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Published on September 15th, 2009 | by Gavin Newsom

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San Francisco LEEDing the Way on Green Jobs Conversions

September 15th, 2009 by  


In the quest to create new green jobs, we have the opportunity to take existing jobs and make them green.

Every city has architects, engineers and construction divisions. In conventional circumstances the activities these employees undertake can burn considerable natural resources. But in San Francisco, we’re working to turn these traditional municipal positions into environmental champions.

The City and County of San Francisco now has over 120 architects, engineers and construction managers who have upgraded their knowledge and skills to become LEED Accredited Professionals. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a program of the US Green Building Council that recognizes the environmental performance of buildings and building professionals.

With this cadre of accredited professionals, San Francisco has over 40 LEED registered municipal projects in the pipeline and more on the way. Our new LEED certified staff will help us build and maintain a new greener San Francisco:

  • San Francisco’s Department of Public Works leads the way with 59 design professionals now LEED accredited. DPW projects include 10 libraries, two hospitals, several office buildings and two museums including the LEED Platinum California Academy of Sciences—the largest and most-visited LEED Platinum building in the world.
  • San Francisco’s Planning Department has 21 LEED Accredited Professionals managing entitlements for both residential and commercial green buildings, now required by our building code.
  • San Francisco’s Public Utilities Commission, with 15 LEED APs is creating a new headquarters building slated for LEED Platinum, and the new Tesla Water Treatment Plant is under construction targeting LEED Silver. SFPUC also manages energy retrofits in public buildings.
  • San Francisco Recreation and Parks is renovating multiple recreation centers to be LEED Silver, and the arboretum nursery in Golden Gate Park is slated for a LEED Platinum upgrade.
  • San Francisco’s Redevelopment Agency completed the first LEED Silver certified municipal project, the Plaza Apartments, for the formerly homeless with on-site supportive services.
  • San Francisco International Airport is renovating Terminal 2 to achieve a LEED Silver certification.
  • The Port of San Francisco has two LEED Gold targeted projects underway including the EcoCenter at Heron’s Head Park and the new Exploratorium Museum, plus a new cruise ship terminal is on the drawing boards.

San Francisco is well-positioned to design, build and maintain our buildings to save energy, water and taxpayers’ money. With the help of our LEED professionals we are reducing our City’s carbon footprint, and creating healthy indoor environments for employees and visitors.

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About the Author

was the youngest San Francisco mayor in over a century when he was elected at the age of 41. Newsom, the son of William and Tessa Newsom, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He attended Santa Clara University on a partial baseball scholarship, graduating in 1989 with a B.A. in political science. After only 36 days as mayor, Newsom gained worldwide attention when he granted marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This bold move set the tone for Newsom’s first term. Under his energetic leadership, the economy grew and jobs were created. The city became a center for biotech and clean tech. He initiated a plan to bring universal health care to all of the city’s uninsured residents. And Newsom aggressively pursued local solutions to global climate change. In 2007, Newsom was re-elected with over 73% of the vote. Since then he has built upon the successes of his first term, launching new environmental initiatives and a comprehensive strategy to transform one of the city’s most troubled neighborhoods into a life sciences, digital media, and clean tech center.



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