Green labels boosting value of San Francisco properties

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerOne for the record books: Department of the Environment Director Melanie Nutter and Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting announce plans to include green certifications in public records.

San Francisco is adding green labels for homes and businesses to official property records, a move that is meant to acknowledge the monetary value of environmentally conscious upgrades.

On Thursday, Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting and Department of the Environment Director Melanie Nutter unveiled the new property record plan, which is the first in the nation.

“This is very cutting edge and groundbreaking,” Nutter said of the program.

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Speakers, including a handful from companies that give green certifications to homes and commercial buildings, pointed out how such improvements increase property values. For instance, a study released in July (see below) found that homes with green certifications are valued 9 percent higher at the time of sale than comparable properties.

Nutter said commercial buildings with green labels have 22 percent higher rent values and sell for 10 percent more than comparable buildings. Ting pointed out that when you decrease costs for a commercial building through environmental upgrades but keep income the same, the owners are making more money.

“We want to acknowledge that,” he said.

Many commercial buildings in San Francisco carry some type of label, the most popular being the LEED certification that is given through the U.S. Green Building Council, which was started in The City in 1993.

There are more than 250 buildings in The City, totaling almost 63 million square feet, that carry a green label, according to information from the Assessor-Recorder’s Office. Such labels show that “the building was designed, built and operated to have a smaller environmental footprint,” Nutter said.

Dan Geiger of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Northern California chapter said San Francisco has a high percentage of LEED certifications.

In addition to LEED, homes and buildings also can receive EnergyStar, GreenPoint Rated, Home Energy Rating System II and Home Energy Score certifications, all five of which will be added to the property records in The City.

Ting said the program will not increase the assessment value of homes and buildings, so property taxes will not change until after a property sale.

mbillings@sfexaminer.com

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