As part of San Francisco Unified School District’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions, the District recently unveiled its first all-electric school building at the Divisadero campus of Claire Lilienthal School. The brand-new building is entirely energized by 100% greenhouse gas free Hetch Hetchy Power provided by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Clean electricity from the City’s Hetch Hetchy Power system will power all of the building’s energy demands displacing the need for natural gas, a climate change causing fossil fuel.
The availability of 100% greenhouse gas free Hetch Hetchy Power as well programs like CleanPowerSF are making it possible for San Francisco to be a building decarbonization leader. Hetch Hetchy Power has been supplying San Francisco municipal buildings, including public schools, with carbon-free 100% clean energy for decades. In other cities, lack of access to clean energy is a huge barrier to decarbonizing buildings.
San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) is on the cutting edge in its work to decarbonize buildings. In 2017, the San Francisco Board of Education unanimously passed the Carbon-Neutral Schools Resolution and was the first school district in the nation to propose aggressive fossil-fuel reduction targets. The SFUSD Sustainability Office then developed a carbon reduction plan for SFUSD buildings and vehicles. According to the plan, the School District will phase out fossil fuels by 2040 through three main goals: reducing the energy usage in District owned buildings, switching from natural gas-fired to electric equipment, and powering schools with clean energy.
In October, SFUSD’s Sustainability Director, Nik Kaestner, took students on a tour of the newly opened Claire Lilienthal building to highlight its sustainability features and the District’s ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship. In addition to harnessing Hetch Hetchy Power for all energy uses, an energy-efficient heat pump along with natural and LED lighting were installed to help reduce energy use in the building. Claire Lilienthal is SFUSD’s first Zero Net Energy-ready school and will only use one-third of the energy usage of a typical California School.
As more SFUSD facilities transition away from natural gas to all-electric in the years ahead, Hetch Hetchy Power will help the District achieve greater greenhouse gas emission reductions and move the City closer to its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.