10.19 Approved Minutes

CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO

COMMISSION ON THE ENVIRONMENT

OPERATIONS COMMITTEE

 

*RESCHEDULED MEETING

APPROVED MINUTES

Monday, October 19, 2009, 5:00 P.M.

Department of the Environment Eco Center Conference Room

11 Grove Street

San Francisco, CA 94102


 *The Wednesday, October 21, 2009, 5:00 p.m. Regularly Scheduled Meeting of the Commission on the Environment’s Operations Committee has been RESCHEDULED to MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2009, 5:00 p.m. and will be held at the Department of the Environment Eco Center Conference Room at 11 Grove Street.

 

COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Commissioners Matt Tuchow (Chair), Alan Mok and Paul Pelosi Jr.

 

ORDER OF BUSINESS

 

1.      Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Operations Committee meeting was called to order at 5:20 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Mok and Pelosi Jr.; Excused: Chair Tuchow.

 

2.      Approval of Minutes of the July 15, 2009 Operations Committee Rescheduled Meeting. (Discussion and Action) Upon Motion by Commissioner Pelosi Jr. and second by Commissioner Mok, the July 15, 2009 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Pelosi Jr. and Mok; Absent:  Chair Tuchow) (Explanatory Document: July 15, 2009 Approved Minutes)

 

3.      Public Comments:  Members of the public may address the Committee on matters that are within the Committee’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda. There was no public comment at this time.

 

4.      New Grants Received by the Department of the Environment and Work on other City Department Funding Proposals and how it Supports Department of the Environment Work.  Speaker: Shawn Rosenmoss, Department of the Environment Manager of Grants and Fundraising (Informational Report and Discussion) (Explanatory Document:  Funding Proposals)

 

Ms. Rosenmoss distributed a list that shows current funding proposals, funding sources, funding timeframe, proposal issue date, amount requested, and amount received, pending, or not granted. She stated that grant funding is received mostly from federal and state government agencies, e.g. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, and Bay Area Air Quality Management District.  Funding in the past six months has been good as a result of federal stimulus package dollars and general funding from the Environmental Protection Agency and other groups.  Funding is being granted for energy projects (zero energy homes/energy efficiency/developing workforce development), and there are additional energy proposals pending that have a good chance of being granted.  Deputy Director Assmann inquired about funding from the Solar America Initiative for $750,000 over 3 years.  Ms. Rosenmoss explained that there would be funding received for this project, and believes that the bulk of the funds would be received early in the project as opposed to being equally spread over the three years.

 

5.      Update on the Energy Watch Program and Stimulus Package Funding for Energy Block and Competitive Grants.  Speaker: Cal Broomhead, Department of the Environment Energy Manager (Informational Report and Discussion) 

 

Mr. Broomhead reported that the Department’s Energy Watch program for this calendar year was for $6.7 million and was supposed to be bridge funding into this current three-year cycle.  July – August were slow months, but things are back on track in September and October. The small business program contract has been completed; however hiring to internalize the program was not complete until late July so it is taking a while to start up again. Mr. Broomhead reported that only $6 million of the $6.7 million would be spent, and $700,000 would remain unless additional large-scale projects are received.  

 

Mr. Broomhead reported that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) finally made their decision about this program cycle in which we are already ten months into.  The CPUC authorized the utilities to continue their program, but would continue with bridge funding for this year, and then a new three-year cycle would start January 1.  They told utilities that they didn’t like their filings but said they could go ahead so as not to hold things up, but ordered them to submit advice letters on their plans to correct their filings.  One of those advice letters was for PG&E to cut back on their administrative costs of local government programs from 18% to 10% or less.  PG&E told the Energy Program staff that they were going to cut the program’s budget by 3%. The response to PG&E was that the partnership budget cut should come from their administrative budget. Their plan was to give us $12 million for the remaining two years, and now it is $12 million for three years, which is a 1/3 cut in the program. 

 

Mr. Broomhead stated that at the same time of the start of the new program cycle, the San Francisco Sustainable Financing program would begin in late January or early February, and he would expect that program would have enough business so that the Energy Watch money could be used in the first year or first year and a half.  PG&E has stated that if this were to be the case, PG&E and Department staff could join in requesting additional funding for the program from the CPUC.  Commissioner Pelosi Jr. inquired about the type of projects the money would be used for.  Mr. Broomhead reported that half would be used for incentive funds that go to pay for project costs, e.g., lighting, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning in a building.   

 

Commissioner Pelosi Jr. inquired about the type of projects being worked on and allocation of funding. Mr. Broomhead explained that currently 58% is lighting, 10% refrigeration, and the rest HVAC.  Commissioner Pelosi Jr. inquired about the condition of the items being replaced. Mr. Broomhead reported that there are a lot of different replacements--9% of the program includes switching incandescent lighting to compact fluorescent, typically from a T12 to third generation T8 and results in a 50% drop in the lighting load.  Other projects include switching T12 lamps in refrigeration cases to LED so there is a significant drop in heating inside the refrigerator. This results not only in lighting efficiency, but also reducing the load on the refrigerator.  Commissioner Pelosi Jr. inquired whether it is possible to use replacement lighting lower than T8.  Mr. Broomhead explained that smaller replacements would require that the entire fixture be retrofitted and would result in a higher cost and not cost-effective in many applications.  Mr. Broomhead stated that there are some replacements of first generation T8’s to third generation T8’s, and for HVAC, there are replacement of controls, insulation, new sensors, and many other retrofits and technologies available. 

 

Commissioner Pelosi Jr. inquired about the percentage of funding that businesses receive to do these retrofits. Mr. Broomhead stated that the small business program puts in two-thirds of the cost, and businesses put in a third.  As a result, businesses see a return on their investment in six months.   

Commissioner Pelosi Jr. inquired about Governor Schwarzenegger’s recently signed renewable energy laws. Mr. Broomhead reported that the Department’s new renewable energy manager would be reviewing this law and working on all details.    

 

Mr. Broomhead reported that the City is receiving $7.7 million from the energy efficiency block grant money.  Half of the $7.7 million is being spent by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for municipal projects, and the other half is allocated to the Department to work on residential projects, mostly heating system upgrades on multi-family buildings. Mr. Broomhead reported on a comment made from a community group that felt that the home-performance program would create a divide between low-income and middle and upper-income home owners at time of sale because help would be given to upper-income home owners to acquire home performance and ratings, but low-income home owners at time of sale would not have a rating or the performance work being done. A discussion was held with the Employment Opportunity Council that operates the Low-Income Weatherization program who doubled income requirements. By increasing income requirements, they are able to capture a lot of the low-income home owners into the program.  Additionally, the Mayors Office of Housing has a program through Cal Home that serves low-income home owners.  A small amount of money was taken out of the block grant money and allocated to contractors and the staff that those two programs work with to provide training so that all of the projects being worked on incorporate home performance and ratings so low-income home owners would have an equal opportunity at the time of sale.

 

Mr. Broomhead reported on a state issued Request for Proposal(s) issued for three different funding projects (1) to support tax-lien financing, our sustainable funding that will begin in January; (2) a residential project to support home-performance retrofits. San Francisco will be banding with the other nine Bay Area counties in an ABAG proposal for about ten to twelve million dollars and would be pursuing inclusion of an affordable housing element. San Francisco would receive a portion of the funding to work on home performance around the Bay Area; and (3) a municipal commercial focused program on lighting and HVAC technologies mostly around occupancy sensor controls, LED lighting, and new technologies many of which Ms. Kelly and staff have been working on in the Energy Watch program.  Mr. Broomhead reported that the Department has banded statewide with local governments to create a competitive proposal on what local governments can do in their own facilities and what they can push out in their communities. Funding that will be received will go through the same structure used for the Energy Watch program and tracked in parallel. Every building owner can be offered energy watch and their stimulus money funding for the project.

 

Mr. Broomhead reported that the federal government will soon be issuing guidelines for a competitive grant in which the minimum bid is $50 million, and the maximum is $150 million. In addition, they want five private dollars leveraged for every program dollar, so the minimum bid is actually a $300 million program.  Mr. Broomhead reported that it may be possible to do part of the project with the financing program in place.  Deputy Director Assmann inquired whether a program of that scale could be done in San Francisco alone.   Mr. Broomhead stated that the state has announced that they want to apply and that a partnership would be discussed.  It was explained that the nine Bay Area counties are talking about applying, and that San Francisco would be competing with Los Angeles. The proposal is coming out of other areas as well so there will be competition.

    

6.      Department of the Environment’s Eco Center Remodeling Project Overview.  Speaker: David Assmann, Deputy Director (Informational Report and Discussion)

 

Deputy Director Assmann commended Ms. Rosenmoss for her work on the Eco Center remodeling project that has been in process for a year and is now open for business.  It was reported that the Eco Center now has brighter colors, more open space, and dedicated space for bikes and other uses.  There will be additional renovation that includes a glass wall hanging that will have a map of San Francisco etched on it, a ceiling-mounted projector, and a touch screen kiosk for pamphlets and brochures.  The receptionist station is now at the front door instead of the middle of the room, which results in a more efficient use of space.  Commissioner Mok inquired about the funding for the project.  Ms. Rosenmoss reported that she would prepare the accounting information on the project and explained that part of idea is for the Eco Center to become a community space and host environmental events. Deputy Director Assmann reported that environmental groups would be using the space for meetings once a month, and that the idea is to do this more regularly so that it is more of a constantly used space.

 

7.      Update on the New Landfill Search Contract.  Speaker:  David Assmann, Deputy Director (Informational Report and Discussion)  

 

Deputy Director Assmann stated that work on the new landfill search has been in progress for two years.  A series of meetings were initially held to determine what should go into a landfill contract, and a document of overarching considerations was created.  A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) was issued and sent to all landfills registered with the California Integrated Waste Management Board.  The existing agreement is for 15 million tons, and the city is projected to run out of capacity somewhere in 2014 or early 2015, so a new agreement has to be in place by then.  Of the three firms that responded to the RFQ, all met initial qualifications. The Request for Proposal(s) was issued, and there were two qualified applicants.  A tentative notice was issued to award the contract to one of the applicants, and the Department will be engaging in negotiations presumably in the next month or so. Once a tentative contract has been issued, it will have to be approved by the Board of Supervisors before it can be finalized and signed.  It was stated that protests were filed on the tentative award and is being evaluated once additional information is received.  Once that has been settled, negotiations can be entered into.

 

Deputy Director Assmann explained that the new agreement is for 5 million tons and the previous agreement was for 15 million tons.  Because so much less is being sent to landfill, the new agreement can last for potentially 20 years.  Last year we sent 467,000 tons to landfill.  This year could come in under 400,000.  In 2001, it was $700,000.  That is a difference from 700,000 in 2001 to 400,000 tons in 2009.  If the amount continues to decrease and reaches 250,000 tons a year, once the contract goes into effect, it could increase to a 20-year contract or longer. 

 

Commissioner Pelosi Jr. inquired whether new incineration technologies were being considered. Deputy Director Assmann reported that method is less efficient than current systems being currently used in terms of the best use of the resource. He explained that there is some credibility to low-temperature conversion for certain parts of the waste stream that may be otherwise difficult to deal with.  Generally, anything that is high temperature is not the highest and best use of dealing with waste. Low-temperature conversion known as bioreactors may be a way of dealing with residual organic waste in the future and is one of the technologies to consider in terms of how to reach zero waste.   

 

Commissioner Pelosi Jr. inquired whether organic waste was going to the Norcal facility.  Deputy Director Assmann reported that organic waste goes to a compost facility.  It was explained that it is possible that there will be residual waste in the waste stream that still contains a significant percentage of organics and a low-temperature bioreactor could be used. The idea is to keep as much of the organic material out of the landfill as possible.  From 400,000 tons of waste that goes to landfill, approximately one third (125,000 tons) is organic material and produces methane emissions.  Deputy Director Assmann stated that there is no shortage of space to put landfill in California, but the issue is to reduce methane emissions.

 

8.      New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion)  Ms. Fish, Commission Secretary, announced that the next Operations Committee meeting is on January 20, 2010.  Deputy Director Assmann stated that the January meeting would include (1) an informational report and discussion on the budget that has to be submitted to the Mayor in late February; (2) the new Jobs Now program, an environmental outreach program that would include 200 people focusing on recycling, composting, and energy efficiency; and (3) new office space at 37 Grove Street.  Commissioner Mok recommended discussing items that were to be discussed at the retreat that was not yet scheduled. 

 

Mr. Thomas Owen, Deputy City Attorney for the Department of the Environment, introduced himself.

 

9.      Public Comments:  Members of the public may address the Committee on matters that are within the Committee’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  There was no public comment at this time.

 

10.  Adjournment.  The Operations Committee meeting adjourned at 6:00 p.m.

 

Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

TEL:  (415) 355-3709; FAX: (415) 554-6393

 

** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Commission’s office, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., (2) on the Committee’s website at https://sites.google.com/a/sfenvironment.org/commission/operations-committee by following the links with each agenda or meeting minutes, (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709, or via e-mail at Monica.Fish@sfgov.org

 

*Approved:  January 20, 2010

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