Measuring the Environmental Impacts

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SF Green Businesses reduce the amount of greenhouse gases they generate, thereby helping to tackle the pressing problem of global climate change. Here's how:

  • Green Businesses conserve energy by using LED lighting and Energy Star rated equipment.
  • Green Businesses conserve water through the use of low-flow toilets and water flow restrictors. Energy is needed to deliver water, so every unit of water conserved saves several pounds of CO2.
  • Green Businesses conserve natural resources by promoting public transit, biking and walking.
  • Green Businesses reduce waste by recycling, composting and using materials with recycled content. The manufacture, distribution, and use of products - as well as dealing with the resulting waste - all require the use of energy, resulting in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Green Businesses also take steps to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for their employees and customers by using low-toxic products.

Measuring the Environmental Savings achieved by Green Businesses

The Program undertook a pilot measurement project in 2007 with the Presidio School of Management's Green MBA program. The project report reveals the success stories of five SF Green Businesses that strengthened their reputation, increased their competitive advantage, and helped San Francisco achieve the greenhouse gas emission reduction targets set in the City's Climate Action Plan.

Building on the pilot Presidio Study, the program completed surveys with twenty additional businesses to quantify their environmental savings. Here's what we found:

  • 25 SF Green Businesses studied save a total of 2,24,188 KWH energy per year, 9,71,993 gallons of water per year, 116 hazardous materials per year, 382 tons of greenhouse gases (or 7,63,205 pounds) per year and recycle over 700 pounds of paper per week. View the list of businesses that participated in the project and their individual environmental savings here.
  • Three hotels recognized by the Green Business program made extensive energy efficiency retrofits in order to meet the standards, thereby achieving greenhouse gas emission reductions of 50 tons per year.

As of 2009, the SF Green Business Program obtains environmental measurement data from all recognized businesses.