07.24 Approved Minutes


CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO

COMMISSION ON THE ENVIRONMENT

 

REGULAR MEETING

APPROVED MINUTES

Tuesday, July 24, 2007, 5:00 P.M.

City Hall, Room 416

One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

San Francisco, CA 94102


 

COMMISSION MEMBERS:  Commissioners Paul Pelosi Jr. (President); Johanna Wald (Vice President), Ruth Gravanis, Angelo King, Jane MarieFrancis Martin, Alan Mok, and Darian Rodriguez Heyman

 
Commission Secretary:  Monica Fish

 

ORDER OF BUSINESS

Public comment will be taken before the Commission takes action on any item.

 

1.      Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Commission on the Environment Meeting was called to order at 5:10 p.m.  Present:  President Pelosi Jr. (5:25 p.m.), Commissioners Gravanis, King, Martin, Mok, and Rodriguez Heyman.  Excused: Vice President Wald. Commissioner King was elected Chair until President Pelosi joined the meeting.  Introductions of new Commissioners were made.

 

2.      Adoption of Minutes of the May 22, 2007 Regular Commission Meeting (Action). Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis and second by Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman, the May 22, 2007 Commission Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (Ayes: Commissioners Gravanis, King, Martin, Mok, and Rodriguez Heyman; Absent:  President Pelosi Jr. and Vice President Wald) (Explanatory Document:  Approved Minutes of the May 22, 2007 Regular Commission Meeting).

 

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

 

4.      City Government Waste Reduction and Recycling.  An update will be given on Resource Conservation Ordinance compliance by City Departments (Presentation and Discussion) (Explanatory Documents:  Resource Conservation Ordinance – 2006 Annual Report and Presentation.

SPONSOR:  David Assmann, Deputy Director

SPEAKER:  Julia Chang, City Recycling Coordinator

 

Ms. Chang reported that she has worked with City departments for the past five years on waste reduction efforts and highlighted some of the achievements and challenges in City government recycling and compliance with the Resource Conservation Ordinance, the law that requires City Departments to recycle.  It was stated that the City of San Francisco produces two million tons of waste per year, and our 2005-diversion (amount of waste recycled, reused, and diverted from the landfill) rate was 69%.  It was reported that San Francisco’s recycling program is divided by customer type that includes the commercial, residential and municipal sectors.  Ms. Chang manages the waste for municipal facilities, which accounts for 14% of all of San Francisco’s waste.

 

Ms. Chang discussed the wide range of City government facilities and operation types that include office buildings, the Opera House, Recreation and Park Stadium, Public Health (hospitals), Fire Department (firefighters), and Public Works (street cleaning).  A discussion was held on the challenges faced in starting new recycling programs and the positive aspect of being able to reference City law to motivate departments to improve their recycling. Ms. Chang presented a summary of waste reduction laws and policies that include the Resource Conservation Ordinance, City Composting Resolution, Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance, and 75% Waste Diversion Resolution by 2010 for City Departments.  It was explained that recycling is not currently mandatory for businesses and residents, so City government’s waste reduction laws serve as an example of how mandatory recycling can assist in meeting the City’s diversion goals.

 

Sources of City Government Waste by City Departments

 

·         Department of Public Works (DPW) Construction & Demolition Waste.  The majority of City government recycling tonnage is a result of construction and demolition waste from City buildings.  Construction waste is easy to recycle and reuse, e.g. the California Academy of Science Museum rebuild, where 90% diversion was achieved. The Department’s Recycling Program staff works with the Department of Public Works, who manages these projects, to develop recycling standards for construction projects.

 

DPW Trash from Public Streets.  The biggest challenge is trash from public streets and parks.  Only 16% of 55,000 tons of waste per year from public trash containers and mechanical-street sweeping operations is recycled as it is expensive and hazardous to separate recycles from public trash.  The Department, DPW, and Recreation and Park Department through a Department of Conservation grant will install over 250 recycling tops on existing trash receptacles in high traffic areas to make it easier for scavengers to retrieve bottles and cans.  However, there are thousands of City public receptacles and funding is not available for all of them.  DPW is reducing the number of public trash receptacles on the streets, which provides less opportunity to do the wrong thing.

 

Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman asked if the Department had considered separate receptacles for recyclables only.  Ms. Chang stated that the reason for installing the tops is because they are self-service and will facilitate scavenging--there is not a hauler that collects from those tops.  The economics and the feasibility of separate cans have been studied, but the problem that has been encountered is contamination, as a lot of the public does not put the right material in the right bins.  However, separate recycling cans are being pilot tested through an effort with the Recreation and Park Department.

 

·         Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Biosolids from Wastewater. Another large source of City government waste is sewage waste that consists of wastewater from homes, businesses, and stormwater drains which is processed at PUC treatment plants.  The clean solids (90%) are reused as fertilizer or landfill construction.  The challenge is maintaining recycling markets for biosolids, and the Department is working with PUC to ensure that facilities continue to accept San Francisco biosolids for land application.

 

·         Composting of Recreation and Park Yard Waste.  The Recreation and Park Department manages over 2000 acres of parks throughout the City.  The yard waste from the parks is brought to Golden Gate Park and composted on-site. 10,000 tons of landscape trimmings are turned into compost that is sent back to neighborhood parks. The Department helped Recreation and Park Department pay for equipment used in their composting operations.

 

·         Sheriff’s Department—Composting Food Waste from Jails.   Some City departments that generate food waste send their food scraps off-site to be composted.  The Hall of Justice is the third largest waste generator by City location.  The Department has assisted the Sheriff’s Department who manages the jail at the Hall of Justice with training, equipment and compostable bags to start the program.  They now compost over 500,000 pounds per year; their diversion rate jumped from 20 to 47 percent; and they are saving $32,000 per year on trash costs.  Composting food scraps is a challenge because non-compostable food service ware, such as plastic, needs to be separated. Food scrap collection programs at all departments have not yet been implemented, but the new Foodservice Waste Reduction Ordinance will assist in this effort as it requires City departments to buy only recyclable or compostable foodservice ware.  The Department is working with hospitals to make sure they purchase the right type of service-ware to facilitate food scrap collection.

 

·         Administrative Offices—Recycling Paper, Bottles, and Cans.   All City government offices have paper and cardboard recycling and most have bottle and can recycling.  On average, offices recycle 50% of their waste.  The Department provides departments with recycling bins, stickers, and trainings to implement the programs.

 

Reuse of City Equipment Virtual Warehouse.  The Virtual Warehouse is a program that facilitates the exchange of City department equipment such as office furniture and electronics.  Over 30 tons of City equipment was reused in 2006, with a market value of over $52,000.

 

City Government Waste Generation.  The City through implementation of all of these programs achieved an 85% diversion rate in 2005 because of an unusually large amount of demolition waste.  The average rate would be approximately 80%.  The Department still has work to do to get City departments to fully participate in recycling and composting programs as some departments divert less than 30% of their waste.

 

Outreach to City Employees.  The Department’s main strategy is to educate and train City employees by working with each department’s recycling coordinator.  In this past year, 94% of departments completed annual recycling reports, the highest compliance rate since the inception of the Resource Conservation Ordinance.  Department staff holds annual recycling coordinator workshops and works with coordinators to train their co-workers.  In 2006 alone, presentations were made to over 600 City employees on waste reduction procedures.

 

Resources to City Departments.  Since there are over 1000 City locations, the Department relies on recycling coordinators to make simple recycling improvements to their offices, and the Department serves as a resource.  The Department conducts waste audits and site visits to understand each department’s operations and opportunities for improvement; provides signage, recycling containers and other necessary equipment; and demonstrates financial benefits of reducing waste.  The Department has helped City departments save over $450,000 annually on trash service costs and over $100,00 on purchasing costs.

 

Make it easy to recycle and reduce waste.  The Department has set up programs to make it easy for City departments to recycle e.g., positioning trash, recycling, and composting bins together, promoting resource conservation, use of double-sided feature on photocopy machines, conversion of paper towel dispensers to electric hand driers. 

 

Work with City Vendors.  Ensure that City products are made of recycled content, require City vendors to reduce the amount of packaging and make sure it’s recyclable, and where possible include environmental requirements in service contracts. 

 

Enforcement.  The Mayor, Board of Supervisors and Commission on the Environment are part of the enforcement process to ensure the success of the program.  The Department tracks how much each department recycles and composts and provides feedback to Recycling Coordinators and Department heads with their diversion rate.  The top 15 City waste generators’ diversion rate is supplied to SFStat, the City’s public report of department performance measures.  A Mayor’s Directive was issued last fall to department heads summarizing all of the City government recycling laws and goals, and meetings have been held with Directors to discuss their Department’s recycling efforts.  Several departments have initiated recycling teams and MTA has hired a full time recycling coordinator.  There has been recent progress, but the challenge will be sustaining the momentum and tackling projects such as food scrap collection, public recycling, and helping City departments institutionalize waste reduction practices.

 

Ms. Chang announced that she would be leaving City government employment and acknowledged Ms. Julie Bryant, City Recycling Associate, for her contribution and who would continue to work on recycling program efforts.

 

Commissioner Martin supported the concept of resource conservation and noted the Sheriff Department’s composting of over 500,000 pounds annually which if it is a 1000 bed facility works out to 7 lbs. per person per day.  Commissioner Martin asked if there was an audit prepared to determine if that much had been diverted to the dump.  Ms. Chang explained that the figure accounts for foodservice ware such as napkins, and paper towels, etc. but stated that a request should be made to the Sheriff’s Department to make sure they are more efficient with food distribution.

 

Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman asked if there had been outreach efforts to other municipalities to help them learn and use methods that have been effective in San Francisco.  Ms. Chang stated that there have been a couple of Northern California Recycling Coordinator group meetings on how to collaborate efforts.  The Department has also been approached by the Clinton Initiative to teach other municipalities from other states.  It was explained that Northern California groups were mostly on the same page, but other states would require more effort.  Ms. Chang stated that the most effective outreach method has been to share information through conferences.  Ms. Bryant would be making a presentation at the State Recycling Conference to educate other municipalities about the Department’s outreach.    

 

Commissioner Gravanis stated that sometimes department staff is willing to participate in recycling efforts, but the infrastructure is not available to accommodate the effort.  Commissioner Gravanis stated that there are various Public Utilities Commission (PUC) meetings held at 1145 and 1155 Market Street and indicated that the people are willing to compost and to buy compostable plates, but there is no pickup of compostables and no place to store them.  Is there a way from a building or a floor level, that pickup service could be requested?  Ms. Chang stated that if a department would be willing to take that on as a project, the Department would support them.  It was stated that the Department of Human Resources just instituted a food scrap composting within their office space.  Before that, the Department of the Environment was the only department composting within an office.  The priority at this time is to focus where most of the food is generated, e.g. San Francisco General and Laguna Honda Hospitals, and they have yet to start programs. However, if a department would be willing to start the program, the Department would accommodate them. 

 

Commissioner King stated that the motivation for a lot of people to start recycling would be to offset garbage costs. From a neighborhood level, they are just getting people to recycle, but it has been tough to get people to compost.  Commissioner King suggested making it profitable for City departments and community members to compost in order to provide incentives to the program.  Ms. Chang stated that a lot of outreach has been done to discuss the financial incentives of composting, but the people that are being met with don’t always see the trash bill so there is no connection made. It was explained that the Department recently held a workshop with department finance officers to teach them about the financial incentives. Commissioner King recommended offering Recycling Coordinators a bonus for taking on an additional task that is not part of their initial job description in order to provide incentives for them to reach higher goals.  Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman recommended adding a logo to their business card with their Recycling Coordinator title.  Ms. Chang stated that staff tries to do as much positive enforcement as they can and will email the department head about a stellar performance by a Recycling Coordinator.  It was stated that the Department would continue to work on this effort.

 

5.      Report on Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance progress and presentation of San Francisco Approved Product List. (Presentation and Discussion) (Explanatory Documents:  Progress Report on San Francisco's Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance , San Francisco Approved Product Lists,, and Product Category Scoresheet). 

SPONSOR:  Jared Blumenfeld, Director

SPEAKER:  Chris Geiger, City Toxics Reduction Coordinator

 

Ms. Debbie Raphael, Department of the Environment Toxics Reduction and Green Building Program Manager, stated that the Commission has been incredibly involved in San Francisco’s effort to implement the Precautionary Principle.  It was explained that after the Precautionary Principle Ordinance was created the Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance was implemented in order to apply the themes of precaution to City government purchases.  Ms. Raphael brought the Commissioners’ attention to the table on page 4, “Review on Implementation of San Francisco Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance, July 2005-July 2007”, that was created through an effort by non-profit organizations and City government to determine what we wanted to accomplish in the Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance.  The table shows overarching broad environmental goals that were agreed to and product categories that we buy that can impact those goals. 

 

Ms. Raphael described the table “Specifications addressed by San Francisco’s Green Purchasing Activities” which shows examples of what is being purchased and criteria used in which to judge and select products that are the most environmentally preferable.  It was stated that purchasing is a powerful step that local governments can take to effect change.  The criteria being used to determine which products are environmentally preferable is robust, transparent, and defensible.  We have created a real model for the rest of the country in demonstrating the capacity of purchasing to make change. 

 

Mr. Chris Geiger stated that Ms. Chang’s influence was very strong in the green purchasing and recycling programs and commended her work in outreach to City departments.  Credit was given to all staff members involved in green purchasing, Ms. Julie Bryant, Ms. Deanna Simon (lamps project), and Ms. Vandana Bali (biodiesel fuels).  Mr. Geiger explained that one of the most important priorities in the Ordinance was to have transparent democratic decision-making and to have the opportunity for the community and staff to be involved.  A series of three public meetings were well attended considering the topic was a discussion on City purchases.  The product of the meeting was the Targeted Product Categories List for 2006-08 required by the Ordinance to identify broad categories of products that the City considers to be its highest priority for implementing environmentally friendly purchasing specifications.  The process helped in developing a Product Category Scoresheet.  Once that process was completed, interaction began with City department end users that purchase/use the selected products.  Mr. Geiger reported that about 100 trainings or meetings were held with end users in the past two years since the Ordinance was established, and have now been expanded to include vendors.  

Mr. Geiger reported that the Green Purchasing Program worked on thirteen product types in nine citywide commodities contracts, with six of those contracts being awarded during the period of July 2005-July 2007 (page 3 of “Progress Report”).  Asterisks indicate new approved product lists that were developed. A detailed summary of those contracts were presented on and included on pages 5-17.

 

Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman asked about the mechanism that the departments use to buy the products. Mr. Geiger explained that the way most items are purchased is that the department purchaser calls up the vendor by telephone and say that they need a product.  The vendor will look on the City computer system and find out if there is a contract price for the product. It was stated that one of the big obstacles is accountability because this computer system does not allow easy auditing of the types of products that are actually being purchased.  At this time, there are no records that Mr. Geiger can access from the City computer system to indicate how many green products versus regular products are being purchased. However, the system is now budgeted for replacement. 

 

Commissioner King asked if there has been any consideration given in our Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance to buy locally so items are not being transported long distances because of fuel considerations, etc.  Mr. Geiger explained that there is a local business enterprise program through the Office of Contract Administration (OCA) that applies to all contracts that gives a preference to local business enterprises.  The Ordinance itself requires that an effort be made to find out whether products are produced locally.  Mr. Geiger stated that it would be a challenge to find out where the food comes from and to try to tailor our purchasing accordingly.

 

Mr. Geiger discussed the success of the lamps contract to buy energy efficient low mercury and long life lamps.  Before the environmentally preferable purchasing went into effect, the long life T8 fluorescent tube was about 3% of City purchases; it is now 69% of City purchases.  Even better, the low mercury tubes are up to 100%.  As a result of all of these efforts and the European Union, movement in the market has been noticed and all the major manufacturers of fluorescent tubes are lowering their mercury levels to the 5 milligram level. Recommendations were made to effectively implement the Ordinance, e.g. new software for OCA to determine what is being purchased off contract and not on the approved list and that would also produce reports and detail; to secure funding for a full-time Green Purchasing Coordinator; and to expand the Ordinance to include service contracts. 

 

Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman asked if there an outreach strategy to inform the business and residential community about something that has been discovered to be environmentally and economically preferable.  Mr. Geiger stated that these lists serve as an outreach tool to other institutional purchasers and will be used in the Green Business and Green Building programs. For example, if people want to know what janitorial products to purchase, you can refer them to the list. 

 

Commissioner Gravanis asked about the overall timeline for implementing the program. It was asked if there are specific product lists for seven of the ten targeted producted categories.  Mr. Geiger stated there are specific product lists for six or seven of the product categories at this time.  Commissioner Gravanis asked when there would be  specific product lists for all the product categories.  Mr. Geiger reported that two are being worked on right now with stakeholders, one being the computer contract and the other the food contract.  It was stated that it is very difficult to approximate how long these processes take, but they are aiming for early next year to complete the computer contract.  At that point, staff will start working with vendors and end users to develop a list of approved computers with a targeted completion date of the end of 2008.  Mr. Geiger explained that developing an ordinance or policy language relating to food may be difficult because there would have to be traceability in everything we buy, knowledge of its source, and how it is certified.  Another upcoming contract due to go out in March is for new lamps to raise the bar on mercury levels and energy efficiency.  Ms. Raphael explained that it is hard to answer the question because it is resource limited and is determined when contracts come out for bid.  Commissioner Gravanis asked to be notified if there is anything the Commission can do to help in this effort. 

 

Commissioner Martin recommended giving preferences to local products by using concentric differences, 50 miles, 100 miles, 300 miles, etc. and to encourage vendors to provide information of their product sources so even if they are a local enterprise, their products are also favored in those tiers as well.

    

6.      Solar Mapping Project.  The Commission will hear a presentation on the Department of the Environment’s mapping of existing solar projects throughout San Francisco and an estimate of solar potential on every rooftop in San Francisco (Presentation and Discussion) (Explanatory Document:  Presentation on Solar Mapping).  Solar mapping website is www.sf.solarmap.org.

SPONSOR:  Jared Blumenfeld, Director

SPEAKER:  Cal Broomhead, Energy Program Manager

 

Mr. Broomhead reported that the solar mapping project was thought of a couple of years ago and had since discovered that Marin County had already started a similar project. The Energy Group then started looking at aerial photographs, hand drawing, and then digitally drawing every rooftop to identify what the opportunities were for a solar system on each rooftop. A solar map of the City has been created www.sf.solarmap.org of all solar systems in San Francisco, and it was explained that you could access information on various projects (residential/commercial, municipal, Environmental Justice, solar powered business leaders) by clicking on the different colored dots.  It was reported that there are over 550 existing solar projects throughout the City. Mr. Broomhead reported that letters have been sent out to every solar project for which there is an address to ask them to sign a waiver so information can be provided.  Many sent back photos of themselves and testimonials that have been incorporated into the system. 

 

Mr. Broomhead explained that if you type in your address, you will see a view of your rooftop and information on your estimated solar PV potential, estimated electric bill savings, estimated carbon dioxide reduction, rebates and tax credit information, how to get a unit installed, how much solar you would need, links to cost estimates, solar installers, and other related links. It was stated that under the current California net metering law, you don’t want to install more power than is needed because at the end of the year all the excess power just goes to the wires and you don’t get any money back.  It was explained that the estimate was based on a conservative assumption that only 25% of the building's roof square footage (based on information received from the Tax Assessor’s Office) can be used for solar (to take into account roof pitch and direction, shading, roof obstructions, etc.).  The data is not always 100% accurate, and there are gaps in the Assessor's data, so you may find that information on your facility or building either isn't there or is different than what you know to be real.

 

Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman asked if the project factors in how sunny the neighborhood is or is based on the square footage at 25% of the roof.  Mr. Broomhead stated that he believes the cost estimator may factor the criteria in.  It was explained that there are a lot of clear cool days in San Francisco and that solar panels operate most effectively when it is clear and cold--the hotter it gets the lower the output.  Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman stated that the Sunset District is cloudier than the Mission District where it is usually sunny and asked if that was a factor.  Mr. Broomhead stated that is a factor, and that data is being gathered at this time.

 

Mr. Broomhead reported that there are 277 average hits on the website and interest has been shown from other local governments and municipal utilities from around the country.  The next steps are to hand-digitize the largest 2000 rooftops. The firm that provided the City with pro bono work to set this project up (CH2M Hill) has developed recognition software to automate the digitization process and to take account all of the rooftop obstructions and shade.  A review is being made of how accurate the information is and the project’s cost effectiveness. With an accurate estimate, we might have a much better idea of what the actual full potential is in San Francisco and whether the net metering law works against the City.  If the law were determined to work against the City in a significant amount, we would be recommending that the net metering law be changed.  We would like to get PG&E data to be automatically loaded into this program, so you would be able to get a much more detailed description of the advisable size of the solar system and its cost effectiveness. Mr. Broomhead stated that he hopes that solar sales people will be using this program to help target more projects.

 

Commissioner King commended the Department for its work on the project and suggested that more tools and mechanisms be developed to help people do more green projects.  Commissioner King spoke in support of future legislation to support the solar mapping project. 

 

Commissioner Martin asked when the 2000 additional rooftops would be added to the program.  Mr. Broomhead stated that they are being digitized in order to get an exact estimate. Commissioner Martin suggested that assumptions that have been made in the program should be shown so people reviewing an address can determine whether there are corrections to be made.  This information is provided on the website by clicking on the "How These Estimates Were Derived" link.  Mr. Broomhead stated that staff can answer any questions on how the assumptions are playing out in their particular situation and agreed with the suggestion to add an assumptions page on the website so people can understand how the work is being done.  Commissioner Martin asked if the accuracy of information being input into the system is being checked.   Mr. Broomhead stated that the information is sent to staff directly and then it is input by staff into the system—access is not given to the public to directly input into the system. 

 

Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman stated that (1) it would helpful to include a link or an email for people to respond to if their information seems to be inaccurate; (2) asked about the plan for maintenance of the system; and (3) inquired as to how the Department can provide outreach to other cities that may be interested in implementing similar programs. Mr. Broomhead stated that pro bono work was received from CH2M Hill because they plan to offer this as a product to other cities. Mr. Broomhead advised that outreach to San Francisco citizens could be done through piggybacking with other Department outreach activities currently in process.  Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman requested a presentation on SB451 net metering at the next Commission meeting. Deputy Director Assmann stated that these bills change almost daily until they are passed and will report back when the legislative session ends which will be prior to the next meeting. 

 

Commissioner King commended the Department for its work on the project and suggested that more tools and mechanisms be developed to help people do more green projects.  Commissioner King spoke in support of future legislation to support the solar mapping project. 

 

Commissioner Martin asked when the 2000 additional rooftops would be added to the program.  Mr. Broomhead stated that they are being digitized in order to get an exact estimate. Commissioner Martin suggested that assumptions that have been made in the program should be shown so people reviewing an address can determine whether there are corrections to be made.  Mr. Broomhead stated that assumptions may be hidden, but staff can answer any questions on how the assumptions are playing out in their particular situation and agreed with the suggestion to add an assumptions page on the website so people can understand how the work is being done.  It was later reported to the Commission that if you type in your address, then click on “How the estimates were derived” you will find the assumptions.  An explanation page is being considered on providing information and assumptions on the calculations, Commissioner Martin asked if the accuracy of information being input into the system is being checked.   Mr. Broomhead stated that the information is sent to staff directly and then it is input by staff into the system—access is not given to the public to directly input into the system. 

 

Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman stated that (1) it would be helpful to include a link or an email for people to respond to if their information seems to be inaccurate; (2) asked about the plan for website maintenance.  It was stated that the Department received a grant to create this program, but asked how would the program continue to be sustained and supported; and (3) inquired as to how the Department can provide outreach to other cities that may be interested in implementing similar programs. Mr. Broomhead stated the website is being maintained by CH2M Hill, the consultant who built the system pro bono.  A maintenance agreement will be developed. Mr. Broomhead advised that staff has tried to hand the work over to other local governments. It was explained that outreach to San Francisco citizens could be done through piggybacking with other Department outreach activities currently in process (and later corrected this statement to say that we will be doing outreach under our Solar American grant that we just won from United States DOE for $200,000 over a two year period).  Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman requested a presentation on SB451 net metering at the next Commission meeting. Deputy Director Assmann stated that these bills change almost daily until they are passed and will report back when the legislative session ends which will be prior to the next meeting. 

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Joel Kohn (sp) asked if the mapping project included a thermal component.  Mr. Broomhead stated that thermal water heating systems have not overlaid into the project, but would like to include those and cogeneration systems.  Mr. Broomhead announced that Department staff has a lot of upcoming ideas and will be presenting to the Commission in the future with additional information. 

 

7.      Carbon Credits.  The Commission will hear a presentation on the Department’s investigation of the development of San Francisco projects appropriate for earning carbon credits (Presentation and Discussion) (Explanatory Document:  Carbon Credits Presentation)

SPONSOR:  Jared Blumenfeld, Director

SPEAKER:  Cal Broomhead, Energy Program Manager

 

Mr. Broomhead explained that the Energy Program is investigating developing a process or a system of identifying San Francisco projects that could earn carbon credits that in turn would be sold to San Francisco citizens and businesses.  It was stated that San Francisco has made progress on our carbon footprint since 2000.  We are almost down to the 1990 levels, but have quite a ways to go to get to the 2012 goal. It was stated that San Francisco is on the Kyoto Protocol path but not on the City goal path, so citizens are being called upon to take part in helping to decrease greenhouse gas emissions (see explanatory document “San Francisco Greenhouse Gas Emissions” chart). 

 

Mr. Broomhead reported that five project types for carbon credits were considered: transportation/fuels, recycling/composting, energy efficiency, renewable energy and in addition, urban forestry which is more of a sequestration project, but is something that might be considered.  It was explained that there are a number of issues to consider when discussing carbon credits 1) are they verifiable; 2) additionality; 3) longevity of the project (number of years of carbon that would result); 4) monitoring—is it something you are able to monitor annually to ensure you are going to be able to continue to receive those carbon credits; 5) cost effectiveness in San Francisco; 6) visibility (easier to sell projects that people can see); and 7) fraud prevention.  Project strategies discussed include purchasing new projects, e.g. low-income solar water heating; piggybacking to projects that are already happening that we can add something small to that will result in a lot of tons, e.g. Mayor’s Office of Housing runs an Asthma/Lead intervention program and have hired a contractor—add energy efficiency measures to the existing project at a much lower cost; and 3) provide incentives for things that do not currently have incentives or are mandated, e.g. influencing people to purchase Energy Star refrigerators other than non-efficient items.   

 

8.      Commission on the Environment Annual Retreat.  The Commission will discuss selection of dates, location and topics for their Annual Retreat (Discussion and Possible Action).  Commission Secretary Monica Fish reported that the Commission held a retreat last year in September and suggested that the Commission retreat this year could be held in October as the Commission has a Regular Meeting in September.  It was reported that Vice-President Wald has offered the NRDC conference room as a location for the retreat.  Commissioners reported on their availability for October and a firm date would be confirmed through email.  President Pelosi Jr. asked that the Commissioners email topics to the Commission Secretary.

 

Public Comment:  Ms. Nancy Wuerfel stated that she had attended last year’s retreat and made a request to hold the meeting in a place that is more accessible to the public.  The Main Library was recommended as a possibility. 

 

9.      Commission on the Environment Policy Committee Membership.  A discussion will be held on increasing the number of members to the Policy Committee and legal requirements (Discussion and Possible Action).

SPONSOR:  President Pelosi Jr.

SPEAKERS:  President Pelosi Jr. and Catharine Barnes, Legal Counsel

 

President Pelosi Jr. reported that if you add more than three members to the Policy Committee, it would have to be published as a full Commission meeting and would require a Bylaws change.  Commissioner Martin was appointed to the Policy Committee in lieu of Commissioner King, who had offered to join a new Committee once it is formed. 

 

10.  Department of the Environment’s Final 2007-08 Budget Update (Informational Report and Discussion) (Explanatory Document: Department Final Budget July 11, 2007)

SPONSOR & SPEAKER:  David Assmann, Deputy Director

 

Deputy Director Assmann reported that there have been virtually no changes to the budget since the Commission approved it at their January meeting.  The changes that have been made were discussed at the Operations Committee Meeting.  The Department finalized a budget of $16 million dollars with revenue sources that include grants (49%), Impound Account (41%), and other Departments (9%).  Expenditures are allocated to Energy (43%); Recycling (25%), Toxics (14%), Environmental Justice (8%), Clean Air (4%); Green Building (4%), and Urban Forest (1%).  The Board of Supervisors approved the final budget just last week.

 

Public Comment:  Ms. Nancy Wuerfel (1) requested more clarity in the budget document and (2) stated that the Urban Forestry Council should have more access to media through print or website and requested that the Council be provided with adequate funding and or support to function properly and provide adequate outreach. 

     

11.  Commission Secretary’s Report (Information and Discussion) 

Ms. Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

 

Communications and Correspondence

Update on Pending City Legislation

 

Ms. Fish referenced the Commission Secretary Report in the packet and asked Commissioners to review the enclosed memorandum from the Ethics Commission on new regulations on gifts from restricted sources and from subordinates.  An update was included in the report on pending City legislation.

 

12.  Operations Committee Report (Information and Discussion)

         Chair’s Report:  Commissioner Mok will highlight the meeting of Wednesday, July 11, 2007 and review the agenda for the upcoming meeting on Wednesday, October 17, 2007, at 4:00 p.m., 11 Grove Street, Eco-Center Conference Room.

 

Commissioner Mok reported that the Operations Committee at their July 11 meeting heard an informational report presented by Ms. Anne Eng on the Environmental Justice budget and grant program, Ms. Shawn Rosenmoss discussed new grants received by the Department, and Mr. Joseph Salem discussed the 2007-08 Final Budget. A report on the School Education program plan for the year will be heard at the October 17 meeting.

13.  Policy Committee Report (Information and Discussion)

         Chairs Report:  Commissioner Gravanis will highlight the meetings of Monday, June 11 and Monday, July 16, 2007 and will review the agenda for the upcoming meeting on Monday, August 13, 2007, 5:00 p.m. to be held at City Hall, Room 421.

 

Commissioner Gravanis reported that the Policy Committee met twice since the last Commission meeting.  At the June 11 meeting, a discussion was held on Urban Environmental Accord 15 in order to reduce the percentage of single-occupancy commuter vehicle trips by 10% in seven years, which is a very ambitious goal.  Department of the Environment Transportation Manager Mr. Faiz Khan presented an update on efforts to achieve the goal, e.g. the Walk to School Program, Bicycle Programs, greater use of public transit, how to advance ride sharing, the “HOT” lanes network proposal, and congestion pricing.  The main discussion item was to continue discussion on bottled water. 

 

Also at the June meeting guest speaker Mr. Brian Stranko from CalTrout talked about the proposal to install a Nestles Bottling Plant in McCloud discussing problems related to bottled water plants and bottled water, but indicated that there might be a way to build such a plant that is not so harmful to the environment. There are issues about extracting ground water that have not been resolved.  Mr. Chien presented a follow-up on Green Point Rated Residential program to expand on previous discussions to the full Commission. 

 

At the July 16 meeting, a speaker from the International Bottled Water Association and Nestle discussed their viewpoints.  Commissioner Gravanis stated that information on the carbon imprint resulting from transportation of the bottled water would have to wait until the EIR/EIS would be re-circulated.  As a result, it is not possible to judge the major environmental impacts of a bottled water/plant at this time.  It was stated that a great group of public speakers attended the meeting and handed out information speaking against bottled water, the good quality of our bottled water, and toxics problems associated with plastics.  On August 13, the Policy Committee will hear a presentation from Department staff on the Civil Grand Jury Report.  

14.  Director’s Report (Information and Discussion) (Explanatory Document:  Director’s Report (Word)  http://web1.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/DirectorsReportJuly-2007[2].doc.

Ms. Nelly Sun, Senior Management Assistant to Jared Blumenfeld, Director, Department of the Environment will give updates on SFE administrative and programmatic operations relating to Budget Planning, Strategic Planning, Climate Division, Outreach and Education Division, Environmental Justice Division, Zero Waste, Toxics Reduction Program, and the Urban Forestry Division.   

 

Ms. Nelly Sun presented highlights of the Department’s programs from May to July.

 

Administration.  On June 19, the City, PG&E and Golden Gate Energy reached an agreement to conduct a $1.9 million comprehensive study to determine tidal power potential in the San Francisco Bay. News was also received that San Francisco was one of thirteen cities selected to receive solar funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.  A press conference was held on this development attended by the Department and the Mayor along with CH2M Hill who had developed the solar mapping project.

 

On June 21, results were announced of the San Francisco Litter Study, with the Mayor pledging to reduce litter by 50% in the next five years.  He had called a meeting with franchise fast food owners to ask their cooperation in litter reduction.   

 

On July 2, a press event was held with the Mayor and the Green Building Task Force to recommend mandatory environmental standards for residential and commercial buildings in San Francisco.  If the recommendations were to be accepted, San Francisco would impose the nation’s most environmentally rigorous building standards.

 

Three staff members had been hired, a Virtual Warehouse Coordinator, School Education Coordinator and a Commercial Recycling Associate.  Seven additional people will be hired to join the Department in August.

 

Clean Air Program.  A vendor was selected to convert three Toyota Prius hybrids to plug in hybrid electric vehicles.  As of July 11, 44% of our diesel fleet now uses B20 biodiesel.  We are also working and researching on project ideas with local stakeholders in response to the U.S. EPA Clean School Bus program and the award amounts to $1 million +.

 

Recycling.  The Department joined the Mayor for a press conference on our litter study where he set a 50% litter reduction goal over 5 year.  We confirmed that reducing publish trash receptacles actually reduces litter and illegal dumping and showcased the new receptacles that were purchased.  The Department also defended the receptacle reductions at a Board of Supervisors hearing.  The Food Service Waste Reduction Ordinance went into effect on June 1 and outreach was conducted at several food service outlets.  At the present time, the diversion goal for California is 50% and we are supporting a new bill that would set a 75% diversion goal by 2020.

 

Environmental Justice.  The Environmental Justice program was awarded two grants, one for $15,000 from California Breathing and another for $35,000 from US EPA to reduce asthma triggers in low-income homes.   These funds will be used to promote non-toxic cleaning products and reduce pesticide use.  The Department is continuing our work on biodiesel training with City College, which is part of a $200,000 federal grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

 

Energy. Our consultant began work on identifying project types in San Francisco that might earn carbon credits.  We are also working on an Ordinance to require energy efficient fluorescent lighting with a performance standard of 82 lumens per watt that is in final draft by the City Attorney.  The first draft of the Residential Energy `Conservation Ordinance has been completed.  In the Energy Watch Program, the Small Business Program is now in full operation and is increasing its installation rate.  The same is true for the Multi-Family program.  On renewable energy, we are working with the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) and the Fire Department to simplify the solar permitting process.  The solar mapping project has been launches and has received lots of press and positive feedback.

 

Toxics Reduction.  Staff has attended neighborhood association meetings in the Tenderloin and in SOMA to ask residents about the types of pest problems they have experienced in their apartment buildings and current practices and products used to treat pests.  Results will aid our group in designing targeted outreach and educational materials.  Additionally, staff is collaborating with the San Francisco Day Labor Program in their toxics reduction training for domestic workers.  We have added education and safer pest control and aerosol alternatives to the safer cleaning curriculum.  This effort is timely because in today’s Chronicle, there is an article about harmful household chemicals.

 

Green Building Program.  Advertising goal has been exceeded: SF Business Times–Advertising goal of $25K has been achieved, and as of July 16, $30K has been raised, guaranteeing at least a 12-page supplement.  September has been designated a Green Building Month and we are partnering with the American Institute of Architects N. CA Chapter to promote green building. One of the main events that the Department is organizing includes the Build It Green Home Tour in San Francisco.  On the municipal front, staff has been assisting the SF Public Utilities Commission with the feasibility of certifying Hetch Hetchy as a low impact hydropower facility.  

 

Urban Forestry.  There has been a reorganization in the Urban Forestry program. There were formerly two positions and now have consolidated it to one position that has been reclassified to a 5638 Environmental Assistant.  Over 100 job applications have been received with interviews and announcements to be made in early August.           

 

Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman provided recommendations for formatting of the Director’s Report requesting that major items be noted first and to add to the front page what the top challenges or issues facing the Department are that the Commissioners could contribute to.  

 

15.  President’s Announcements.  (Information and Discussion).  President Pelosi Jr. appointed Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman to the Operations Committee in lieu of Commissioner Gravanis who resigned from the Committee.

16.  New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion).  There were no new business and future agenda items discussed at this time.

17.  Public Comments:  Members of the public may address the Commission on matters that are within the Commission’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  There were no public comments at this time.

 

18.  Adjournment.  The Commission on the Environment 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 Commission’s website https://sites.google.com/a/sfenvironment.org/commission/environment-commission as attachments to the meeting agenda or minutes, ;(3) upon request to the Commission Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709, or via e-mail at Monica.Fish@sfgov.org.

 

Approved: September 25, 2007

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