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10.25 Approved Minutes









MONDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2010, 5:00 P.M.




COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Commissioners Johanna Wald (Chair), Ruth Gravanis (Vice-Chair), Rahul Prakash




1.      Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Policy Committee meeting convened at 5:02 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Wald, Gravanis and Prakash. Commissioner Prakash was welcomed to the Policy Committee as a new member.


2.      Approval of Minutes of the September 13, 2010 Policy Committee Regular Meeting. (Explanatory Document: September 13, 2010 Draft and Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Prakash, the September 13, 2010 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Wald, Gravanis and Prakash).


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.  Ms. Harris inquired why the Bird Safe Buildings Standards discussion was dropped from the agenda.  Commissioner Wald explained that Bird Safe Buildings Standards would be addressed in the next agenda item.  Ms. Harris announced that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Citizens Advisory Committee would be meeting tomorrow, October 26, 2010, at 5 p.m., at 1155 Market Street and invited anyone who wishes to attend.


4.      Overview and Recommendation of Adoption of “Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings” Document. Sponsor: Commissioner Ruth Gravanis; Speakers: Mark Palmer, Municipal Green Building Coordinator, Department of the Environment and AnMarie Rodgers, Manager of Legislative Affairs, San Francisco Planning Department (Explanatory Documents: Cover Letter to Commission; Audubon Society Support Letter; and Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings http://www.sf-planning.org/ftp/files/publications_reports/bird_safe_bldgs/Standards_for_Bird_Safe_Buildings_DRAFT_OCT2010.pdf) (Informational Report and Possible Action).

This agenda item was continued to the November 8, 2010 Meeting.



Agenda Item 6 was heard before agenda item 5.


5.      Update on City Department Climate Action Plans.  Sponsor: Melanie Nutter, Director; Staff Speaker: Calla Ostrander, Climate Action Coordinator (Explanatory Document:  City Department Climate Action Plans Presentation to the Policy Committee) (Informational Report, Discussion, and Possible Action)


Department Director Nutter reported that Ms. Ostrander has been doing a phenomenal job working with Departments citywide on their Climate Action Plans in order to support and address San Francisco’s very important carbon-reduction goals. Ms. Ostrander stated that there are thirty-four department Climate Action Plans. Departments are based on people who self-select themselves as departments.  She explained that some departments have an interesting standing like the Redevelopment Agency, School District, and Attorney’s Office that have relationships with the state or other partners that make them feel as if they are exempt from the departmental planning process.  The departments being discussed are the big enterprise departments, all departments that are housed by Real Estate or the General Services Agency. It is a big government. She introduced the Department of the Environment’s Climate Team consisting of Sachiko Tanikawa, Sung-gi Shin, Marcus Keller, and herself.  Topics discussed include:


  • City and County of San Francisco greenhouse gas reduction goals and progress toward those goals—Total Emissions of CO2e in Metric Tons (Presentation Slide 2).  Ms Ostrander reported on figures from 2005 - 2012 based on a 2005 baseline for municipal agencies that consist of real-time data.  A discussion was held on whether 1990 baseline levels should be used.  Ms. Ostrander explained that it is open for interpretation whether the municipal goal should be the 1990 or 2005 baseline.  Our Climate Action Plan and Environment Code states that community-wide reduction goals should be 20% below the 1990 baseline; whereas, the Ordinance on departmental Climate Action Plans does not mention that baseline. At the start of the program in 2005 to measure municipal footprint, there was no mention of the reduction target for the baseline year, so 2005 was adopted as the baseline by default. 


Public Comment:  Ms. Lurilla Harris inquired whether there was some way to match the baselines. Ms. Ostrander stated that we can backtrack and would probably run that number to show both. It would require looking at 1990 municipal-assumed levels because real data was not available until 2005.  She explained that because less Hetch Hetchy power was used in 1990, levels would probably be closer to 20%.  The reason we are doing so well in our reduction goals is that we are using cleaner and cleaner power.


  • Total Emissions for the City and County of San Francisco by Source (Presentation Slide 3).  Ms. Ostrander reported that electricity is clean at 1% because of Hetch Hetchy power.  She explained that the majority of the footprint is from natural gas and diesel use because the Port, Fire, Sheriff, Police and Airport departments all have large diesel fleets.  Gasoline is our third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and then use of smaller assorted fuels.  The B20 blend is 80% diesel and 20% biodiesel. The 1% diesel figure is a small portion of regular diesel used by the Fire Department. The Fire Department would like to transition to all biodiesel, but is waiting for a decision from the state of California who has issued a hold on building any new underground storage tanks for biodiesel because the health effects have not been fully studied.  The City had already built and was already storing biodiesel in underground storage tanks, and kept those, but has put a hold on building new ones. 


  • Total Emissions from Fuel by Department (Presentation Slide 4). Ms. Ostrander reported that the Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) is the largest user of fuel because of bus fleets, and we would like them to grow their services.  If they are going to be putting more buses on the road, they would grow their internal footprint, but hopefully the community-wide footprint would shrink as a result.  There would be more people on transit and fewer people driving their individual automobiles. Future reductions can be seen in departments such as (1) the Fire Department when they convert to biodiesel; (2) Public Utilities Commission (PUC) who has a huge vehicle fleet and needs to be more efficient in their fleet; (3) the Police Department who could modernize to hybrid vehicles; and (4) the Department of Public Works (DPW) is also looking for best-fleet practices and wants to switch out its old vehicles..  The San Francisco Airport (SFO) is actively managing their fleet, wants to see reductions, and is a great partner.  These departments are the ones to go after in order to achieve a ten-percent reduction in this area. Commissioner Prakash inquired about the reasons for the holdup in the Police Department.  Ms. Ostrander reported that Police Department vehicles have extra equipment that have to be run all the time and require a lot more power, so the normal hybrid vehicle would wear the battery down quickly.  When the hybrid vehicles initially came on the market for security cars, there were a lot of problems since the extra gadgets drew a lot of energy.  The industry is now automatically putting in an extra battery in the vehicle to run all of the equipment so it does not draw on the vehicle battery. Existing cars can easily be retrofitted or new models can be purchased to solve this problem.


  • Total Department Emissions by Energy—natural gas, steam, and electricity (Presentation Slide 5). Ms. Ostrander reported that the largest municipal footprint is from natural gas, electricity and a small amount of steam. Commissioner Wald inquired why steam that is made from natural gas is not included in the natural gas category.  Ms. Ostrander stated that is because NRG, the agency that delivers the steam, does not have a reporting system for natural gas. She explained that the Department of Public Health (DPH) is the largest natural gas user because of backup generator use.  Boilers, which are very inefficient, are being run all the time so backup can be provided within seven seconds should electricity go down. Engineers believe that could be an area for large improvement in energy efficiency.  DPH replaced/retrofitted their boilers in 2008 so it is expected the figure would decrease as a result. The PUC is the largest natural gas user, primarily for the waste water treatment plant.  Electricity figures are dictated by how much Hetch Hetchy power the City is getting.


  • Reading Department Climate Action Plan (CAP) Scorecards (Presentation Slide 6).  Ms. Ostrander reported that Departments have now been issuing reports for two years and are now into their third year. Departments update and submit a plan every year and are scored every year by their individual footprint.  She explained that ninety percent of MTA’s footprint is from B20.  MTA did not know how much gasoline they were using before they started the CAP process. Through this process they discovered that there was an error in double-billing for biodiesel purchases. The key side benefit to this system is having departments pay attention to their bills. The Fire Department found out that they were paying utilities for three buildings that they no longer own and got a huge sum back from PG&E, and other departments have found discrepancies also.


Commissioner Wald inquired whether Ms. Ostrander helps departments see what changes have happened from the previous reporting year.  Ms. Ostrander stated that is a goal and described the challenges in getting a department to look at their facilities as a whole. Departments have appointed climate liaisons who in some cases are high-level staff members, facility managers, assistants to directors, etc. These people have done a great job and will be given recommendations for how to make reductions.  Quarterly data updates will be provided that show fluctuations and will address issues such as what needs to be repaired, reductions to make, etc.  The scorecard has a range from 0 – 2.  Zero is issued if a department has done nothing and has not provided information as to why nothing was done; one is you did a good job, thanks for providing your budget and the number of people that work for you; and 2 is for outstanding work.  The Library system used their Greenstacks program to launch an active reporting-system for all of their branches and now tracks, reports, and displays information for each building.


Commissioner Prakash inquired how data was input and expressed his concern for the possibility of a large margin of error in manual reporting.  He stated that there are software services available that would be able to automate the data. Ms. Ostrander reported that a Request for Proposal(s) would be issued for this service that would be led by Mr. Marcus Keller of the Climate Team.  Ms. Ostrander stated that in the first few years, she had to locate the data, identify the main providers, and match naming conventions.  There is no standard naming convention so she had to spend a year of manual matching between the different naming conventions and different major datasets.  The software that is available now has changed from two years ago. Now it is known where the datasets are, who partners are, and an RFP will be published soon for a software provider.  Ms. Ostrander reported that the CAP program is playing catch-up and is still a year behind in data collection.  Commissioner Prakash offered his assistance on data collection and analysis. Ms. Ostrander suggested that Commissioner Prakash be involved in the RFP process. Commissioner Prakash inquired whether other cities are working on a green accounting program. Director Nutter stated that Chicago and New York City are working on a similar program. Ms. Ostrander reported that categories that will be added include department reductions for waste by material type and carbon reduction from trees provided people can maintain information on tree characteristics.


Director Nutter reported that we are at a point where a lot of departments are invested in this process, most coordinators are submitting their plans, and now where do we go from here.  How do we incentivize departments to participate more and aggressively tackle the areas where they can reduce their carbon?  One idea being discussed is to request specific target commitments from each department by a certain date that would state that they are going to take these aggressive measures to reduce carbon towards the goal of reducing our carbon emissions by 20% by 2012.  We want to make that public statement and recognize the departments who have said we are going to tackle this action and continue to move aggressively toward reducing our carbon.  We now have the tools to do so, we have the buy-in from departments, we have the information, and understand what we have to do, and can continue to incentivize departments to participate. 


Ms. Ostrander reported that short of the Police Department who did not submit their plan this year and two other departments, there is 100% participation at every meeting.  Commissioner Prakash discussed the benefits of departments competing for the same goal and suggested maintaining a best practices database for departments to share.  Ms. Ostrander stated that a best practices database would require upkeep. She explained that meetings are held to educate staff and share information and described the benefits of verbally sharing information. Commissioner Wald suggested involving a person from another department who is invested in the effort to work on the database in order to spread the responsibility. She reported that the next meeting would be on Green Purchasing and the SFGreen Products database.  A discussion was held on gathering publicity so that other cities could be aware of what San Francisco is doing.    


Public Comment:  Ms. Harris inquired whether departments receive a boiler plate/outline of information to provide.  Ms. Ostrander reported that there is a Department Climate Action Plan template that changes every year and integrates all sustainability activities in one place. Last year there were sixteen categories that were scored (Presentation Slide 6) that include categories such as zero waste, green purchasing, commuter benefits scores, etc.  


Commissioner Gravanis noted that the PUC would be moving toward producing tertiary-treated wastewater for water recycling, which is a lot more energy intensive than secondary treatment since it uses either ultraviolet light or reverse osmosis. She suggested considering future expectations for PUC because their energy needs are likely to increase in the future with the advent of recycled water plants at Golden Gate Park and Treasure Island.  Ms. Ostrander stated that would be reviewed.  She stated that PUC is a large user of natural gas because of their waste water treatment plants, so if they switch to electricity at their waste water treatment plants and continue to have Hetch Hetchy as their clean power source, their program may go down in that scenario because the treatment process would be different. 


Commissioner Gravanis stated that in terms of overall projection and goals, it would be a benefit to think in the same terms as for MUNI, that certain department’s energy needs may increase or decrease, and there are tradeoffs based on what we want to accomplish.  Ms. Ostrander added that would be the case based on projected demand and services, and that the carbon footprint is not the only perspective to consider in a decision. The Climate Action Plans were just meant to fulfill the Ordinance that specifically asks for department’s carbon footprints and has been broadened to include water usage, waste reduction and trees.    


Commissioner Wald suggested that Ms. Ostrander present on the department Climate Action Plans to the Commission. Ms. Ostrander reported that she would present goals that the Climate team would like Departments to work on at the January Commission meeting.  Commissioner Wald discussed the possibility of the Commission sending letters to people who are especially helpful and leading the effort in their departments to make this happen. She inquired what can be done in the public sphere to help support what needs to be done. Ms. Ostrander stated that support for people doing the work is needed because there is no financial incentive available. She reported on last year’s awards that include (1) green and blue awards to recognize staff climate liaisons; (2) Zero Waste champion award; and (3) most green saved award across every category.  Supervisor Mirkarimi who sponsored the Ordinance attended to acknowledge departments and experts from each area and presented individual department awards.  Managers were invited to see their staff receive awards.  This type of recognition will continue. 


Ms. Ostrander reported that the award ceremonies were not open to the public last year, and asked Commissioners to let her know if they would like to be involved in the future.  Commissioner Wald suggested that the Commission issue resolutions to the winners. Ms. Ostrander reported that the Mayor signed Resolutions last year.  She stated that she would come to the Commission at the end of May next year when reports are reviewed.  Director Nutter stated that now would be an appropriate time for the Commission to issue thank-you letters to departments for participating in the program.  Commissioner Wald suggested that Director Nutter prepare a letter and ask Commissioners to sign. 


Commissioner Wald suggested that department accomplishments be noticed in one of the many documents that different city entities send to residents, e.g., utility bill, Department of the Environment newsletter, or on the Department’s website. Director Nutter agreed that it is important to publicly highlight work being accomplished and to demonstrate that we as a city are leading the way.  That all mandates being put in place for San Franciscans is something we are also doing ourselves.  Commissioner Wald stated that it is important that people understand that the Department’s role is more of a partnership.  Ms. Ostrander stated that this work is another example of an unfunded mandate with no budget.  It was accomplished through good will and creating relationships with people to get it done. 


Public Comment:  Ms. Harris inquired whether the department’s Climate Action Plans were available on the web. Ms. Ostrander reported that next year’s department plans would be online, and that she is happy to share information.  Ms. Harris suggested that for the benefit of the public, the typeface should be made as large as possible.                             


6.      Review of Commission on the Environment Draft Annual Report for inclusion into the 2011 Annual Report and Efficiency Plan for recommendation to the Commission on the Environment.  Sponsor:  Commissioner Wald; Staff Speaker: Monica Fish, Commission Secretary (5 minutes) (Explanatory Document:  Annual Report Draft and Annual Report Draft 102510) (Informational Report, Discussion and Action)


Ms. Fish presented an Annual Report Draft to Policy Committee members for review and comment.  She reported that the Commission had requested that future Annual Report Drafts be reviewed at the Policy Committee for recommendation to the Commission.  Ms. Fish reported that Mr. Westlund, Outreach Program Manager, would be submitting the 2010 Annual Report and Efficiency Plan by February 2, 2011 and had reviewed and approved the Commission’s section of the Draft Annual Report as written.  Commissioners held a discussion and suggested edits to the Annual Report Draft as shown in the explanatory document titled Annual Report Draft 102510.


Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Prakash, the Draft Annual Report was recommended for approval to the Commission with amendments (AYES:  Commissioners Wald, Gravanis, and Prakash)


7.      Director’s Report and Updates.  Speaker: Melanie Nutter, Director (Informational Report and Discussion)


Department Director Nutter reported that there are two items that will be heard at the Board of Supervisors, one tomorrow and one next Tuesday.  The first is an Ordinance championed by Supervisor Mirkarimi on safe drug disposal that passed out of the Public Safety Committee and will be before the full Board at tomorrow’s hearing.  Director Nutter reported that she has testified on this Ordinance and spoke to the Committee about how the Department could support work on this issue.  The Department of the Environment has been committed to figuring out a way to dispose of pharmaceuticals in a safe way.  The Ordinance is a good one, but there are questions from a departmental perspective about implementation and enforcement. The Ordinance is written in a way that the burden is on the manufacturers to come up with a plan for the Department of the Environment to approve and enforce at the local level. There are similarities to other ordinances, but there are questions about which manufacturers do business in San Francisco and how to enforce and let manufacturers know they are part of this Ordinance. The Department is hoping that the Ordinance will go back to Committee in order to allow for time to work on implementation and enforcement solutions.  Ms. Raphael and Ms. Zarrehparvar of the Toxics Reduction team have provided amendments and feedback to the Ordinance, but there are still questions. It is an excellent program and idea, but there are still questions to be answered.


The second is the Healthy and Clean Air Transportation Ordinance that came out of Committee today which is a revision to Environment Code Chapter 4, which governs how the city purchases vehicles for the municipal fleet.  Director Nutter stated that she had testified today on behalf of this Ordinance that the Mayor’s Office has been championing for a number of years.  It sets a reduction goal of the municipal fleet of 20% in the next four years.  The Ordinance would allow departments to purchase ultra-low emission or zero-emission vehicles regardless of fuel type. The City will be able to purchase the cleanest vehicles available in each category and would not have to give exemptions if an alternative fuel option were not available.  The Ordinance broadens the scope and options for departments to upgrade their vehicles.  These restrictions do not apply to public safety vehicles or MUNI buses.  Provisions of the Ordinance do not apply to some of the enterprises agencies such as PUC, Airport, Port and MTA where application would conflict with controlling law or interfere with the discharge of functions placed under the direct jurisdiction on these departments. The last part of the Ordinance would require each department to adopt a transit-first policy to maximize the use of public transportation.   


Director Nutter reported that senior staff held a retreat last Thursday which turned out to be a fun and productive day.  There was good feedback from staff, and she was happy with participation.  A survey was sent to staff asking what they like most about working with the Department, what to improve, and other feedback. Sixty-percent participation was received within a few days.  People said that they love their coworkers, programs and policies, approach to change, and culture. Things to improve were mostly operational--team building, cross-program work, accommodations for work space, more administrative support to accommodate growth of staff, better technology and solutions for technology, and training opportunities. Other retreat activities included a visioning exercise, a branding and mission statement update exercise, identifying actions for team-building, and breaking down silos. 


Public Comment:  Ms. Harris stated that public outreach is important particularly to the Department of the Environment.  She asked to be placed on the mailing list for the Department of the Environment brown bag meetings and offered to provide suggestions for speakers. Director Nutter reported that she has hired a new assistant, Ms. Alejandro Bando that would be starting in a couple of weeks that would be in charge of brown-bag meetings.  She suggested that Ms. Harris send her ideas for speakers in the interim. 


   8.  Announcements. (Discussion)  Commissioner Gravanis announced that Department staff has launched a comprehensive project to overhaul the website, which she is involved in.  She asked Committee members for their suggestions for improvements to the website. Commissioner Gravanis stated that she would be involved in submitting comments on the Commission’s part of the website and encouraging a two-way communication stream. 


Commissioner Gravanis stated that wastewater and water are not areas the Commission is directly dealing with, but felt that Commissioners may be interested in attending Public Utilities Commission (PUC) meetings on these issues.  She announced that the Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee is having a meeting on Monday about the digesters at the Southeast Water Plant, which is a very important environmental issue that she would like the Commission to be involved with in the future.   The PUC is scheduled to have a meeting on November 18th about the proposed recycled water plant at Golden Gate Park which is controversial and alternative sites will be looked at.


Public Comment:  Ms. Harris suggested that Commissioners be added to the PUC Citizens Advisory Committee mailing list of meetings.  Ms. Fish was asked to check in with Commissioners to see whether they would like to be added to the list.  Ms. Harris announced that the PUC also has a Power Subcommittee that Commissioners may be interested in.


9.      New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion)  Projected agenda items for the November 8, 2010 meeting topics include a discussion on Bird Safe Buildings Standards and Committee review of Strategic Plan Drafts for four program areas (Zero Waste, Toxics Reduction, Climate, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Agency).  Commissioner Wald inquired whether identifying funding and staffing to achieve goals should be part of the Strategic Plan discussion.  Director Nutter stated that funding and staffing would be related more to an actual work plan and may be premature for a strategic plan discussion.  Commissioner Gravanis stated that previous suggestions made were that the Strategic Plan should include a section for prioritizing fundraising activities for items that funding is not available for.  Director Nutter explained that the prior plans are in the process of being updated and includes items that funding is or will be available for.  She is encouraging staff to fit in a larger vision of what they would like to achieve within the program in the future.  Commissioner Wald inquired about who is working on things that people are not working on now and might be, and when could that be integrated into the Strategic Plan.  Director Nutter stated that she would consider how to work that topic in. She reported that discussions and ideas discussed at the senior staff retreat could be worked into the strategic plan.  Director Nutter reported that her plans include writing a strategic plan for department-wide goals in order to find as many common threads as possible among departments; to set department-wide plans, goals and actions; and break down silos in order to integrate more programs.


A discussion was held about rescheduling the November 23, 2010 Commission meeting to either November 30 or December 7 because of the Thanksgiving holiday. Commissioners discussed the Bylaws requirement to hold nominations for Commission officers in November and how that would not be possible if the November meeting was rescheduled to December. Commissioner Wald stated that she would be proposing a Bylaws amendment to change the requirement to hold nominations at the last Commission meeting of the calendar year. 


Committee members agreed to provide Ms. Fish with their input for changes to the Outreach Survey list of environmental organizations by December.  This item would not be added to the agenda.  Ms. Fish and Commissioner Gravanis provided background on this topic.  A discussion was held on the importance of identifying an appropriate contact at the organization to send the survey to and the possibility of enlisting EnvironmentNow program staff to assist in this effort. 


Commissioner Prakash suggested a presentation at the Policy Committee by two companies, one doing interesting work on home performance and energy retrofits and a company who has changed the law in California about car-sharing that would allow anyone to share their car without insurance ramifications.  It is a San Francisco model on how to lead an effective car-share program.  Ms. Fish provided information on the procedure for adding agenda items to Committee meetings. Commissioner Gravanis stated that it is important to prioritize agenda items so that input that is useful to help direct policy takes precedence. 


Commissioner Gravanis inquired about when the issue of banning the sale of single-serve water bottles on City property and City events would be heard. She reported on communications received on this topic.  Director Nutter stated that this item can be tentatively scheduled for the December or January Policy Committee meeting.  Additional future agenda items discussed included an (1) update on the cell phone ordinance (2) the landfill contract that may be heard at the Board of Supervisors in November; (3) Commissioner Wald suggested a continued discussion on whether San Francisco can start moving into a system of having a different or lower rate for people who do not have items to send to landfill.  Commissioner Gravanis stated that this discussion should take place well ahead of the refuse rate process.        


10.      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 were no members of the public present at this time.


11.  Adjournment.  The Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by 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 meeting website https://sites.google.com/a/sfenvironment.org/commission/policy-committee with each agenda or meeting minutes, or (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709 or via e-mail at [email protected].


The next Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 8, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. in Room 421, City Hall.


Approved: November 8, 2010







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