The green movement sweeping the world and giving impetus to such movements as “eco-tourism” is transforming San Francisco from grass roots to rooftop.
San Francisco has the largest City-owned solar installation in the country, a 60,000 solar array atop Moscone Center, the city's principal convention facility. The solar electricity production on the roof, combined with energy savings from a major energy efficient lighting renovation under the roof, over the project's lifetime (assumes 15 year lifetime for energy efficiency project, 30 year lifetime for solar project) will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 34,000 tons, or the equivalent of removing 7,000 cars from Bay Area roads for one year.
In October of 2012 Moscone Center received LEED® Gold certification, the first convention center on the West Coast to attain the green building honor. The Moscone Center achieved LEED Gold for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. This is now San Francisco's largest municipally-owned green building.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Pacific Southwest Region 9 awarded SMG and The Moscone Center the prestigious 2009 Environmental Achievement Award for distinguishing itself as a sustainable building that has helped to protect the environment. The EPA and Department of Energy awarded Moscone Center the 2004 Green Power Leadership Award for distinguishing itself for using on-site renewable energy applications.
The Moscone Center has long set the standard for U.S. convention centers in diverting material from the waste stream. Begun in 1998 with diversion of high volume materials from the exhibit floor and lobby areas, the program today targets materials from all areas and sources. Nearly two million pounds is diverted annually, with 20 percent of that total donated to local area non-profits.
Many local tour companies in San Francisco are using more environmentally friendly fuel sources for their boats, vans and limos. Among those leading the way are Adventure Cat Sailing Charters, Alcatraz Cruises, Bauer’s Worldwide Transportation, Hornblower Cruises & Events, Incredible Adventures, SuperShuttle, and Mr. Toads Tour LLC. Two tour companies using Segway personal transporters operate in the Bay Area: Segway of San Francisco and San Francisco & Sausalito Electric Tour Company. Walking tours are plentiful and there are more than 82 miles of signed bike routes.
Many San Francisco hotels implement these (and other) eco-friendly practices: towel and linen reuse program; 100 percent non-smoking policy; recycling program for guests; use of compact fluorescent lights instead of incandescent bulbs; the use of nontoxic cleaning products by housekeeping staff. In addition, many of the hotels compost food waste and have installed devices that power down heating and cooling when guestrooms are not occupied.
The Hyatt at Fisherman’s Wharf is among the first Hyatt properties to install permanent charging stations for the Tesla Roadster; the zero-emission, 100 percent electric sports car is being developed and manufactured by Bay Area-based Tesla Motors.
San Francisco’s Hotel Non-Profit Collaborative is a model in the nation for hotels donating unwanted goods to area non-profit organizations.
AT&T Park is the first major league baseball stadium to use solar panels. The Diamond Vision scoreboard will use 78 percent less energy than the ballpark's original scoreboard.
Nine farmers market operate in the city including the renowned Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, operated by the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA).
“Make art, not landfill” is the motto of the Artist In Residence Program created in 1990 by San Francisco waste haulers. Sixty-five professional Bay Area artists have completed residencies. For unique, one-of-a-kind gifts, check out exhibitions by these artists at www.sunsetscavenger.com/air.
Solar energy has provided at least five percent of the new California Academy of Sciences energy needs since late 2008. The design, which features a living roof, will integrate the academy more sensitively into the park and make nature a part of the building’s structure. The Academy the largest public LEED platinum building in the world.
Tips for holding a meeting in San Francisco:
- Serve tap water at your events. San Francisco has some of the purest water in the world.
- Think “green” when ordering promotional giveaway items and direct your vendors to use products made from post-consumer waste.
- Support San Francisco’s waste reduction goals by holding a zero waste event. For more information, phone 415-355-3700.
- Encourage delegates to walk to and from meeting sessions. San Francisco’s hills can present a challenging work-out, but the views are ample compensation and as that famous quip goes, “when you get tired of walking around San Francisco you can always lean against it.”
- Promote public transit usage to your members on your conference website. Attendees can use BART and Caltrain to get to many Bay Area destinations.
- Alternatively, encourage delegates to purchase one-, three- or seven-day Muni passes which are good for all Muni buses, light rail vehicles, historic streetcars and cable cars. Passes are for sale at the Visitor Information Center, 900 Market St., or www.sfmta.com.
- Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) can assist you with promoting it’s airport service to your members. BART has direct service from SFO and OAK to downtown San Francisco. BART can provide you with copy to use for your conference website and tickets can be purchased on their site. Contact Imara Yokely for more information.
For more information visit the Web site of San Francisco’s Environment Department (SF Environment) at www.sfenvironment.org.