SF Mayor Pushes to Increase Energy and Green Jobs Program by $4 Million

sfe-greenlogo.gifSan Francisco’s family-owned Lombardi Sports has been selling sporting gear for more than 50 years, inspiring the city’s active citizens to get outside. But with the help of the SF Energy Watch program, the company recently turned its attentions to an inside activity: improving the energy efficiency of its 50,000 square-foot Polk St. store. In the process, Lombardi’s lowered its monthly energy bill by $3000.
SF Mayor Gavin Newsom found the Lombardi store a fitting place to announce plans to expand the energy efficiency program today. He introduced a resolution at the Board of Supervisors this week to increase funding for the SF Environment Department program by $3.7 million. This would bring the total invested in the program to nearly $18 million. The money for SF Energy Watch comes from a percentage of Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) ratepayer bills.

Since its inception in 2006, SF Energy Watch says it has created or sustained 150 green collar jobs in the Bay Area and that the 1,500 businesses and multifamily properties participating in the program have saved $5.7 million in energy bills. The program has also helped save 6 megawatts (MW) of energy, according to the mayor’s office. The goals for the additional funding are to create another 30 jobs and conserve an additional 3 MW of power.
Ann Kelly, Peak Energy Program manager with the city’s Department of the Environment, says the funding would provide a bridge to allow SF Energy Watch program to continue until the city’s Public Utility Commission agrees on a three year funding contract with PG&E, which provides the city’s utility services and is administrating the program.
The program is available to either businesses or owners of multi-family residences. Those who qualify for the program receive a site assessment, which identifies where and how the facility’s lighting, heating and cooling systems could be improved. The program then covers some of the costs installation costs for things such as new lighting or HVAC equipment (as long as the contractor is trained and approved by the program) and the business or property owners pays the contractor the remaining costs.

Freelance writer Mary Catherine O'Connor finds that a growing number of companies are proving the ways that they can make good financially, socially and environmentally (as the triple bottom line theory suggests).With that in mind, she contributes to Triple Pundit, as well as to Earth2Tech and other pubs focused on sustainability. She also writes The Good Route, an Outside Magazine blog that addresses the intersection of sustainability and the active/outdoor life.To find out more, or to reach her, go to www.mcoconnor.com.