San Francisco is king – but why? – BuildingIQ


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San Francisco is the “Cleantech Capital of North America”. This didn’t come as much of a surprise to many in the industry when the Cleantech Group announced San Francisco was king last month. But perhaps the real question is this – why isn’t it your city?

Cleantech Group based its findings on a variety of factors, including investors, available venture capital and the number of cleantech companies that call the city home. And while cities like Los Angeles and New York have significantly larger populations, where capital and investors are theoretically easier to come by, what sets San Francisco apart is its forward-thinking approach.

Current policy makes the city so enticing for the green industry that it acts as a magnet for cleantech business. Its Energy Watch program, for example, helps businesses lower energy bills and reduces commercial building impact on the environment. The city has also made green building standards part of its required building code. Green Building Ordinance Chapter 13C went into effect in 2008, with regulations incorporating elements of the USGBC’s LEED rating system and makes some voluntary green solutions mandatory. These policies, and many more like them, open the door for cleantech companies of all calibers.

“From passing a tax exclusion for cleantech companies to recruiting international renewable energy firms, the city has made supporting the growth of the clean tech industry a priority,” said San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development director Jennifer Matz.

And it truly has. Just last summer, Siemens compared 27 large cities across the U.S. and Canada on environmental performance and policies. Guess who took the cake? San Francisco officials believe that the clean technology market is crucial to economic development and the future of the city. Its laws and policies provide evidence of that.

While the U.S. is making somewhat of an effort with its energy and sustainability policies with programs like the Better Buildings Initiative, it seems as though individual cities need to face these issues head on. The technology is readily available. Perhaps a boost in desire is all that’s needed. By implementing stricter policies and welcoming sustainable practices, your home town could be crowned next.