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SAN FRANCISCO-The nation’s greenest building code was unanimously approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors this week. The ordinance requires developers and renovators of larger residential and commercial buildings to achieve progressively higher levels of LEED certification from the US Green Building Council in the coming years, potentially increasing their development costs by up to 5%.

Mayor Gavin Newsom announced the proposed ordinance in November in front of 555 Mission St., Tishman Speyer’s under-construction office building, for which it hopes to LEED Silver certification. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed was planning to detail San Jose’s green building ordinance on Thursday in front of TriPoint Business Park, an aging office park for which AMB Property Corp. recently completed a “green” renovation and repositioning. That did not happen, however, because the ordinance is not quite ready to go forward to the full council just yet, a source in the Mayor’s office tells GlobeSt.com. When it is ready, it will lot like San Francisco’s ordinance.

“We have been working with other cities in the region to ensure that there is consistency throughout the Bay Area,” says the source. “Our standards will be very much in line with San Francisco.”

The SF ordinance requires large projects–commercial and residential projects over 25,000 sf or 75 feet in height–to meet the base level of LEED certification starting in 2008. Large commercial projects would have to achieve LEED Silver certification starting in 2009 and LEED Gold starting in 2010. Large residential projects would have to achieve LEED Silver starting in 2010. Mid-sized buildings will be required to achieve three LEED credits or points (the basis for the rating system) starting in 2009, increase to seven points in 2012. Small and mid-size residential projects, starting in 2009, would be required to achieve 25 points from GreenPointRated, a rating system of BuildItGreen, a professional nonprofit membership organization that promotes energy- and resource-efficient buildings in California. The hurdle would increase to 50 points in 2010 and then 75 points in 2011 or 2012.

Other large cities such as Los Angeles and Boston have passed green building ordinances that require LEED certification but none requires more than the base level of certification. The Estimated cumulative benefits from the implementation of the San Francisco ordinance through 2012 include: reducing CO2 emissions by 60,000 tons; saving 220,000 megawatt hours of power; saving 100 million gallons of drinking water; reducing waste and storm water by 90 million gallons of water; reducing construction and demolition waste by 700 million pounds; increasing the valuations of recycled materials by $200 million; reducing automobile trips by 540,000; and increasing green power generation by 37,000 megawatt hours.

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