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Companies earn green awards

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Three decades ago, recycling paper was considered a cutting-edge movement in San Francisco.

Now, “green business” has become a ubiquitous buzz phrase as more businesses strive to meet the latest standards of sustainability.

Today, the Building Owners and Management Association of California will present awards to eight businesses in San Francisco that, in the group’s judgment, have exceeded everyday standards of being green. The fourth annual Earth Awards, which include cash prizes, will be delivered at a luncheon at the Palace Hotel.

There were 29 entries this year, and BOMA officials selected the winners who met specific criteria, including composting and recycling, energy consumption and using environmentally conscious products, said Marc Intermaggio, executive vice president of the building group.

Intermaggio said San Francisco has one of the highest number of LEED-certified buildings and a waste-diversion rate of nearly 75 percent.

BOMA’s efforts to encourage businesses to operate a greener business align with city leaders’ efforts to legislate stricter sustainability practices in the private sector.

Mayor Gavin Newsom is pushing a law that would require commercial buildings to publicly report their energy consumption. The legislation, which is being finalized and likely will be introduced next month, mirrors a state law that will go into effect next year.

And Supervisor David Chiu is taking the lead on legislation that would force owners of office buildings to turn off nonessential lights at night.

That legislation will be moving forward soon, Chiu said.

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