conducted by the market research firm Claritas, editors then
tabulated the number of running clubs and races in the largest U.S.
cities. Other factors considered included how much park area is
available in each city for runners, average precipitation levels and
temps compared to the competition, crime rates, demographic studies
tracking the popularity of running in each of the 25 finalists and a
poll of 1,300 runners.
In June 2005 SustainLane.com ranked San Francisco the #1 most
sustainable city in the United States. The SustainLane rankings focus
on healthy regional economic development, vibrant communities and
quality of life measurements.
In March 2005 San Francisco was named among the Top 10 Best U.S.
Walking Cities by the American Podiatric Medical Association in its
third annual survey which measures 200 cities on three walking
conducive categories: healthy lifestyles, modes of transportation to
and from work and involvement in fitness and sport activities. San
Francisco ranked second below Arlington, VA.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification
There are currently more than 60 building projects in San Francisco
registered with the U.S. Green Building Council for certification
under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Program
The city's Orchard Garden Hotel is the first hotel in the city to
receive LEED (Silver) certification; the hotel is only the third in
the U.S. and the fourth in the world to earn this designation as of
June 26, 2007.
On June 5, 2007 Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa was awarded the LEED
Gold Certificate, the first hotel in the world to receive this
Carbonmarkets(tm) hosted by Green Power Conferences gathers a team of
market research professionals focused on the sustainabily sector.
This meeting takes place Sept. 11-12, 2007 at the Hilton San
The San Francisco Mart will host a green trade show, Sept. 19-20,
2007. Live Green, Live Well is the first trade and home show solely
dedicated to green furnishings and design.
EASE (Environmental Accountability for a Sustainable Earth) will
holds its annual conference at Fort Mason, Nov. 16-18, 2007. The
conference and exhibition will focus on energy sustainability.
San Francisco is the host city of the Ecocity World Summit, April 22-
San Francisco has the oldest Slow Food chapter in the United States;
Slow Food Nation will meet at Fort Mason Center, May 1-4, 2008.
Green Business Program
More than 60 businesses in all market segments (services, restaurant,
hotels, retail) have joined the Green Business Program, a voluntary
program which encourages businesses to take proactive actions that
are not only good for their bottom line but also the environment. For
more information on this program, visit www.sfgreenbiz.org .
San Francisco has the largest City-owned solar installation in the
country, a 60,000 sf solar array atop Moscone Center, the city's
principal convention facility. The solar electricity production on
the roof, combined with energy savings from a major energy efficient
lighting renovation under the roof, over the project's lifetime
(assumes 15 year lifetime for energy efficiency project, 30 year
lifetime for solar project) will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide
by 34,000 tons, or the equivalent of removing 7,000 cars from Bay
Area roads for one year.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy
awarded Moscone Center the 2004 Green Power Leadership Award for
distinguishing itself for using on-site renewable energy applications.
The Moscone Center has long set the standard for U.S. convention
centers in diverting material from the waste stream. Begun in 1998
with diversion of high volume materials from the exhibit floor and
lobby areas, the program today targets materials from all areas and
sources. Nearly two million pounds is diverted annually, with 20
percent of that total donated to local area non-profits.
Many local tour companies in San Francisco are using more
environmentally friendly fuel sources for their boats, vans and
limos. Among those leading the way are
Adventure Cat Sailing Charters,
Bauer's Worldwide Transportation,
Hornblower Cruises & Events,
Mr. Toads Tour LLC and
Two tour companies using Segway personal transporters operate in the
Segway of San Francisco and
San Francisco & Sausalito Electric Tour Company.
Walking tours are plentiful and there are more than 82 miles of
signed bike routes.
Many San Francisco hotels implement these (and other) eco-friendly
practices: towel and linen reuse program; 100 percent non-smoking
policy; recycling program for guests; use of compact fluorescent
lights instead of incandescent bulbs; the use of nontoxic cleaning
products by housekeeping staff. In addition, many of the hotels
compost food waste and have installed devices that power down heating
and cooling when guestrooms are not occupied.
San Francisco's Hotel Non-Profit Collaborative is a model in the
nation for hotels donating unwanted goods to area non-profit
AT&T Park is the first major league baseball stadium to use solar
panels. The Diamond Vision scoreboard will use 78 percent less energy
than the ballpark's original scoreboard.
Nine farmers market operate in the city including the renowned Ferry
Plaza Farmers Market, operated by the Center for Urban Education
about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA).
"Make art, not landfill" is the motto of the Artist In Residence
Program created in 1990 by San Francisco waste haulers. Sixty-five
professional Bay Area artists have completed residencies. For unique,
one-of-a-kind gifts, check out exhibitions by these artists at
Solar energy will provide at least five percent of the new California
Academy of Sciences energy needs when it opens in Golden Gate Park in
late 2008. The new design, which features a living roof, will
integrate the Academy more sensitively into the park and make nature
a part of the building's structure. The Academy expects to be the
largest public LEED platinum building in the world when it opens.
Some Tips for Planners:
Serve tap water at your events. San Francisco has some of the purest
water in the world.
Think "green" when ordering promotional giveaway items and direct
your vendors to use products made from post-consumer waste.
Support San Francisco's waste reduction goals by holding a zero waste
event. For more information, phone 415-355-3700.
San Francisco welcomes "volun-tourism." Team building can include
habitat restorations or beach clean-ups. For more information contact
the Convention Services Department of the San Francisco Convention &
Visitors Bureau, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
Encourage delegates to walk to and from meeting sessions. San
Francisco's hills can present a challenging work-out, but the views
are ample compensation and as that famous quip goes, "when you get
tired of walking around San Francisco you can always lean against it."
Alternatively, encourage delegates to purchase one-, three- or seven-
day Muni passes which are good for all Muni buses, light rail
vehicles, historic streetcars and cable cars. Passes are for sale at
the Visitor Information Center, 900 Market St.,
OnlyInSanFrancisco.com or www.sfmta.com .
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) offers a quick, inexpensive link to
downtown San Francisco from both San Francisco and Oakland airports.
For more information, visit www.bart.gov .
For more information visit the Web site of San Francisco's
Environment Department (SF Environment) at