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11.08 Approved Minutes

 

CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO

COMMISSION ON THE ENVIRONMENT

POLICY COMMITTEE

 

REGULAR MEETING

APPROVED MINUTES

 

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2010, 5:00 P.M.

CITY HALL, ROOM 421

SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102

 

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

 

ORDER OF BUSINESS

 

 

1.      Call to Order and Roll Call. The Policy Committee meeting convened at 5:08 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Wald and Gravanis; Excused:  Commissioner Prakash.

 

2.   Approval of Minutes of the October 25, 2010 Policy Committee Regular Meeting. (Explanatory Document: October 25, 2010 Draft and Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Wald, the October 25, 2010 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection. (AYES:  Commissioners Wald and Gravanis; Absent:  Commissioner 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. Lurilla Harris reported on her background as an English teacher and explained that the word “data” is plural and should be used with “were” and not “was.”  She explained that the proper singular usage is “datum.”  Ms. Harris did not suggest an amendment to the October 25, 2010 Draft Minutes.

 

4.   Overview and Recommendation of Adoption of “Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings” Document. (Continued from the October 25, 2010 Meeting) 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 Document:  Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings and Presentation to Policy Committee) (Informational Report and Possible Action)

Commissioner Gravanis and Mr. Palmer reported that Ms. Noreen Weeden of Golden Gate Audubon Society had presented on this topic at previous Policy Committee meetings, and the Committee had been awaiting completion of work by the Planning Department on standards before continued discussion was scheduled.  Mr. Palmer explained that annually over a billion birds are potentially at risk in the United States, and that this problem is foreseeable and preventable. The discussion today will address potential solutions.

 

Ms. Rodgers stated that the topic of how wild birds relate to the built environment has been getting more attention locally and nationally.  Here in San Francisco there has been a review of specific buildings, e.g., the Planning Commission review of 555 Washington Street and the Port Commission review of the Exploratorium. Part of the reason the Board of Supervisors denied the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for 555 Washington Street was because public comment was received that these buildings might potentially be injurious to birds. The Port Commission required bird-safe treatment of all the glass in the Exploratorium observatory as a result of public concern.  From research and review of the literature, the Planning Department is convinced it is a real issue and feels that reasonable standards can be developed to address the problem without being either prohibitively expensive or putting a stop to development.  The Planning Commission has held a few hearings on this item with testimony received from Ms. Noreen Weeden of the Golden Gate Audubon Society and Ms. Christine Sheppard of the American Bird Conservancy, based in the East Coast.  The Planning Commission asked staff to see what could be done.

 

Ms. Rodgers presented a summary of the Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings Draft document.  The document includes recommendations of how national research could be applied locally and summarizes proven successful remedies such as window treatments, lighting design, and lighting operation.  The draft proposal presents a three pronged-approach to the problem (Presentation Slide 2) (1) establishment of requirements for the most hazardous conditions; (2) use of an educational checklist to educate project sponsors and their future tenants on potential hazards; and (3) creation and expansion of voluntary programs to encourage more bird-safe practices including acknowledging those who pursue certification through a proposed new program for “bird-safe building” recognition.

 

I.     Requirements (Slides 4-11).

·         The draft proposal places controls on buildings in three circumstances (Slide 4).  A description was given on the types of bird traps such as clear building corners, clear glass passageways, and glass windbreaks on the top of buildings. Under the proposal, bird traps and facades facing open space or water would require bird-safe treatment.  Potential treatments were described (Slides 5-10).   

·         Wind generation and lighting (Slide 11).  In areas determined to be high-risk for birds, next to parks and water, the proposal would also seek to minimize lighting and use wind-generators that feature vertical access blades. 

·         Summary of Requirements: To decrease the amount of untreated glass near the high-risk areas and to treat 100% of the bird-traps.

 

II.         Educational Guidelines (Slide 12). 

·         Outside of these requirements, the draft proposal would primarily be advisory and educational.  On pages 32-33 of the proposal is a bird-safe building checklist for project sponsors to help understand the features of their projects and for building owners to consent to provide future occupants with information on how to keep buildings bird-safe. 

 

III.       Voluntary Programs (Slide 13).

·          Bird-Safe Certification.  The draft proposal would create a voluntary three-tier rating system for project sponsors who wish to certify their buildings as bird-safe.

·          Lights-Out San Francisco.  Building owners to commit to “Lights-Out” practices during migratory periods.

 

NOTE:  The Presentation slide notes reflect the detailed discussion of the Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings document.

 

Ms. Rodgers reported that the Planning Commission has asked staff to look into these ideas, all three of the proposals: requirements, voluntary standards and guidelines.  Public comment is now being accepted through the end of the year, and staff will be working on revising the potential controls. She asked if the Commission on the Environment or its constituents would be interested in reviewing the document in detail and providing feedback.  She explained that staff has surveyed over thirty years of research to identify ideas.  There has not been much research locally, but a lot of research has been done on the East Coast (Manhattan, Chicago, and Toronto) that currently have requirements in place.  These controls were based on looking at all the research and can be found at the Planning Department’s website.  The study primarily used was a study looking at ten years’ worth of bird-building collisions in Manhattan and identified the buildings that were most hazardous. It seemed reliable and most comparable to the dense environment of San Francisco.

 

Commissioner Gravanis inquired about monitoring.  Ms. Rodgers stated that department staff had previously considered requiring monitoring of buildings, but the City Attorney provided advice that building owners could not be required to accept liability of having people on their property who might injure themselves.  It can be encouraged as a voluntary program.  Commissioner Gravanis commended the work accomplished on this project and stated that she hopes that it can be approved in time for development at Treasure Island, Park Merced, and other major projects that are starting. She asked what the Commission, Commission Committee, or Commissioners can do to help make sure the proposal does not get watered down.  Ms. Rodgers reported that the draft document was released in October and public comment is being accepted until the end of the year. Staff would like to come back to the Planning Commission in early 2011 for potential adoption.  The most important thing that has happened is the publicity received in San Francisco.  There is a substantially higher risk to birds now because of the way architecture and development is changing, consuming all of the open space, and current development with glass facades. The main thing that the Commission can do to support this effort is to talk about the issue and encourage participation.  

 

Director Nutter reported that the document is interesting and a thorough job was done.  She inquired whether there are studies available about the economic impact to developers and some of the mitigations that would be required.  Ms. Rodgers explained that since there is a range of treatments, there is a range of potential cost implications to developers.  The film is inexpensive; the UV glass is probably expensive and has not been built in the United States yet. The manufacturer is a German manufacturer.  A recent article in the New York Times said that the ultraviolet glass is 50% more expensive than standard glass, but about equivalent to energy-efficient glass, which is what most commercial and high-rise buildings are using.  Commissioner Wald inquired whether energy-efficient, ultraviolet windows are available.  Ms. Rodgers reported that UV works by two-pane windows and has a material between that which is visible to the birds and creates that pattern.  One of the potential conflicts with city planning is that current policy encourages transparency, especially in the ground floor, so that the buildings provide interest to pedestrians.  This UV glass does maintain that transparency. Outreach has been done with the American Institute of Architects (AIA), but more research is required on the economic impact.  From the preliminary draft work, projected revisions would be to include the amount of façade that needs to be treated to be bird-safe.

 

Commissioner Wald commended the work on this project. She stated that she is interested in monitoring as a way to explore ways to measure the success of both the required treatments and the voluntary efforts so that decisions could be made on whether changes should be made to the standards.  Figuring out how to track the results would be extremely useful. Ms. Rodgers reported that large-scale monitoring has not been done in San Francisco, and that Ms. Weeden of the Golden Gate Audubon Society could report on monitoring that has been attempted.  She explained that monitoring is quite rigorous because of the hours required walking in San Francisco in an urban setting and counting bird casualties is not something that people want to do.  Commissioner Gravanis inquired about what was done in Toronto.  Ms. Rodgers reported that Toronto and Seattle had a rigorous monitoring program of volunteers.  Commissioner Wald suggested starting with small areas of the city.  Director Nutter inquired whether the Animal Welfare and Control Department could assist in the effort.  Ms. Rodgers reported that only volunteers have been discussed at this point.  A discussion was held about how the current budget could influence involvement by other departments.   

 

Mr. Palmer reported that large expansive glass is a very desirable aesthetic to architects and building owners, but there is a trade-off with energy-efficiency.  He stated that even high-performance glass is not the best insulator. As you increase the amount of glass you use, you decrease energy-efficiency and increase the hazard to birds. It does coincide with efforts to make buildings more energy-efficient by decreasing the amount of glass designed into buildings.  Commissioner Wald suggested that the City can work on making architects understand that fundamental fact by holding a conference to talk about bird-safe and energy-safe standards.  Mr. Palmer stated that Ms. Rodgers’ outreach to AIA is important because they can be a good carrier of these messages through their educational forums. Director Nutter stated that some of the existing green building conferences could hold a workshop.  Ms. Rodgers stated that staff is hopeful that the Department of the Environment could help with some outreach and education but knows that the current economy may prevent that.  She discussed the importance of education and outreach with this type of issue.

 

Mr. Broomhead stated that bird-safe glazing seems to be the right approach.  Commissioner Wald stated that many people have walked into plate-glass walls. Ms. Rodgers stated that Ms. Sheppard from the American Bird Conservancy reported that people cannot see glass, but know how to read the architectural detail around glass to understand there is a window there.  The difference is that people run into the glass at less than 5 miles an hour and birds run into it at 30 miles an hour.  Mr. Palmer stated that there are differences between the way birds and humans visually perceive things, so there is a lot of science that needs to be worked on.   Mr. Broomhead reported on a recent bird collision on a glass window that contained silhouettes. Ms. Rodgers stated there has been testing on what makes glass safe, but it is not known what the risk reduction is by not treating 100% of the glass, which is something that may not be feasible in San Francisco because of unavailable technology.  The research says that you need something smaller than the size of a hand in order to prevent collisions, so decals would only work if there is space closer than the size of a hand.

 

Director Nutter suggested contacting architectural and planning students to work on categorizing the most high-risk buildings instead of representing the activity as simply looking for bird casualties. Ms. Rodgers explained that there has been no funding assigned to this project and has been added to her regular activities.  She is working with an intern on GIS tracking to identify where the large parks are that are over an acre in size that would trigger these requirements, but beyond that there is not enough time to invest in this effort. She has conducted outreach to universities working in biological studies, the Academy of Sciences, and Randall Museum, but has not received interest from volunteers.  She asked for help in finding connections to round up volunteers.  Commissioner Gravanis suggested that the Golden Gate Audubon Society add a request in its bird lists asking if people would be willing to serve as volunteers. 

 

Commissioner Gravanis suggested that the Committee propose a Resolution of support for the Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings document for the Commission to consider at the December 7 meeting.  The Resolution could (1) encourage incorporating some kind of monitoring in order to measure the effectiveness of the program and determine whether the requirements are stringent enough, or if the voluntary methods are working well enough; (2) encourage that the standards not be weakened; and (3) suggest a focus on the lower areas where the canopy can be reflected.  Commissioner Wald inquired whether a representative from the AIA could be contacted to attend the Commission meeting to support this effort.  Ms. Rodgers stated that she would provide Commission Secretary Fish with a list of architects, developers, large builder owners, and interested parties to send a notice of meeting to.

 

Public Comment:  Ms. Lurilla Harris stated that birds respond to movement and suggested some type of glass that reflects movement, a motion sensor.   She inquired whether universities and colleges that have an interest in birds could be contacted for volunteer efforts. Commissioner Wald stated that educational institutions have been contacted, but interest has not been expressed as of yet.        

 

5.   Draft Strategic Plans Presentation on the Climate, Energy Efficiency, and Renewable Energy Programs and Commissioner Feedback.  Sponsors: Director Melanie Nutter and Commissioner Johanna Wald; Speakers: Cal Broomhead, Energy and Climate Program Manager; Calla Ostrander, Climate Action Coordinator; Ann Kelly, Energy Efficiency Program Manager; Danielle Murray, Renewable Energy Program Manager (Explanatory Documents:  Climate, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Draft Strategic Plans) (Discussion)

 

Director Nutter reported that the entire department is embarking upon a Strategic Planning process.  Every program area is putting together a draft Strategic Plan with a high-level vision of why the program exists, program goals, and specific actions to implement to achieve goals.  In response to Commissioner’s request to be part of the process, Director Nutter invited staff, Mr. Broomhead, Ms. Ostrander and Ms. Murray, who have presented on their draft plans to senior staff, to present their plans to Committee members today. Commissioner Wald reported that the Commission has not been very involved in the strategic planning of the Department until now and have talked about being more involved in order to assist in the effort. 

 

Mr. Broomhead distributed amended versions of the Energy Strategic Plan 2011-2013 and Climate Strategic Plan 2011-2013 Drafts.  He reported that a discussion would be held first on climate and then efficiency and renewable energy as two of the components of the path.  Transportation would be another element of what needs to happen that would be discussed at a future date.

 

Mr. Broomhead reported that the Department started on this climate effort by hiring a staff person about four years ago to work on a field that has been expanding very quickly with many different approaches to choose from to address solutions to problems.  There are so many different protocols and software available, different registries with different standards, and the state and federal governments and everyone else have a different view about what they want to incorporate. Mr. Broomhead commended Ms. Ostrander for her part in determining the best direction to head in.  He explained that the vision is beginning to change from just counting on greenhouse gas emissions such as electricity, natural gas, and vehicle fuels to shifting to the throughput, which is a huge part of the footprint, e.g., commodity production. The problem is that San Francisco does not have industrial capacity and has to outsource which plays a part in accountability.

 

Ms. Ostrander discussed the Climate Action Program Strategic Plan 2011-13 Draft (see explanatory document).  She reported that the first paragraph describes the background, the national policy, and the context for community-wide greenhouse gas goals.  The second paragraph describes the current progress made toward achieving our greenhouse gas reductions.  We have achieved a seven percent reduction below the 1990 level, which is good, and we have thirteen percent to go.  The third paragraph looks at that thirteen percent where we are expecting to get reductions and identifying the gaps where more policy is needed.  Three areas that are highlighted (transportation, natural gas consumption, and increased local renewable power production and procurement) reflect where the focus has to be expanded in order to meet those greenhouse gas reduction goals. The final paragraph is always changing and is the policy role that the City and County of San Francisco plays in our societal context.  It is the vision statement of how we deliver policy to the community.  Director Nutter reported that the format Ms. Ostrander is presenting is being used for all of the plans, e.g., to lay out the national perspective, where we are today, what we still need to do, and the City’s role.   

Ms. Ostrander reported on the objectives and actions for each of the two goals in the Strategic Plan (see explanatory document for a detailed list of goals, objectives, and actions).  The two goals discussed included:

 

1.      Goal 1. To reduce San Francisco’s contribution to climate change to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.  The goals do not address all the benchmarks along the way which is a 20% by 2012; 25% by 2017, goals for 2025, 2030, and 2050 goals.  Those goals will be conducted in the update of the Communitywide Climate Plan.  Each goal in the Strategic Plan contains a set of objectives and each set of objectives contains actions.

 

Objective A of the first goal is to calculate and certify San Francisco’s Municipal greenhouse gas emissions, track and publicize results.  One of the actions to achieve this goal is to implement departmental Climate Action Plans, which the Policy Committee heard a presentation on at the October 25, 2010 meeting.  Ms. Ostrander stated that one of the strategies that would be included is the Committee’s suggestion of writing a letter to departments thanking them for their work in this effort.  The other action was to create an operational framework to support regular data reporting through a third-party vendor.  Right now it takes two and a half people full time to do data uploading which is unsustainable. 

 

Objective B is to calculate and certify San Francisco’s community greenhouse gas emissions, track and publicize results, which is the same as Objective A except that it is at the community-wide level.  This includes updating the Community-wide Climate Action Plan.  Traditionally, using the Kyoto protocol, greenhouse gas emissions have been looked at from a sector basis of the economy, e.g. transportation and building sectors. That is being expanded to include not only the supply side, but the demand side of the economy--how can the materials management of our economy be framed? There will be a review of consumption--the things we have bought, where they come from, how they are packaged, how much is consumed, how much we throw away and how they are processed once they are thrown away. There will be a review of how to expand that framework by dealing with waste management--how to reduce waste before it gets to the landfill and what the individual can do.  Right now, an individual looks at the Climate Plan and sees don’t drive, turn off your lights, print on double-sided paper, but there is no mention about choosing the local product without packaging over the product packaging from other countries.  Instead of buying too much food and throwing it away, buy what you need. 

 

Director Nutter reported that she and Ms. Ostrander had recently attended the Green Cities conference in Santa Barbara where almost the entire discussion was about consumption--how you track it, what local cities can do, and should do on raising awareness.  There will be discussion on how to incorporate this message into outreach to the community. Commissioner Wald suggested adding this objective to the municipal sector because the City purchases commodities and buys and throws things away.  Ms. Ostrander and Mr. Broomhead reported that the municipal sector is reflected in Strategic Plan Action 1.  She stated that she would make this action more clear.  Ms. Ostrander reported that the next departmental climate action meeting is all on green purchasing.  She explained that the difference between municipal and community-wide is solely based on the fact that there is direct control over municipal activities, but not community. The data points are clearer at the municipal level, e.g., building energy usage is known, etc., whereas for the community level it is not. 

 

Objective C is to develop an internal infrastructure and external strategic relationships to inform and support climate policy and community education.  Once the Climate Plan is in place and a determination has been made on what sectors we need to get reductions from and how to do so, actions to take would include (1) reducing natural gas in the community.  Natural gas consumption continues to go up and unlike electricity where you could make it cleaner, natural gas stays the same--it is a fossil fuel.  Natural gas reductions can be achieved in a lot of buildings; (2) supporting the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) in implementing its Electricity Resources Plan, specifically in Community Choice Aggregation and an internal rate structure, both of which have huge implications in the ability to produce and procure renewable energy.  The ability to clean up the electricity emissions factor has been the single largest contributor to cities reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.  The cities that have reduced the most and have actually achieved their reduction goals have increased their renewables and electricity locally; and (3) to develop a Climate Action campaign with emphasis on personal consumption.  The other actions are ongoing except for the addition of assisting in the development of a Community Risk Reduction Plan linking greenhouse has emissions and criteria pollutants for public health purposes.     

    

2.      Goal 2.  To develop and implement a Climate Adaptation Plan.  The Mayor’s Office is the lead on the Climate Adaptation Plan with the SFPUC Water Utility and the Department of the Environment’s participation.  Director Nutter suggested adding co-sponsorship of the Climate Adaptation Resilience Conference with the Bay Area, San Jose and Oakland as an action.  Mr. Broomhead stated that these are areas that San Francisco has to address because bay waters are rising and will be creating problems at Ocean Beach with the sewage outfall.  The city infrastructure has to be dealt with.  Director Nutter reported that this action incorporates public health, environmental justice, and emergency response. 

 

Ms. Ostrander reported that these Strategic Plan goals have been set for the next three years and will be updated next year.  Commissioner Gravanis reported that she is impressed with the work and ambitiousness of the Plan and hopes that staff and resources can be found to achieve these goals. She stated that in terms of adaptation planning, the SFPUC has been looking at the sewage outfall infrastructure because of the impacts of sea-level rise.  She stated that so much of our shoreline habitat is going to be flooded and gone, and there is no place for our wetland habitat to move to.  Agencies often times use the term “managed retreat” when asked how they plan to deal with sea-level rise; but you can’t manage your retreat if you don’t have any place to retreat to.  One of the things to start doing is to prohibit and gradually phase out development in areas where it is expected that the managed retreat will move to.  

 

A discussion was held on the correlation between climate adaptation and land use and the Department’s role.  Ms. Ostrander reported that development of the climate field is moving rapidly toward the planning direction with oversight of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and SB375. Climate planning is also evolving to look at habitat restoration. She is currently working with San Francisco Planning Department staff to add climate into every element of the General Plan once it is updated.  Mr. Broomhead reported that the Department of the Environment had initially provided comments on revisions to the BCDC General Plan. Commissioner Gravanis stated that it is important to start talking about the impacts of climate change on species other than humans.  Mr. Broomhead stated that a Bay Area Wetlands Conference is needed on how to respond to climate change.  Commissioner Gravanis stated that it is valuable to know what the region is doing, but stressed that a local approach and action is necessary for San Francisco’s local wetlands.  Ms. Ostrander and Mr. Broomhead reported that future Strategic Plans would include a more robust plan for climate adaptation.   

 

Mr. Broomhead discussed the Energy Strategic Plan Draft for 2011-13 (see explanatory document for narrative and a list of objectives and actions).  The one goal for energy is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in buildings to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2012 (330,000 metric tons from the 2008 level). This goal is divided into two objectives and actions--one is related to energy efficiency and the other to renewables. The Strategic Plan Draft narrative (see explanatory document) provides an overview of (a) energy use in the United States and San Francisco’s role; (b) program goals for reducing energy use in buildings and developing renewable resources; (3) efforts to achieve more greenhouse gas reductions directed towards natural gas reductions; (4) program coordination with other agencies, and (5) strategies for campaigns, financing, and new legislation.  Mr. Broomhead discussed the actions associated with the Energy Strategic Plan objective for maximizing energy efficiency of commercial and residential buildings (explanatory Document Objective A, pages 1-2). 

 

Ms. Ann Kelly reported that the Energy Watch program is her main focus of work.  The Department has a three-year contract with PG&E for approximately $12 million that started this year and goes through 2012.  The program has reached 44 percent of its total three-year goal and 327 percent of its three-year natural gas reduction goal.  She commended the Department’s boiler retrofit program and the staff person that has been working on it.  Ms. Kelly explained that the program will be finished in two years instead of three in terms of current funding and meeting current goals, so part of the goal is to convince PG&E, who also benefits from the achieved goals, to allocate more funding for the third year.  Mr. Broomhead reported that Action 11 of the Strategic Plan is to advocate for an alternative administration of those funds away from utilities, which may pose a problem when requesting more funding from PG&E. Ms. Kelly reported that many other cities and entities would like to see the administration changed. Commissioner Wald suggested identifying alternate methods of approaching PG&E for additional funding by speaking with higher-level management and providing them with statistics showing the program’s success.  Mr. Broomhead commended the team working on this program and his desire to retain the current team by ensuring their job security.  Director Nutter reported that she is committed to pursuing this strategy and thinks there will be an opportunity to strengthen collaboration in the next four to six weeks.  Ms. Kelly reported that during this period, there will be a lot of activity in a proceeding about the Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) bill.

 

Mr. Broomhead reported that the home weatherization project has achieved a whole different level of science and new level of bureaucracy that is putting a delay in launching the program.  He explained that the local contractor base does not have the capacity to invest in training staff and buying the necessary equipment to run this program.  It is difficult to expand the contractor base in this marketplace because many of these small businesses are remodeling contractors that do not want to become business people.  The success of the program is unsure at this time.   

 

Ms. Murray reported that the Energy program starts with efficiency and then goes to renewables to meet any demand that is still left in a building. The overall objective of developing renewable energy resources in San Francisco is to displace 30,000 metric tons of CO2 annually by 2012 (a ten-to-one ratio from the energy-efficiency side) and achieving 50 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy generation, which is comparable to 900 megawatts of demand in the city on peak days.  It is still quite small.  Ms. Murray discussed the actions under this objective for policy/advocacy, outreach/education and new generation as described in the Strategic Plan Energy Draft (explanatory document Objective B, page 2).

 

Commissioner Gravanis inquired whether there is a program directed at influencing individual behavior change. She stated that Objective A, Action 4 addresses implementing programs to educate tenants on energy-efficiency, but does not address how individuals can change their own personal behavior, e.g., the difference in behavior change between purchasing a more energy-efficient light bulb and one where you would turn off the light when you don’t need it, etc.  Mr. Broomhead reported that the K-12 School Education program is incorporating climate and energy into their messages, but that it may be time to update those messages.  He explained that the federal stimulus money is being used to hire or pay community based non-profits to educate tenants. A private-sector run education program is needed to work on one-to-one community relationships to make an impact.

 

Director Nutter reported that the Eco Map that demonstrates what both the individual carbon footprint is in comparison to the neighborhood is not currently working, but is being reviewed by its creator, Cisco, for an update that can help analyze what personal action can be taken. Mr. Broomhead reported that there are residential and commercial tenants. The commercial tenants have employees that include a lot of people.  Two-thirds of residents are in apartment buildings, and there are a number in single-family homes, most of which are home owners.  Ms. Kelly reported that most of the energy efficiency funds throughout the state have come through the utilities and have a strict measurement.  They do not receive credit unless they can prove something happened, and behavioral changes are hard to prove.  There is no current incentive given for behavior change.  In the last few years, there has been more emphasis on making behavioral change a key part of the program, partly because of a statewide interest in meeting climate goals. There are companies in Sacramento putting forth more ideas on how to document behavior change, so there may be more incentives as a result.

 

Mr. Broomhead reported that a company called OPower collected information from Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) on homeowner activity in a particular neighborhood to see how they compare to other homes with similar occupancy and building type.  This activity requires a supply of monthly data to analyze and supplying that data back to the people who are participating.  He explained that PG&E is not willing to supply the data to the Department, but that OPower says they are still in negotiation with PG&E to acquire the data. The other possibility is a community rewards program where people participate in a program, take some action, it gets recorded in some way, and points are earned that may come back to their building or neighborhood association as an amenity for the community or individuals. Director Nutter stated that the Eco Map could be integrated into a rewards program.  Mr. Broomhead stated that Climate Objective C, number 4, is to develop a Climate Action Campaign with emphasis on personal consumption.  Commissioner Wald stated that Commissioner Gravanis’s proposal could be integrated into that kind of campaign.  Ms. Murray reported that personal behavior change may not be specifically called out in the actions, but is included in outreach efforts.

 

Commissioner Wald inquired whether there is a back-up plan to Community Choice Aggregation (CCA).  Ms. Ostrander reported that she initially created her Strategic Plan without CCA, but included it to show the importance and support for the program. She explained that reduction goals would not be met without a higher renewable mix in the electricity factor.  The overarching theme for all of these plans is relationships with utilities, whether it our utility, PG&E or PUC.  Director Nutter reported that PUC is working on bids for CCA to see whether one company can provide the required service.  She reported on Marin County’s approach that was discussed at the Green Cities Conference, which was to go through a broker to get the renewable mix that they wanted for their CCA.  There should be a discussion about how to keep CCA alive in a different form in San Francisco. 

 

Mr. Broomhead stated that the Department of the Environment would need to develop an energy-efficiency plan if CCA is implemented because it is charged with operating that program.  If CCA is not implemented, available programs would consist of Energy Watch, stimulus fund programs, and other activities, but there won’t be as much funding to move programs forward.  Ms. Kelly reported that she is a member of the Electricity Resources Plan Advisory Committee that is in the final stages of submitting their plan to the Public Utilities Commission.  She reported that a final set of comments is being taken at this time from the community, the technical committee, and environmental stewards. A draft of the plan is posted on the PUC website.  She reported that the Electricity Resources Plan has to be consistent with the Strategic and Climate Plans. 

 

Public Comment:  Ms. Lurilla Harris reported that PG&E has a low-income residential program that consists of services such as providing light bulbs, weatherizing windows and attics, etc. and discussed the correlation of this program with the request for PG&E to provide data on each housing unit.  Mr. Broomhead reported that the information that they would like to acquire is proprietary data on each housing unit in the building and what its monthly energy use is in order to feed the information back to the occupants to see how they are doing in comparison to other people with similar occupancy and similar building types.  PG&E will only give out this information if a waiver is issued.  Director Nutter reported that PG&E is working on either going through a third-party vendor or getting someone in-house to work on this program. Mr. Broomhead reported that the CPUC is influencing PG&E in this direction.  Commissioner Wald proposed that the Commission send PG&E a letter asking them to provide the data.  The letter would state that based on the experience of other cities, it would be helpful to provide this type of information to residents in order to achieve goals.  Ms. Ostrander suggested involving the PG&E government representative to discuss the climate plan process and goals.     

 

Ms. Harris stated that Objective B, Item 6, discusses marketing solar water through a state incentive program and asked whether the program is limited to state incentives.  Ms. Murray reported that the California Solar Incentive program’s focus has been on solar, photovoltaics (which create electricity) for the last few years, and just this year they have created a new part of that program for solar water heating. She explained that there is not an in-city incentive for solar water heating, but there is a great one at the state level.  More outreach and marketing is being done to make sure the public knows that it is available.  Ms. Harris stated that she would like the city to offer a similar program. Mr. Broomhead stated that if San Francisco becomes a CCA, there could be a solar program to go after electric water heating, but the money cannot be used for natural gas water heaters because that is electricity ratepayer money that is not to be used for natural gas.  Ms. Harris also provided an editorial comment noting that “green house” should be one word “greenhouse”.

 

Commissioner Gravanis stated that there is a lecture this Wednesday evening at the Pacific Energy Center by Chris Hammer on “What does behavior have to do with energy efficiency?  We often look to technology to capture energy savings, what about the behavior of energy in the home and workplace?”  Ms. Hammer will discuss occupant actions that save energy, discuss social science research on behavior and energy and review case studies of organizations that implemented behavior change programs.  Ms. Murray reported on a state conference that staff will be attending on this subject.  Mr. Broomhead stated that the City’s stimulus-funded program has teamed up with the Stanford Institute to focus on behavior change in relation to climate change, adopting energy efficiency in the home, and how to best sell home performance.    

            

6.   Director’s Report and Updates.  Speaker: Melanie Nutter, Director (Informational Report and Discussion) Director Nutter reported on the Green Cities Conference in Santa Barbara that she attended along with Deputy Director Assmann and Ms. Ostrander. The two main topics were on CCA and how to implement it in the community.  She expressed her interest in the SFPUC bids for CCA and the approach that will be taken.  The other topic of discussion was on consumption and the idea that it is the new sustainability frontier for cities.  Portland is working on an interesting campaign called “Being Resourceful” and is doing social science work on how to talk about reducing consumption without pushing “hot button” issues. This topic will be discussed internally in the Department.

 

Director Nutter announced that the Department of the Environment had a great presence at the Green Festival, staffing a table, making presentations and sitting on different panels.  Director Nutter participated in a panel with Senator Mark Leno, Supervisor Mirkarimi and Environmental Protection Agency Representative, Enrique Epanilla, on the role of government in greening the economy.

 

Director Nutter reported on her discussion with Ms. Jennifer Matz, the new Director for the Office of Economic and Workforce Development on how the two departments can work together on how being green makes economic sense, putting together a clean-tech strategy, and focusing on green jobs in San Francisco.  Ms. Matz had asked for input from the Department on a short paragraph for the America’s Cup Letter of Agreement on how to make this the most sustainable zero waste America’s Cup the world has ever seen.   The America’s Cup team is committed to seeing sustainable measures. Commissioner Wald stated that there should be an emphasis on no single-serve water bottles.  Ms. Ostrander stated that the carbon fund should also play a role.

 

Director Nutter stated that work is continuing with Supervisor Mirkarimi on the drug take back ordinance which was postponed for four weeks to give industry an opportunity to come to the table.  Staff is helping the Supervisor’s Office to put together a stakeholder meeting to invite industry to talk about where they can play a role either by providing funding or running a drug-take back program.  This ordinance will be coming before the Board of Supervisors on November 23.  Staff is offering legislative fixes and amendments.

 

Director Nutter reported that she is working with the Outreach team to put together a plan for a large-scale public engagement campaign for the coming year similar to the Vancouver program, which is called “Talk Green to Us”.  Vancouver did a huge public process to engage the community in providing their feedback about ideas on how to be more sustainable and presented on their process to the Department’s Outreach team.  The Outreach team will be holding a half-day retreat next week to scope out what a public engagement campaign could look like for our department in San Francisco next year that will include a lot of program components.  

 

Commissioner Gravanis stated that it will be expensive to carry out a zero waste program and to deal with transportation for the event.  She hopes that the America’s Cup event organizers will be told that they should be committed to contributing the money necessary for the event, and to not assume that the Department of the Environment will provide all the resources.  She discussed the potential impacts on wildlife and marine mammals of the bay, ferry transportation, and ability of the public to use our water resources for sailing, kayaking and other activities.  Commissioner Gravanis suggested that event sponsors be asked to stage the event so that it minimizes impacts on recreational uses of the bay and on wildlife.  She expressed her concern for the welfare of the places where people are likely to go to observe the events, e.g., GGNRA Crissy Field and that communication be made that event sponsors should allocate enough money to the National Park Service to supply enough mounted police, fencing, and staffing to reduce the impact on Crissy Field. There are similar concerns for Yerba Buena Island.  She stated that the potential environmental impacts are huge and hopes that there is an opportunity for staff to make those points and impress upon the event organizers that a lot has to be invested to make the event sustainable.  Director Nutter reported that the event sponsors are aware of the potential impacts and that she is happy that the Department is at the table at this phase to discuss protection and mitigation of funding.  Commissioner Gravanis suggested that there be a discussion with Norcal about zero waste considerations, e.g., how many tons we can anticipate, how many bins are needed, how to educate the public on which bins to use, and staffing the bins.  Additional discussions should be around transportation and how to get people to and around the waterfront.  Commissioner Wald stated that the Victory Parade will provide lessons to build on in terms of this event, but not exclusively in terms of transportation.

 

7.   Announcements. (Discussion)  Commissioner Gravanis announced that a workshop would be held on November 18, 2010 on alternatives to putting a recycled water plant in Golden Gate Park.  Director Nutter invited Commissioners to attend the Department’s all-staff meeting on November 17, 2010, 9:30 a.m. at the War Memorial.  Recommendations for adjustments to the Department’s website and staff feedback will be discussed, and there will be a presentation on the fall outreach campaign. 

 

8.   New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion)  The next Policy Committee meeting is scheduled for December 13, 2010, 5:00 p.m.  Strategic Plan Drafts for Toxics Reduction, Zero Waste, Green Building, EnvironmentNow and possibly Environmental Justice are scheduled to be heard at that meeting.  Commissioner Wald requested a written report update on single-serve bottled water at city events.

 

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 Policy Committee meeting adjourned at 7:15 p.m.

 

Monica Fish, Commission Secretary, TEL:  (415) 355-3709; FAX: (415) 554-6393

Approved:  December 13, 2010

 

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