REPORT: Virtual Planning Tool Helps San Francisco Develop Technology Roadmap for Sustainability Goals

  • Siemens City Performance Tool analyzed San Francisco’s transport, energy, and buildings data to help City develop roadmap for reaching its 80x50 goal
  • New report shows infrastructure technologies including thermal electrification, EVs, building automation, and public transit expansion could improve environment and boost local economy
  • Over a 34-year time period, 36 technologies identified could generate 420,000 jobs

San Francisco | September 21, 2016

Today, as part of GreenBiz’s VERGE conference, Siemens and the City of San Francisco announced results of a study outlining which technologies will provide the greatest impact on one of San Francisco’s primary sustainability targets: 80% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction by 2050 (80x50). Not only did Siemens’ City Performance Tool, a virtual software program, identify which technologies will help San Francisco best meet its sustainability goals, the outcome showed that implementing these measures could create thousands of jobs through the installation, operation, and maintenance of low carbon energy, public transport mobility, and building systems.


“Siemens is proud to have worked with one of our nation’s leading cities in sustainability to help identify areas of greatest need and effectiveness for future resource allocation,” said Dennis Rodriguez, Siemens Chief City Executive for San Francisco. “For cities, reducing carbon is really a test of how well you take advantage of technology. We’re proud our planning tool has allowed San Francisco to identify short-, medium-, and long-term technology investments that will not only make an environmental, but also a positive economic impact.”


The Siemens City Performance Tool is a proprietary, data-driven modeling tool that helps cities calculate the environmental and economic impacts of building, transport, and energy technologies. It is designed to reduce environmental impact of everyday activities and evaluate job creation in installing, operating, and maintaining city solutions. The model was configured with more than 350 data inputs from San Francisco’s transport, energy, and buildings sectors, which include the supply mix of electricity generation, transport modalities, and typical energy, travel, and building space usage.


“We regularly analyze and project the impacts of policies and incentives, but this is the first time we’ve been able to look comprehensively at how investments in energy, buildings, and transportation layer and interact with one another as the community makes progress toward 2050 goals,” said Barry Hooper, Green Building Coordinator at the San Francisco Department of Environment. “Siemens’ City Performance Tool helped us identify technologies that need to be leveraged in order for San Francisco to meet our 80x50 goal, and documented the tremendous benefits that clean energy, buildings, and transport will continue to contribute to San Francisco’s economy.”


The report analyzed and calculated the cumulative impact of 36 building, energy efficiency, transportation, and renewable energy technologies that San Francisco can implement to help reach its 80x50 target. Thermal electrification (electric heat pumps) and electric car sharing are the two technologies with the highest impacts in reducing emissions. Building automation and public transit expansion (through MUNI Rail and new BART lines) are also key to reducing emissions and improving air quality. Over the 34-year time period, those 36 technologies could generate 420,000 jobs1.


Snapshot of Reaching 80x50


San Francisco's 2013 Climate Action Strategy Update revealed great progress: from 1990 to 2012, citywide greenhouse gas emissions dropped 23% while population grew 14% and GDP expanded 49%. Existing programs and policies will continue this trend, ultimately cutting emissions up to 40%. The engineering and economic analysis Siemens performed using its City Performance Tool is helping San Francisco chart the rest of the path to 80x50; the analysis found:

  • An 80% reduction can be achieved by deploying 36 key building, transport, and energy technologies at aggressive rates.
  • An 80% reduction requires a comprehensive approach; no single action can yield the necessary improvement.
  • Energy efficient buildings, renewable energy, and electric transport are the foundation to meeting the City’s goals.
  • Due to clean electricity from PG&E and ultra-clean electricity from SFPUC, the highest-impact opportunities are:
    • Electrifying thermal loads: Converting 80% of furnaces and water heaters to efficient electric heat pumps will yield a 13.6% reduction in annual emissions.
    • Electrifying transport: Electric car share and electric cars were the highest impact transport measures, followed by expanded congestion pricing.
  • This transformation will benefit the city’s economy by providing up to 420,000 FTE (person-years) of employment.

Building energy efficiency, including automating temperature, lighting, and ventilation in non-residential buildings presents a massive opportunity to reduce GHG emissions.


“Today’s baseline of energy efficiency investment from programs such as the San Francisco Energy Watch partnership are retrofitting buildings with LED lighting, refrigeration controls, and tuning HVAC systems. Augmenting this work to accelerate deployment of proper wall insulation, upgrading glazing and building automation, and deploying rooftop solar could reduce overall emissions by 30%,” said Hooper. “While alterations and additions to existing buildings are subject to the same rigorous energy standards as new buildings, the greatest challenge is accelerating investment in deep improvements to existing buildings, to bring the benefits of clean energy and resilience to the entire community.”


The City Performance Tool report for San Francisco can be found at:


Launched in 2015, a growing list of North American cities are implementing the Siemens City Performance Tool to leverage data for infrastructure decision-making plans and programs as part of their broader sustainability initiatives. Other cities currently testing or using the tool include Mexico City, Mexico; Minneapolis, MN; Riverside, CA; and New Bedford, MA. In collaboration with the global non-profit organization Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, the Siemens City Performance Tool is also supporting Washington, DC; Boston, MA; and Portland, OR with their 80x50 planning.


Siemens has more than 1,000 employees in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley area in its Energy Management, Building Technologies, and Healthcare Divisions as well as its PLM Software business. In addition, Siemens’ Technology to Business unit and its Research and Technology Center are both based in Berkley, and have helped to pioneer a broad range of advancements in major industries, delivering innovations to the Siemens global family as well as government agencies, academic institutions, and other organizations. The North American Manufacturing Headquarters for Siemens Rolling Stock is nearby in Sacramento with nearly 1,000 additional employees. Siemens designs and manufactures across the entire spectrum of rolling stock including commuter and regional passenger trains, light rail and streetcars, metros, locomotives, passenger coaches, and high-speed trainsets in its northern California plant.


Siemens is proud to work on key projects across the region, including building 215 light rail cars for SFMTA, the largest Siemens order ever for light rail cars in the U.S. The new vehicles are designed for improved reliability and are estimated to last 10 times longer before requiring significant maintenance than the previous light rail vehicles. Siemens has also provided technology for the Trans Bay Cable project, a high-voltage direct current (HVDC Plus) transmission system, which includes a 53-mile HVDC cable that runs under San Francisco Bay. The system provides critical power to the city of San Francisco.


About Siemens

Siemens Corporation is a U.S. subsidiary of Siemens AG, a global powerhouse focusing on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization. One of the world’s largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies, Siemens is a leading supplier of systems for power generation and transmission as well as medical diagnosis. With approximately 348,000 employees in more than 190 countries, Siemens reported worldwide revenue of $86.2 billion in fiscal 2015. Siemens in the USA reported revenue of $22.4 billion, including $5.5 billion in exports, and employs approximately 50,000 people throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

To receive expert insights sign up for our Siemens’ U.S. Executive Pulse leadership blog. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter at:


About The San Francisco Department of the Environment

The Department creates visionary policies and innovative programs to improve, enhance, and preserve San Francisco's urban and natural environment, leading the way toward a sustainable future by developing wide-ranging environmental programs, fostering groundbreaking legislation, working collaboratively with key partners, and educating the public on comprehensive sustainability practices. For more information, visit .


1 One full time equivalent job (FTE) equates to 2,080 hours of labor per year.



Amanda Naiman, 484-680-4427
San Francisco Department of the Environment
Guillermo Rodriguez, 415-355-3756