UCSF Sustainability Stories


Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact, March 2015


UCSF’s Sustainability Action Plan 2.0

CoverUCSF is part of the ten-campus and two national laboratory system which is administered by the UC Office of the President (UCOP).  The university system collectively recognizes that climate change is the biggest challenge of our time, and that aggressive action and leadership are needed to address this and other sustainability issues.  To this end, the UCOP requested periodic Sustainability Action Plans (SAPs) from each campus.  The UCSF Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability (CACS) charged the Sustainability Steering Committee (SSC) and its ten work groups to develop an update to the 2010 Sustainability Action Plan (SAP1.0).  The SAP 1.0 focused on short-term tactics, most of which have been completed. 

SAP 2.0 presents an integrated scheme for 2014-2020.  It features a set of top best practices selected through a comprehensive evaluation process and proposes a timeline for their implementation. It aims at planning the successive steps that have to be taken in order to eventually achieve UCSF’s 2020 goals. Both the working groups and the Office of Sustainability have the responsibility of its development.

Vision and Objectives

SAP 2.0In a visioning exercise at the beginning of the plan development, each working group envisioned the endpoint of their efforts by 2025.  This exercise resulted in the follow vision of UCSF:
• Zero waste
• Less hazardous waste
• LEED platinum & net zero buildings
• Environmental stewardship is embedded, sustainable practices used by all, consumers change the market
• Green products are mainstream
• Innovations make ROI (return on investment) better to retrofit old buildings
• Preventive medicine = healthier communities
• Good environmental practice is good business practice
• Position UCSF as leader in environmental health/preventative medicine
• Water conservation, reuse and efficient equip becomes standard practice

Prioritization Process

Evaluation matrixTo develop the SAP, each work group went through a prioritization process that evaluated potential tactics in order to identify the most impactful. The evaluation process of potential projects was consistent with the Sustainability Action Plan 1.0, relying on four criteria: environmental impact, alignment with UCSF’s mission (health), economic impact, and feasibility within the UCSF culture.  The actual worksheets used can be reviewed in the SAP 2.0 Results presentation, that summarizes the results of brainstorming, evaluation and prioritization of the top ten tactics relevant to the working group goals and strategies.  Several more in-depth analyses were performed for a handful of projects that were already supported by UCSF management and represented significant up-front costs.

The tactics of highest benefit were identified for the following topics:  climate neutrality, water conservation, zero waste, sustainable food, culture shift, green buildings, toxics reduction, sustainable operations, and green procurement. The SAP 2.0 is a living document and will be revisited annually. 

A summary of all the approved budgets for FY 2014-15 can be viewed on slide 109 of the SAP 2.0 Results presentation.  All the tactics funded totaled $45,296 for an estimated annual savings of $48,665.  Some of the projects approved included signage to instruct LEED certified building occupants; purchasing guidelines for energy and water consuming equipment; reduction in waste, technology to reduce lighting costs in closets; education to help new parents avoid toxins; and on-line recycling and safety training.