EPA Administrator McCarthy announces LEED Platinum Certification of San Francisco City Hall

City Hall becomes the oldest building in the U.S. to receive LEED Platinum Certification for existing buildings

San Francisco – Today, U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy joined City of San Francisco officials to announce the U.S. Green Building Council’s award of LEED Platinum Certification – the highest possible rating – to San Francisco’s historic City Hall. Completed in 1915, City Hall is the oldest building in the United States to receive LEED Platinum Certification for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance in (LEED – EBOM). This LEED classification highlights the potential for significant water and energy savings in existing buildings.

Platinum Certification of San Francisco’s 100-year-old City Hall is the culmination of a multi-year water and energy retrofit partnership between the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), the U.S. EPA, and the City Administrator’s Office. An EPA grant of $700,000 supported the replacement of over 90 toilets and urinals in City Hall with high-efficiency models. This federal funding continues to support water efficiency retrofits at other Civic Center buildings, including 101 Grove Street. Operational and energy efficiency upgrades were funded by the local ratepayers.

“San Francisco has long been a leader and innovator at the forefront of solutions to combat climate change and reduce energy and water consumption,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “As the entire nation watches California endure its 4th year of drought, we all must do our part to use renewable energy, be energy efficient, and conserve our precious water resources.”

“San Francisco City Hall is a world-class building with a storied history for trailblazing policies that have had a global impact,” said Naomi Kelly, San Francisco City Administrator. “As we approach City Hall’s centennial celebration, City Hall today makes history again as the oldest U.S. building to achieve LEED EBOM Platinum Certification, the hallmark of sustainable building design.”

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design; EBOM stands for Existing Buildings Operations and Management; both are the standard for measuring and comparing environmental sustainability in design and operation of existing buildings. With a 100 percent greenhouse gas-free electricity supply from the SFPUC’s Hetch Hetchy Power System, City Hall was already one of the greenest, most sustainable historic buildings in the country. These improvements will only serve to further reduce the environmental footprint of the building.

“These new combined water and energy efficiency retrofits are good for the environment and will save taxpayers money,” said Harlan Kelly, Jr. SFPUC General Manager. “With global climate change upon us, now is the time to redouble our efforts to ensure all of our buildings are as sustainable as possible.”

City Hall is the latest SFPUC energy efficiency project. Since 2002, the SFPUC has retrofitted 180 City buildings for nearly 48,000 MWh/yr in energy savings and 2 million therms/yr in natural gas efficiencies. That’s the equivalent of taking 4,200 cars off the road. The projects are also saving the City’s taxpayers $5.5 million each year in energy costs.

City Hall Energy and Water Upgrades:

  • Energy efficiency improvements will reduce consumption by approximately 20 percent, making City Hall one of the more energy efficient buildings in the country.
  • Water efficiency upgrades are estimated to save approximately 825,000 gallons of drinking water per year.

Reduced water consumption:

  • Replaced 76 old toilets that used 3.5 gallons per flush (gpf) with new high-efficiency models that use 1.28 gpf.
  • Replaced 17 old urinals that used 2 gpf with new 0.125 gpf models.
  • Replaced 200 sink faucets that used 7 gallons per minute with 0.5 gpm models.

Reduced electricity consumption:

  • Installation of a natural daylight management system to reduce electric lighting when sufficient day light is available from skylights in the rotunda and 4th floor offices.
  • Installation of low-mercury fluorescent lights replacing inefficient fluorescent lights.

Reduced natural gas consumption:

  • The reconfigured first floor ventilation and heating systems monitor temperature and CO₂ levels, and can circulate fresh air when a room is filled with people. Conversely, when a room is empty, low CO₂ levels will reduce system operation.
  • Increased fresh air circulation for cooling of the building and building energy management system upgrades to allow better monitoring and optimization.

SFPUC has been an EPA WaterSense[epa.gov] Partner since 2011, helping reduce water usage at City Hall and in the Civic Center District of San Francisco.

SFPUC’s energy efficiency retrofits in Civic Center have resulted in nearly 3.5 million kWh of electricity and associated natural gas and steam usage. This energy savings is equivalent to the usage of more than 6,850 San Francisco residences.