CITY HALL, ROOM 408, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102
COMMISSION MEMBERS: Commissioners Matt Tuchow (President), Ruth Gravanis (Vice-President), Angelo King, Jane MarieFrancis Martin, Alan Mok, Rahul Prakash, Johanna Wald
*NOTE: The Tuesday, September 28. 2010, 5:00 p.m. Commission on the Environment Meeting was rescheduled to Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. and was held at City Hall, Room 408.
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 convened at 5:05 p.m. Present: Commission President Matt Tuchow, Commission Vice-President Ruth Gravanis, Commissioners Mok, Martin, Prakash and Wald; Absent: Commissioner King. Commissioner Tuchow welcomed the Department’s new Director Melanie Nutter and new Commissioner Rahul Prakash.
2. Adoption of Minutes of the July 27, 2010 Regular Meeting. (Explanatory Document: July 27, 2010 Draft and Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action) Upon Motion by Vice President Gravanis, second by Commissioner Wald, the July 27, 2010 Draft Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES: Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, Mok, Martin, Prakash and Wald; Absent: Commissioner King).
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. Approval of the 2008-09 San Francisco Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program Annual Report. Sponsor: Melanie Nutter, Director; Speaker: Chris Geiger, Green Purchasing Manager (Explanatory Document: IPM 2008-09 Annual Report and Presentation) (Discussion and Action)
Dr. Geiger reported that the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program started in 1996 as a result of a public campaign on pesticide use in the parks. The program relies on stakeholder involvement by City departments to maintain a Reduced Risk Pesticide List that limits which products can be used on City properties and more importantly requires City Pest Managers to use an integrated pest management approach, which means do prevention first with the non-chemical approach and then save pesticide use as a last resort. There is an exemption process in the Ordinance for people that want to use something that is not on this list. The Department of the Environment’s IPM program makes this determination after having conversations with the affected parties.
Dr. Geiger reported that one of the duties of the IPM Program is to keep track of pesticide data on City properties. This is done through annual reporting by City departments. At the beginning of 2010, the IPM Program switched to a web-enabled database that is hoped to make next year’s report easier to assemble. He explained that the old database was not functional, and as a result there is less detail than usual in this year’s report. Dr. Geiger reported that the program has a good record since its inception. There is an 81% reduction in total pounds of pesticide used since 1996. If looking at the total in gallons, there is an 88% reduction. He stated that he likes to think of the reduction in terms of active ingredients because that is generally but not always the most hazardous part of the pesticide. In this case, it would be a 76% reduction.
Dr. Geiger referenced the first page of the presentation, the graph of “Pesticide Use on City Properties 2008-09” stating that the black line represents the total pesticide active ingredients used over the years. He stated that use came down and then bumped around for the past few years. For example, in 2005 there is a big bump in the black line that was directly attributed to the 2005 American Express Golf Tournament. Golf accounts for a large portion of the pesticide used, and for the most hazardous of pesticide used. Seven of the top fifteen pesticides in terms of pounds used by Recreation and Park Department are for golf exclusively and all but one of those are Tier 1, the highest hazard. There are other factors that have fed into these trends in the presentation over the years such as sudden oak death. The only treatment for a prominent tree infected with sudden oak disease is a low-toxicity product that is used quite a bit and accounted for a fair amount of the pesticide use.
Dr. Geiger discussed IPM Program accomplishments for 2008 and 09. He stated that a Facilities Managers Training was held in 2008 to discuss how to best prevent pests, how to best use non-chemical methods, and keep maintenance schedules up so pests do not come in the first place. Pestec, the City’s Pest Control Contractor, helped to facilitate the training. The Department of the Environment held their twelfth San Francisco Annual Urban IPM Conference in 2009. The theme of the conference was invasive species. A discussion was held on the overlap between invasive species control and pesticide-use reduction, which can be contentious at times. There was a re-visioning last year called the “Idea Olympics” that concluded that the program should look at being more of a sustainable landscaping program and not just about pesticides. Water and soils are reviewed anyway when doing innovative pest management so why not make it part of the program. As a result, work is being done with the Bay Friendly Landscaping Coalition, a sustainable-landscaping program that will offer certifications of landscapes and landscapers.
Dr. Geiger reported that nineteen IPM Technical Advisory Committee meetings were held that are always free to the public, usually with a speaker and continuing education credits. He explained that the new database is not yet perfect but it is working. Annual public hearings are held on the Reduced Risk Pesticide List that gives an opportunity for the public to communicate about their concerns and a chance for City departments to justify use of higher-toxicity pesticides and justify exemptions they have requested.
Dr. Geiger reported on other items of note in the IPM Report. He stated that the reports from Pestec have been positive and commended the head of Pestec who was in attendance at this meeting for his effort. In looking at their data, 88% of their visits to City departments resulted in no pesticides being used, and the pesticides being used are lowest-hazard products. He stated that City departments and the people who are core to the team deserve the most credit because they are the ones who are doing the work.
Commission President Tuchow inquired whether any new herbicides or pesticides were prohibited in the past year. Dr. Geiger reported that there are changes made every year with some pesticides being taken off the list and others put on, and minor changes were made in this year’s list. He stated that annually, IPM staff goes through the list of pesticides and asks the questions (1) if it is being used, (2) is it necessary (3) is there a safer alternative; and (4) is the product still registered, and is there a new registration number? Dr. Geiger reported on the addition of a significantly lower-hazard product currently being used for weeds in place of the dicamba product and the success of that product. He stated that there were no major changes in this year’s list. He explained that it is important to know that the number of products is not a measure of performance with this program.
Commissioner Martin referenced the IPM Report, Figure 1, noting that there is a trend and then spikes in the public health insecticide and asked why it was increasing so dramatically. Dr. Geiger reported that the first spike was due to the West Nile Virus when it came into the city. Ensuing spikes are dependent on City budgets for mosquito prevention and monitoring, e.g., whether mosquitoes are found and treatment is required. There is a team of bicycle messengers that visit all the stormwater catchment basins to see if there is larva there before microbial pellets are dropped in. There was a switch to a safer microbial product from a previous product that may account for a higher volume because you have to use more of the product because it doesn’t last as long. Commissioner Martin inquired about the economics of lowering the amount of pesticides being used. She referred to the presentation slide showing the percentage required of green products and associated economics. She suggested tracking information as an incentive measure. Dr. Geiger reported that he is checking the validity of existing data that shows the correlation between the number of gardener positions and amount of herbicides being used over the past fifteen years. Data is usually full of variations, but there was a good correlation that tells us that when you cut gardener positions, you may be increasing the pressure to use pesticides. Commissioner Martin suggested looking at the information more closely and to review the trade-offs financially between the two decisions.
Commission President Tuchow congratulated Dr. Geiger and the IPM team on their progress. Upon Motion by Commissioner Martin, second by Commissioner Mok, the 2008-09 San Francisco Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program Annual Report was approved without objection (AYES: Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, Mok, Martin, Prakash and Wald; Absent: Commissioner King).
5. Approval of the 2009 San Francisco Green Purchasing Program for City Staff Annual Report. Sponsor Melanie Nutter, Director; Speakers: Chris Geiger, Green Purchasing Manager; Jessian Choy, City Toxics Reduction Assistant; Galen Leung, Supervising Purchaser, Office of Contract Administration (OCA); Pamela Olivier, Green Purchaser (OCA) (Explanatory Document: 2009 Annual Report and Presentation) (Discussion and Action)
Dr. Geiger reported that the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program or Green Purchasing Program got its official start in 2005 with the Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance that was passed. This requires the Department of the Environment to set up a list of products that City departments must buy and has various other requirements. The Department’s approach was to set up the SFApproved.org Lists, which Ms. Choy was instrumental in creating and will discuss in more detail. Dr. Geiger stated that staff is working on a fairly long list of product areas and discussed the time involved in maintaining the list and revisiting all the product areas. He stated that throughout the years, it is harder to approve new products because so much time is required in renewing old products. It is a cumulative workload to maintain the Green Purchasing program.
Dr. Geiger referenced Table A, page 7 of the Green Purchasing Program report, which is the most important table and contains a summary of the purchases. He presented a simplified version on a presentation slide (Slide 4). He stated that the best metric for green purchasing in the City is to measure how many green products are defined as green in terms of dollars that have been purchased. The denominator of all products is put in that category or subcategory and a percentage is calculated. There are very significant reporting challenges. He explained that staff has to rely on vendors who have been spending a lot of time providing information and were commended for their effort. He explained that 2009 was the first year that there was a full year of data on computer purchases, which is reflects in Slide 4. San Francisco has the highest standard in the country for computer purchasing standards. It is the first city to require EPEATA Gold, which is an EPA sponsored registration program for green computer equipment. It is also the first city to require the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, which is a certification for computer servers. Dr. Geiger provided data on citywide compliance with meeting green purchasing by product category and described accomplishments and challenges (Slide 4). He explained that in the case of janitorial cleaners, the volume went down partially because departments have the option to buy on their own outside of the citywide contract, which makes it difficult to control who is buying what. He stated that lighting is one of the most challenging contracts because there are so many products and many of them are specialized. City Hall and the Opera House have historic features that require certain lamps. Dr. Geiger stated that it is challenging to communicate with City users on what is green or not and that is being worked on now.
Dr. Geiger reported on program accomplishments. He stated that janitorial services and new lighting fixtures contracts were developed with language that would require contractors to buy the recommended products. The final draft of a bio-waste lubricants contract is now available. Staff has trained over 500 staff in sixteen departments in the past year and participated in a Green Purchaser of the Year award ceremony. Dr. Geiger introduced Ms. Choy of Department staff that put together the 2010 SFApproved.org database that is now available and who would talk about City champions in green purchasing.
Ms. Choy reported on the SFApproved.org website where you could find 1000 of approved green products for your home or organization. She stated that she meets with City staff to discuss this list and described their behavioral change after she thanks them for their efforts in buying green products. She thanked OCA staff and vendors for analyzing City sales reports in order to publish a long list of City champions that buy green (see example on presentation slide 8). Ms. Choy reported on the need to establish an easier way to provide this list to City champions because of the time required to create the list. She stated how important it is to have the list in order to acknowledge City departments and to be able to give out the Green Purchasing Team of the Year Award and an award of $600 of approved green products from SFApproved.org.
Mr. Galen Leung, Supervising Purchaser, Office of Contract Administration (OCA) reported that OCA is one of the major partners in green purchasing with the Department of the Environment staff and senior purchasers. He supervises the central buyers in City Hall that are responsible for the purchasing needs of almost all City departments with the exception of major departments such as the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and Airport. He works together with Department staff and senior purchasers to create contracts that reflect the latest green standards and provide for greener alternatives. It is a constant process to update the database with new alternatives and formally update contracts with substitutions.
Mr. Leung described opportunities and challenges. He stated that the report shows many potential opportunities with lamps and ballasts, and OCA is currently working with the Department on the Environment on priorities for compostable trash bags and janitorial cleaners. New products are available and contracts have to be updated to reflect new products. Mr. Leung explained that City departments often times request alternative products that are not green, but are more economical. He described the challenges involved in explaining to them the importance of complying with the Environment Code and the Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance. Other challenges due to budget cuts include having an adequate amount of resources and staffing. This factor results in many departments having to spend and do less. Mr. Leung introduced Ms. Pamela Olivier, senior purchaser who has been assigned to the Department of the Environment for the past six months.
Ms. Pamela Olivier, Senior Purchaser for OCA stated that she has been working for OCA for a year and half, and in the past six months, she has been working with Department of the Environment staff Dr. Geiger, Ms. Choy and Ms. Bryant on contracts. Department staff provides her with technical information and identifies products. They work as a team, establish a contract, and put it out for bid, making modifications and updating reports. She reported that OCA is going through organizational changes and that Ms. Judy Wong would be her new manager in the future. Dr. Geiger gave credit to Ms. Julie Bryant of the Department of the Environment Zero Waste Program, who puts a lot of work into green purchasing efforts.
Commission President Tuchow commended the Green Purchasing team for their work and stated that the metrics provided demonstrate how well the program is doing. The program is doing a great job with incentives such as the Green Purchasing Team of the Year Award and is finding other ways to build competition among different departments on green purchasing. He stated that some categories that have required green products only show a 57% or 80% compliance with the required category and asked if enforcement was being considered. Dr. Geiger stated that his approach is to provide education first, which is a challenge. At this time, there is a limit to what can be done as far as punishment. Mr. Leung reported that restricting items from being purchased has been successful. If catalogue items are deemed to be inappropriate and green alternatives are available, items will be restricted from purchase. He explained that this action has been successful across the City, but someone may find a shortcut and purchase the restricted item anyway. There is a limit to OCA’s ability to implement restrictions and provide for disincentives. An additional method is to work within the City hierarchy of organizations that are not complying well by speaking with department heads, making presentations, and educating user departments. In some instances, this has been more beneficial in changing behavior than with restrictions.
Commission President Tuchow inquired whether it would be beneficial to inform departments that reports are being produced that would be forwarded to the Mayor if they fall below a certain metric. Dr. Geiger reported that departments are told that tables are included in these reports that show their rate of green purchasing and are transparent. Mr. Leung stated that in addition, OCA is working with the Controller’s Office accountants on restrictions and not automatically approving purchase orders for the wrong item. Upper echelons are being made aware that this is an important metric that is being measured, and that information is out there and being shared.
Commissioner Wald inquired about enforcement possibilities with vendors. She stated that doing business with the City of San Francisco is a privilege so we should be able to ensure that the people that want to do business with San Francisco promote the products that have been deemed the most appropriate and we would want people to buy. Vendors could be told that they need to submit bids for preapproved products as a condition of submitting a bid, or given a disincentive for offering products that have not been approved by penalizing them in the bidding process. She stated there must be ways to relieve the burden on City staff to make those decisions and put more responsibility on the vendors. Mr. Leung stated that it is possible but explained that they are oftentimes challenged by end user departments on whether or not and how certain products should be allowed. When a product is taken off the list and replaced with another product, departments and vendors have to be educated to discuss the change. He explained that there have been complaints from end user departments, not the vendors who are cooperative in offering products. Work is being done with vendors to make sure that the wide array of products is made available in San Francisco. Some users have had challenges in purchasing things they want to buy for whatever reason (European standard and not yet available, low inventory, etc.) and OCA is working on vendors and departments on this issue. Dr. Geiger stated that the upcoming janitorial cleaners’ contract will require vendors to do the training within the recommended guidelines and curriculum, which will take a burden away from staff.
Commissioner Martin inquired why there was a low compliance rate for glass cleaners. Dr. Geiger stated that one of the vendor reports showed that no glass cleaners were sold so there is a question on the reliability of some of those vendor reports. He discussed the importance of having ongoing trainings to educate people and let them know that the Department exists and there are greener products available that work just as well as the bad products. Commissioner Martin stated that if glass cleaners were created in bulk, it would remove the necessity for plastics associated with product packaging. She inquired whether an effort has been made toward consumption reduction in product categories, specifically greenware. Mr. Leung reported that due to budget reductions, purchases for disposable items have decreased, and purchases for longer life and/or reusable items have increased where funding is available, but it is Department specific and depends on grant funding that departments receive. Some departments have reduced certain activities such as cleaning windows, landscaping, etc. to reduce their expenditures. Mr. Leung stated that he is not sure whether this practice would continue if the budget were to improve, but departments would be educated to make sure they don’t buy unnecessary items when the budget improves. Commissioner Martin suggested codifying the frugality especially if departments have shown they can do without certain products.
Commissioner Martin inquired whether the Department is promoting the new biodegradable plastic bags that have recently entered the market. Ms. Bryant stated that there is a big difference between biodegradable and compostable. The City promotes using certified compostable bags to help facilitate composting and would not recommend biodegradable bags. These bags are something that people are claiming would biodegrade in the landfill to be used for trash to send to the landfill, which does not make sense. She stated that these bags don’t have a guarantee when they are going to break down. Compostable and biodegradable material in the landfill is an anaerobic system and creates methane gas which we want to avoid. Using certified compostable bags is the best way to go and is what the Department is promoting.
Commissioner Gravanis stated that she is pleased with OCA efforts towards green purchasing and green contracts. She asked if more resources could be made available to OCA so that more time and effort could be spent into analyzing sales reports and developing performance standards. She asked if the Commission or some other City entity could do something to make more resources available to the OCA. Mr. Leung stated that the Commission and Department’s attention to these matters brings a lot of attention to OCA’s efforts and is recognized by the Controller’s Office and Mayor’s Office through reports they receive. He stated that more resources could always be used in such a tight budgetary environment and explained that trade-offs have to happen. Mr. Leung stated that it is a good idea to keep the attention on this issue so that funding is not removed from this program in order to accommodate other programs that are experiencing budget cuts.
Commissioner Prakash inquired about the complex nature of lighting contracts. He asked about the percentage of CFL purchases in the lighting contracts. Dr. Geiger stated that the report shows that CFLS account for $12,000 out of $166,000 total expenditures in the lighting contract. Mr. Leung discussed the problems with CFL’s as opposed to other fluorescent light bulbs, e.g., light fixtures that don’t match the bulbs. He cited an example that three-fourths of the Airport’s lights are long-tube fluorescent that a CFL would not fit into. Usage is changing continuously and that is one of the reasons the lamps contracts is complicated. They are trying to push utilization and prices to be competitive and lower so that more CFL’s and LED’s can be used.
Commissioner Martin suggested that the percentage reduction figures in the IPM and Green Purchasing Reports be checked for accuracy. Dr. Geiger reported that data is so inconsistent yearly due to vendor response or no response that it makes it difficult to make a comparison from year to year on some of these product areas. Commissioner Wald inquired whether OCA and the Department of the Environment have given any thought to a citywide environmental performance measure that would reward people for using green products. Ms. Choy stated that she has been meeting with the Department of Human Resources to work out the details on how to add buying green to performance measures in evaluations. Mr. Leung stated that he would be happy to work with the Department on generating a listing of departments that are doing best, improving, or not.
Commissioner Gravanis stated that the City is spending a lot of money on office paper and inquired whether there is a possibility to go to a paperless contract system. Mr. Leung talked about the importance of paper records to old-fashioned traditionalists. He stated that he has started in his new role in charge of IT procurement and would be trying to influence everyone to agree with switching to an electronic procurement system by the end of the year. He explained that there are a lot of stakeholders that have an influence over the approach. Mr. Leung stated that there has been progress in paper reduction in various places, e.g., there is a term contract for the printing service for water bills which has gone down because of the switch from paper water bills to online billing. He stated that he would report back next year on stakeholder’s response to switching to a paperless system.
Commission President Tuchow inquired whether there is a way to establish preventative controls so you can only purchase green products. Mr. Leung discussed Proposition Q requirements that allow departments to make purchasing decisions for items under $10,000. He explained that OCA can only enforce what is purchased in a post-audit process in this case, but frequently the purchase order does not have enough information to determine what was purchased. The auditors have asked to look at the invoice, so work is in progress with the Controller’s Office on improving post-audit procedures and discussing purchases made with end-users. He is finding that departments that use the Prop Q process for purchases under $10,000 typically want to buy things that are restricted or have not been purchased by the City for some time. Mr. Leung stated that there are a lot of purchases under $10,000 in the 1000’s. He explained that purchases that are between $10,000 and $100,000 are now subject to review by the Human Resources Commission due to Chapter 14B and environmental and purchasing requirements. Commission President Tuchow thanked the Department of the Environment and the Office of Contract Administration for their great work and the work with incentives and disincentives for green purchasing.
Mr. Todd Lewis, Principal, Omega Pacific Electrical Supply, reported that Omega Pacific was awarded the 2008 Minority Green Performer of the Year Award from the United States Department of Commerce. He stated that a lot of what happens in the lighting area is done in the front line. Departments are asking for replacement technologies primarily in a maintenance capacity. A lot of that technology has been changed or upgraded and a lot has been done by his staff at Omega Pacific. A lot of things that are not seen in the report that was requested were changed by any offset of the requisition in the original order. He discussed success stories stating that a couple of departments such as MUNI recently used 1000 watts lamps on one of the MUNI facilities and have recently upgraded to LED technologies and are now down to 300 watts. As a result they no longer have a lamp, no longer require maintenance, no longer require mercury. The Airport went from 1000 watts to 64 watts, so they no longer require a lamp or mercury as well. Mr. Lewis stated that the last United States manufactured incandescent lamp factory closed in June. Technology is changing, and there won’t be a light bulb. In a year you will see the advent of the LED lamp that will replace about 60% of lighting as you know it. He stated that by using the Department’s preferable list of products, their inventory has been reduced by 25 or 30%. Uniformity can be done by the vendor if they want to do it.
Mr. Vince Gibbs stated that he is a member of the Oakland Planning Commission and is observing the work of the Commission on the Environment. He suggested incentivizing people to purchase green products by offering them an IPAD.
Upon Motion by Commissioner Martin, second by Commissioner Gravanis, the 2009 San Francisco Green Purchasing Program for City Staff Annual Report was approved without objection (AYES: Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, Mok, Martin, Prakash and Wald; Absent: Commissioner King).
6. Overview of Existing Department of the Environment Energy Efficiency Programs and Presentation on New Residential Energy Efficiency Programs, Goals and Design. (Continued from the July 27, 2010 Meeting) Sponsor: Commission President Matt Tuchow; Department Speaker: Cal Broomhead, Energy Manager (Informational Report and Discussion)
Mr. Broomhead stated that the energy world consists of the industrial, agricultural, commercial, and residential sectors. San Francisco does not have a lot of agriculture and our industrial sector is a small part of the sector that is basically located on Port facilities and a few other locations. The commercial sector has been the primary focus and consists of a lot of different activities in Class A real estate buildings downtown to warehouses in the Potrero neighborhood. The residential sector consists of multi-family buildings with five-plus units, two to four-unit buildings, and single-family buildings. Twenty-five percent of all the two-to-four unit buildings in California (about 20,000 out of 80,000) are in San Francisco. There are a diminishing number of single-family buildings because they are either being demolished or construction has been done to add additional units. The initial focus and effort has been on the commercial building sector and multi-family buildings. Funding has been received through rate-payer funds, through the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to PG&E to the Department of Environment for the commercial and multi-family program entitled “Energy Watch” as all of these local government partnerships across the PG&E territory are called. That program is ahead of schedule and has surpassed the goal for therms saved, so PG&E is happy because they have had a difficult time meeting their therm goals. The Department has received twelve million dollars from PG&E for a three-year cycle that is targeted for completion in about two years and is optimistic about trying to leverage a third year of funding.
Mr. Broomhead provided an update on stimulus funding for programmatic work. He explained that state rules for the multi-family program do not allow for funding for all of the work or incentives for boiler retrofits because the state does not believe they exist. San Francisco has thousands of very old steam and hot water boilers which have to meet Title 24 requirements for efficiency. Stimulus money has filled that gap. Over 35 applications for the retrofit program have been received since the program was launched in July. The Department will be providing a $15,000 incentive for a $62,000 boiler retrofit project application that was recently received. Because of that incentive, the owner decided to go forward with the project. This program provides good union jobs for workers. Mr. Broomhead reported that the block grant money was designed as program to create jobs. In the next six to eight weeks Department staff will be working with local community-based organizations and paying them to educate tenants or homeowners on energy efficiency, water conservation, recycling, composting, and other programs. We will pay them to be in those homes for an hour and work with tenants on how to reduce.
Mr. Broomhead reported that another program being worked on and one which there is a lot of activity and structure in the state is home performance for single-family homes. There are about a dozen organizations that are focusing on home performance creating standards and training for contractors, crews, requirements for the program, and quality assurance protocols. The Obama Administration announced that they want to focus energy efficiency efforts on homes so there will be a lot of resources and money coming in. Home performance looks at the house as a system, e.g., the heating system, leakage, duct system, water heaters, fans. All of those things have an impact on whether excess energy is being used, whether there is mold and bad indoor air quality. However, you can make improvements and make it more dangerous so you have to be careful and have specialists that know what they are doing. He explained that this program would be particularly effective in Victorians and Edwardian houses that are drafty and cold all of the time. $2.5 million dollars in stimulus funding has been garnered applying to the United States Department of Energy and the state to work on marketing strategies.
Mr. Broomhead stated that some of the Department’s block grant money is being used to start a San Francisco home improvement program incentive for people doing home performance retrofits. The first application was received today. Incentives include giving out $2000 to a family that earns 120% or less than average area median income (AMI) and $1000 to anybody over that. This has been designed to be in alignment and agreement with PG&E who has just launched a pilot program where some of these same homes can receive up to $3,500. Theoretically, somebody who is at 100% of the AMI can get $5500 for a retrofit for the program, and a lot of work can be done for $5500. He hopes to see an increase in home performance work in San Francisco.
Mr. Broomhead stated that grants have been received for home performance work. The Victorian and two- to-four unit buildings in San Francisco are unique and are not homes that other localities have, so all of the home performance testing protocols and knowledge base is not well suited to San Francisco buildings. A Frank Foundation grant for $250,000 has been issued to do an investigation of the specifics of the San Francisco housing stock for single-family dwellings and to apply home performance to two-to-four unit buildings and to some of the small multi-family buildings in San Francisco. In addition, that information will be used to create a web tool for remodeling contractors and home owners who are doing projects such as a kitchen or bathroom remodel and can use this information to fit into a home performance approach for their home. The housing stock in San Francisco is being segmented, certain art types are being identified, and a performance path is being constructed for some of these homes with the intent that they could ultimately reach zero energy with the application of solar energy and other technologies. An additional grant has been received from Living Cities Foundation to help with that investigation and to train local contractors and their crew on this new information. There will be an educated user group, remodeling contractors, educated homeowners and trained contractors and crew that will be familiar with the peculiarities of the San Francisco housing stock.
Mr. Broomhead provided policy updates since his last presentation to the Commission. He reported that the Commercial Energy Lighting ordinance has passed. He is waiting approval from the California Energy Commission (CEC). Work is being done with the Green Building group on the existing commercial buildings benchmarking ordinance. As part of home performance work, it is expected that next year will be the right time to approach the real estate industry to propose an upgrade to the Residential Energy Conservation Ordinance to require a home performance test at the time of sale. That timeframe would allow for building up the knowledge base throughout the city so people can understand what home performance is and enough contractors to be available to fill the need.
There are outstanding areas being developed. One is related to Community Choice Aggregation (CCA). The decision about going forward to CCA means that the Department would have the opportunity to take over energy-efficiency programming. The Ordinance states that the Department of the Environment would be responsible for running the programs, whether the customer is on CCA or not. If the customer gets their power from the City, the Department would offer them the program; if through PG&E, they would be offered PG&E’s program. Gas service would be through service from our PG&E contract. The CPUC at this time is reviewing processes, standards, monitoring and evaluation that would be required. Second, the Energy Watch funding is slated for three years, but the authorization for CPUC to have these programs ends at the end of next calendar year. The legislature has to restart the entire energy efficiency portfolio through the utilities, and there will be a question on how that will be done. It means there will be a discussion at the legislative level and something we need to be involved in because there are some rules we would like to see changed at the legislative level.
The Board of Supervisors passed a Resolution setting up an Energy Efficiency Steering Committee of citizens to advise the Board of Supervisors and the Department about our energy efficiency programs. Issues before them consist of whether funding should be directed toward providing services to low-income or toward market-rate building owners. The impact of that decision is about jobs created. If you are providing money to market-rate building owners, you are leveraging a lot of market money; therefore, more work and more jobs are being created. If money is to be provided to the low-income sector, you would not be leveraging additional money, fewer jobs would be created, and when the money is gone, you have nothing left, and you have built no market for it. The other issue is the skilled workers versus entry level workers. Advocates have been claiming there will be thousands of jobs available. Mr. Broomhead’s calculation is dozens, maybe 150 jobs if there is a lot more money received. Mr. Broomhead reported that PACE financing has been pulled off the table by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac declaring that they would not accept any loans that had tax lien in front of the primary mortgage.
Commissioner Prakash inquired whether the $2.5 million for home retrofits includes marketing dollars to let people know about the program. Mr. Broomhead reported that $900,000 of the $2.5 million is from state stimulus money, and the remaining $1.6 million is stimulus funding from the Department of Energy that would be used for marketing. Commissioner Mok inquired how the funding coming in from all the different sources would be managed. Mr. Broomhead reported that funding would be managed through the Department’s tracking system. Each funding source is assigned an index code identifier. Staff charges their hours on a project to a particular index code. All work and purchase orders are charged and tracked through that index code and reports are issued to all the different funding sources on how money is spent.
Commissioner Martin inquired about the location of information to apply online for a home performance test. Mr. Broomhead reported that initially marketing will be done through the contractors themselves who are going back to existing customers and bringing them into the program. This group will be used to make sure the system is operating properly and then the marketing program will be established. The other stimulus money received from the state and federal government is to work on statewide consortium marketing program strategies. Commissioner Martin inquired whether there is a role for EnvironmentNow staff in providing tenant education that is currently being provided through contracting with non-profit organizations. Mr. Broomhead explained that the intent is to place expertise in the community and discussed risks that may be involved in sending City employees to enter people’s homes. Commissioner Tuchow stated that EnvironmentNow staff have been and are currently contributing to energy-efficiency programs. Director Nutter stated that EnvironmentNow workers are continuing to do business outreach and have a full work scheduled committed to working with businesses.
Commissioner Tuchow thanked Mr. Broomhead for helping in making the community more energy-efficient and helping the Department of the Environment be more self-sufficient. He asked Mr. Broomhead to inform the Commission on how they can be of assistance in the growth of energy-efficiency programs.
7. Operations Committee Report. (Information and Discussion)
Chair’s Report: Review of the agenda for the October 20, 2010 Meeting.
Committee Chair Mok reported that at the July Operations Committee meeting, Operations Committee members were provided with input from the Policy Committee. He asked Commissioners for suggestions to incorporate into future agendas.
8. Policy Committee Report. (Information and Discussion)
Chairs Report: Highlights of the August 9 and September 13, 2010 meetings and review of the agenda for the October 25, 2010 meeting to be held at City Hall, Room 421.
Committee Chair Wald reported that the Policy Committee at their August 9 meeting (1) held a discussion with the San Francisco Unified School District Director of Sustainability about the district’s sustainability activities and plans; (2) discussed bottled water at city events with input by a number of people who had experience in not making single-serve bottles at such events available when necessary, and (3) discussed the list of environmental conservation and public health organizations in the city and surrounding area that will receive the Commission’s outreach survey once it is completed. The Policy Committee at their September 13 meeting (1) heard a legislative update on legislative goals in the state of California, (2) were presented with the Department’s staff comments on the Treasure Island Draft EIR, and (3) had the first meeting with the Department’s new Director to talk with her about her goals and vision for the Department.
Committee Chair Wald reported that the agenda for the October 25 meeting would tentatively include a discussion on bird friendly buildings, a discussion on wastewater, and the outreach survey.
9. Commission Secretary’s Report. (Explanatory Document: Commission Secretary’s Report) (Information and Discussion)
Monica Fish, Commission Secretary
· Communications and Correspondence
Ms. Fish provided a written report on pending City legislation and communications and correspondence received since the July 27, 2010 Commission meeting.
10. Director’s Report. (Explanatory Document: Director’s Report) Updates on Department of the Environment administrative and programmatic operations relating to Budget Planning, Strategic Planning, Clean Air, Climate Division, Green Building, Outreach and Education Division, Environmental Justice Division, Zero Waste, Toxics Reduction Program, and the Urban Forestry Division. (Information and Discussion)
Director Nutter reported that this is her first Commission meeting and that she has been on the job as the new Director for the Department of the Environment for five weeks, starting on August 23. She explained that she is learning about the Department, its programs, and has been meeting with staff, Commissioners other Department heads and charting the Department’s future course. She provided a written detailed report received from program managers about activities in each program area and highlighted items that include:
· The landfill contract negotiations have been completed and introduced today at the Board of Supervisors, and a hearing is tentatively scheduled for October 20. She has had a couple of meetings with members of the Board to offer her assistance and will continue to meet with the Board in the next couple of weeks about the landfill contract and the Department in general.
· The Department has had 24 new hires since August and is continuing to grow. She explained that American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds ran out on September 30th, and that Department funds have been identified to rehire 18 of the strongest EnvironmentNow staff to do business outreach particularly on energy-efficiency audits for businesses.
· A Senior Staff Annual Retreat is scheduled for October 21. Director Nutter encouraged one or two Commissioners to attend to provide Commission feedback and support as senior staff discuss the Department’s Strategic Plan and future plans. She explained that over the next three months, Strategic Plan presentations will be heard at senior staff meetings with the goal of having a Draft Plan for Commission review in January. She asked Commissioners to let her know if they are interested in seeing drafts before a final Draft version is created so she can find opportunities to weigh in and get feedback.
· Announced the 77% landfill diversion rate which is the nation’s highest and is a huge victory for the city and Department. The best news is that those are 2008 numbers before the mandatory recycling and composting law went into effect. She feels confident that we are going to march to the zero-waste goal with the advent of mandatory recycling and composting.
· Implementation work is in progress on the Cell Phone Ordinance. Two public meetings have been held to gather input. As of November 1, cell phone service providers must provide retailers with SAR values with the hope of having SAR values posted by February 1, 2011.
Director Nutter stated that many of the other program highlights are listed in the written Director’s Report. She stated that Department programs are doing great and she is proud to be part of the Department and its work.
Commission President Tuchow stated that in the past couple of days the news reported that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) removed SAR values and said they were irrelevant. He asked what if any effect that would have on the City’s Cell Phone Ordinance legislation. Director Nutter reported that the materials that the Department was assembling for the cell phone legislation mirrored the FCC website that stated that if you would like to reduce your exposure to cell phone radiation, here are a number of steps to use and you can use SAR values as a way to monitor that. In the past few weeks, the FCC changed their website to indicate that they have doubts whether the SAR value is a good indicator for judging cell phone radiation. A meeting was held to discuss this issue with the FCC who provided feedback about our materials that would be taken into consideration. Essentially, we are still going to use the SAR value because that is what the FCC uses as a guideline, and their scientists have said that there is no better way to judge cell phone radiation. As a public right to know measure, the Department will stay with this concept.
Commission Vice-President Gravanis stated that her understanding what that the various competing landfill proposals would be made available to the public once negotiations were complete and asked how to access proposals. Deputy City Attorney Owen reported that Deputy Director Assmann can provide Commissioners with copies of the proposals.
11. Announcements. (Information and Discussion) There were no announcements made at this time.
12. President’s Announcements. (Information and Discussion) Commission President Tuchow again welcomed the new Director and Commissioner. He asked Commissioners to provide potential future agenda items to him well in advance of meetings as he works with the Director on setting the agenda on a regular basis.
13. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information, Discussion and Possible Action) This agenda item was not discussed at this time.
14. 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.
Ms. Lurilla Harris suggested that Commissioners consider asking for information about projects being funded by community challenge grants that have to do with changing the environment. She explained that there is a project in her area (Tompkins Hill and Bernal Heights project) that she disapproves of and the City gave them $15,000 to do it. She does not approve of chopping down trees in one area which is what is being done as part of this project and then planting them in other areas. She feels this should come under environmental inspection.
15. Adjournment. The Commission on the Environment meeting adjourned at 7:02 p.m.
The next Meeting of the Commission on the Environment is scheduled for Tuesday, November 23, 2010, 5:00 p.m. at City Hall, Room 416.
** 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 meeting website at https://sites.google.com/a/sfenvironment.org/commission/environment-commission included with minutes by meeting date; (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709, or via e-mail at Monica.Fish@sfgov.org.
Respectfully submitted by,
Monica Fish, Commission Secretary
Tel: (415) 355-3709, Fax: (415) 554-6393
Approved: December 7, 2010