San Diego Business Journal

— San Diego’s national ranking in clean technology slipped a notch this year.

The latest survey ranks San Diego fourth among the nation’s 50 largest cities, down from third last year.

The San Diego Cleantech Landscape report released earlier this month looked at a number of industries. They include modern efficient buildings, renewable power, and green transportation. The study also measured patents and venture capital investment.

The region fell in ranking for the total number of green buildings per 1 million people, bumped down to sixth place from fifth. Total green building square footage per capita has dropped four spots since 2011, sitting at 17th among the top 50 metros.

“Despite having the country’s first-ever LEED Platinum commercial airport terminal, compared with other metros the region has relatively fewer businesses with large facilities to be certified,” the report says.

Leading a Charge

San Diego’s advanced vehicle adoption, electric vehicle charging stations, and venture capital investment in clean technologies were all bright spots in the report. The region ranked fifth in total VC investment dollars from 2012 to 2014, with $886 million invested in 76 deals over the last three years. About 37 percent of this money went into the biofuels and biochemical sector ― a key strength of San Diego’s regional clean-tech industry. Solar, water technologies and transportation also represented significant funding opportunities.

While some rankings fell, the index finds San Diego is a top five city in most of the areas measured, which Councilman Todd Gloria said affirms the city’s commitment to sustainability.

A good indicator of this commitment is the growth of clean-tech companies in the region. San Diego’s clean-tech sector has grown from roughly 125 companies in 2007 to 825 firms today.

“What sets San Diego apart from all of the rest of the world is our incredible quality of life, our incredible natural resources,” Gloria said. “When you’re able to combine the innovation and business-minded nature of the clean-tech companies with technologies and innovations that will help maintain what makes us special. That’s something that everyone can support.”

Cleantech San Diego, together with partners Clean Edge and the Chubb Group of Insurance Cos., released The San Diego Cleantech Landscape report with a list of suggestions to improve upon the region’s rankings.