San Francisco is one of the most sustainable cities in the world. This American city has a lot to offer for tourists and residents. The Green City Index of Siemens shows that San Francisco is doing a lot to put the environment first. Can San Francisco be an example to the rest of the world?
San Francisco offers a great place to live.
- Sustainable housing
- A great city life
- Top quality amenities
- High score in terms of waste processing and CO 2 emissions.
The air quality is actually much better compared to other cities in North America. Vancouver and New York are in position 2 and 3 according to the Siemens index.
In Europe, the cleanest city in terms of waste processing and air quality is Copenhagen. Stockholm, Oslo and Vienna follow after Copenhagen. Amsterdam is in 5th place. An example of a sustainable business is Dutch Aliter Networks that delivers Refurbished Cisco Equipment.
Technological innovation and sustainability
San Francisco is also a progressive city in the field of technology. San Francisco is the main big city in the famous technology hub Silicon Valley. For example: Facebook and Google. These and other most advanced companies in the world are settled in the San Francisco area.
The challenge is to use the technology companies to create a sustainable smart city.
San Francisco: a green city?
It appears that San Francisco is doing particular well concerning sustainability. Especially in waste management and partnering with the private sector in making the city more sustainable. San Francisco is a good example of a city that uses policy to achieve new goals.
Sustainable energy in San Francisco
San Francisco is at the forefront of renewable energy. From January 2017, it is mandatory to provide new buildings with solar panels. The cities located around San Francisco had previously included this in their regulations. Buildings must have fewer than 10 floors for solar panels or solar collectors to function properly. At least 15% of the roof must be equipped with solar panels.
Solar panels in San Francisco
Solar panels are ideal for sustainable use of energy. Sunlight is free and is used to produce electricity. The inverter ensures that the house is supplied with green energy. When more power is generated, it is given back into the electricity network or stored in a battery to compensate the use of electricity during hours with low sunlight.
San Francisco shows some examples where a large decrease in power consumption has been generated.
The UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco has shown since 2015 that energy consumption is 50% lower than any other average hospital in California.
Solar panels play a major role in this, as does the recovery of heat via the ventilation system. This saves around USD $800.000 a year and reduces CO2 emissions by 390 tons.
California water consumption
California is a state where the sun always shines and little rain falls. Most of this state is actually desert. Since four years, California has suffered major droughts and water consumption has been drastically changed. This is a huge problem in California, but especially in the Los Angeles area.
Measures have already been taken in the past to limit water consumption in San Francisco. It is not allowed to clean your sidewalk or driveway with clean drinking water. Gardens should not be watered. The garden may only be sprayed again after no rain during 48 hours. A glass of water is never just dispensed in a restaurant. Only when the customer requests it. Thanks to these measures, water consumption in San Francisco has been reduced to 185 liters per person per day. Normal consumption was about 300 liters.
Transportation in San Francisco
A lot of transportation in the city is arranged with hybrid electric buses. The transportation system has helped to ensure San Francisco is a leader in clean energy and sustainability.
Waste in San Francisco
San Francisco strives to recycle or make compost from all waste produced in the city. The aim is to process all waste correctly in 2020. PET bottles and plastic bags were a major problem. PET bottles are now banned in public areas and plastic bags are no longer given when shopping. These kinds of plastic items cause the greatest environmental damage and contribute to the plastic soup.
Research has shown that almost 90% of the waste can be reused and recycled. For example, since San Francisco recycled waste in 2002, the Hilton Hotel saved USD $200.000 a year.