Review Metrics & Annual Reports

Annual Sustainability Report FY16-17

Photo Credit: Noah Berger. Cherrie Boyer, PhD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics

A Year of Climate Action

UCSF Campus sites (Parnassus, Mission Bay, Mission Center, Mt. Zion, and other locations) and UCSF Health (UCSF Medical Center at Mt. Zion, UCSF Medical Center at Parnassus, UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay, and various clinics) continued to demonstrate leadership in health and sustainability during FY 2016-17 (FY17). Key achievements in FY17 included the engagement and activation of faculty, staff, and students in supporting climate action; the launch of Phase II of Climate Changes Health, a campaign that emphasizes the vital connection between climate change and health; and the completion of UCSF’s updated Climate Action Plan. “UCSF is the leading health sciences university in the nation, and we recognize that taking action against climate change protects public health, which is consistent with our mission,” explained Gail Lee, UCSF Sustainability Director.

UCSF Medical Center has been named among the nation’s premier medical institutions for the 17th consecutive year, ranking as the fifth best hospital in the country and top-ranked hospital in California by U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-18 Best Hospitals Rankings. UCSF’s focus on sustainability is consistent with that excellence.

UCSF Health received recognition from Practice Green Health (PGH) for its leadership in sustainability with the Emerald Award, and, for the third year in a row, was listed in Becker’s Hospital Review: 50 of the Greenest Hospitals in America.

This online Sustainability Annual Report summarizes the UCSF Campus’ and UCSF Health’s key accomplishments for FY17. Where available, it presents data separately for campus sites and UCSF Health. For a summary of the accomplishments for UCSF Campus, see the FY17 Campus Sustainability Highlights. For a separate summary of accomplishments at UCSF Health, see the FY17 UCSF Health Sustainability Highlights.

Organization of Report

This report includes a summary of the key achievements over the past year for the following categories:

  • Sustainability Leadership
  • Climate Change
  • Water
  • Zero Waste
  • Procurement
  • Sustainable Food
  • Toxics Reduction
  • Culture Shift
  • Sustainable Operations/Green Labs
  • Green Building

Sustainability Leadership


A key accomplishment in FY17 was the activation of UCSF scientists to support climate action.

Hundreds of people eager to show their support for science turned out for UCSF’s Stand Up For Science Teach-in and Rally, which highlighted the importance of federal funding for research. The April 22nd event kicked off with a teach-in with eight UCSF faculty who shared their experience of pursuing scientific research that has clashed with political sentiments. The speakers also urged those in attendance to become advocates for scientific research.

The Office of Sustainability was a sponsor of the event and covered the cost of t-shirts for nearly 500 participants. In addition, on September 20, 2016, 377 members of the National Academy of Sciences, including 30 Nobel laureates and three UCSF faculty members, published an open letter ( to draw attention to the serious risks of climate change. The letter underscored that humans are causing climate change and that we are now experiencing its effects across the globe. While scientists often stick to their research and don’t get involved in policy, this statement was a timely shout out to take climate change threats seriously.

Three of the signatories were from UCSF: Keith Yamamoto,  Vice Chancellor for Science Policy and Strategy and Vice Dean for Research, School of Medicine; Carol Gross, Professor, School of Dentistry; and Bruce Alberts, Professor, School of Medicine. Their involvement builds on UC’s leadership on climate solutions, including President Napolitano attending COP21 in Paris and UC’s commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025. When asked why he felt inspired to sign the letter, Dr. Alberts responded, “The future of humanity depends on using the deep understandings of the natural world that are produced by science to protect our grandchildren. It is both irresponsible and immoral to allow short-term political or economic gains to overrule what we know from science about the consequences of current actions on the future.”

Other accomplishments included:

  • UCSF received Practice Greenhealth’s 2017 Greenhealth Emerald Award, the second highest recognition award for leadership in sustainability, and the Greening the OR Recognition Award.
  • For the third year in a row, UCSF Health was listed in Becker’s Hospital Review: 50 of the Greenest Hospitals in America. UCSF Health’s commitments to sustainability include a LEED Gold certification for greenestthe USCF Medical Center at Mission Bay; buying reprocessed medical devices and reusable pillows, thus producing less medical waste and saving money; and changing menus to include 26 percent sustainable food by UC’s definition.
  • The California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC) honored UCSF with a 2017 Best Practice Award for its demonstrated performance in water efficiency.
  • UCSF had two entries that received recognition at UCSF Health’s first Health Improvement Poster Symposium (posters 32 and 105).
  • For the fourth time in the past 14 years, UCSF made the list of Best Workplaces for Commuters.

Climate Change

Photo credit: Derrick Tyler, UCSF Transportation Services

Goal:  To achieve 1990 levels by 2020 and carbon neutrality by 2025.

UCSF has a reputation for rising to challenges. A new challenge on UCSF’s plate is developing a strategy to meet the University of California goal to be carbon neutral by 2025. Paul Franke, UCSF Senior Planner, Real Estate, Planning, & Capital Programs, explained, “This is an ambitious policy. They want the whole UC system to reach carbon neutrality by 2025, scope one and scope two emissions, which are direct things like the power plant, purchased electricity and the bus fleet. So that’s huge.”

A key accomplishment toward meeting UCSF’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2025 was the completion of its updated Climate Action Plan (CAP), an update of the Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategy. The CAP articulates the key greenhouse gas reduction strategies for reducing UCSF’s carbon footprint; the majority of UCSF’s footprint comes from energy consumption and the burning of fossil fuels for utilities and fleet. The other major contributors are commuter travel and airline travel, which are considered scope 3 emissions.

Other accomplishments included:

  • UCSF completed large energy efficiency projects, including the Parnassus Utility Plant (PUP) Monitoring Based Commissioning (MBCx), Rock Hall Exhaust Optimization, and Sandler Neurosciences Building MBCx.
  • 2016 greenhouse gas emissions of 113,320 MTCO2e were reported to The Climate Registry, a decrease of 1% from the prior year.
  • Over FY17, the campus single occupancy vehicle (SOV) rate was an impressive 28%, a decrease of 41% over 16 years. This rate is the lowest across the 10 UC campuses.
  • Thirteen people from the UCSF community participated in SunShares, a discount PV and EV program launched across the greater Bay Area’s largest employers.
  • UCSF Housing Services hosted an energy competition at its four-bedroom units at Mission Bay to raise awareness of opportunities to conserve energy at campus housing and to help health professional students see the connection between their energy usage and global community health.
  • The campus rolled out SkySpark software to capture campus building energy use analytics and fault detection to identify energy savings opportunities.
  • Implemented a Print Management System to drastically reduce energy use and paper and color toner consumption, including Energy Star printers. The program is 100% implemented at UCSF Health and is also being rolled out across the campus.


  • Acquired two all-electric 16 passenger ZENITH vans for shuttle operations and negotiated a contract for 15 all new Build Your Dreams Electric Transit buses. They will be integrated into the shuttle network starting Spring 2018.
  • Acquired six new all-electric SMART car vehicles to replace Enforcement Operations gas powered vehicles.
  • 17.8% of fleet achieved Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) and hybrid status. 16 of 225 vehicles in the UCSF fleet are alternative fuel vehicles.


  • Launched MyCommute platform, a self-service commuter portal for the entire UCSF community. The portal allows users to obtain transit information for point-to-point commuting. It is fully integrated with UCSF’s shuttle, vanpool, carpool, and regional transit systems.
  • Added six new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at Mission Bay through a partnership with Volta to provide 100% of the necessary infrastructure, installation, and electric costs.
  • Launched a partnership between UCSF and Waze to increase on-demand carpooling services.
  • Negotiated a $10,000 Nissan Leaf EV discount for the UCSF community (UCSF Campus and UCSF Health) in addition to the $10,000 personal tax credit and worked with Nissan to extend the discount to the entire UC system.
  • Three large bicycle cages and many bike racks service close to 900 people with available shower facilties
  • The Single Vehicle Occupancy rate (SOV) dropped to the lowest historic levels of 28%, one of the lowest in the UC system.


Photo:Adobe Stock Image

Goal:  To reduce water use by 36% from baseline by 2025.

A key accomplishment for FY17 was completing the Bulk Sterilizer Upgrade Project, which won a CHESC Best Practice Award. The project replaced two inefficient bulk sterilizers at The Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Research Building, a state-of-the-art research facility located in UCSF’s Mission Bay campus. The five-story building houses critical research on the biological mechanisms of cancer. Among the extensive range of equipment in the building are two bulk sterilizers, which researchers use to steam sterilize laboratory equipment daily.

The sterilizers were determined to be consuming excessive quantities of water, breaking down regularly, and adversely impacting research processes. The upgrade took place in a sensitive research area, which required extensive communication and coordination to minimize disruption during the installation process. The project, estimated to save 10-12 M gallons of water annually and $275,000 in water utilities, demonstrates the financial efficacy of strategic water-efficiency projects. In addition, the project was a significant step toward meeting the UC system policy to eliminate once-through water cooling.

Eliahu Perszyk, Water Program Coordinator with UCSF, explained that the new equipment uses only one percent of the amount of water previously used, and the total building water use has been reduced by approximately 80 percent.

Other accomplishments included:

  • UCSF Campus exceeded the new UCOP water reduction goal by reducing the water consumption per weighted campus user by 47% compared to the 2007 baseline (UCOP goal is 36% by 2025). Potable water use on campus decreased by 15 M gallons in FY17.
  • The Medical Center at Parnassus removed 11 autoclaves located in the OR anterooms, saving upwards of 11M gallons of water each year. The unused and outdated equipment was designed to run water through it 24/7. This, along with other water reduction efforts, has resulted in an annual decrease of 27M gallons.
  • UCSF Health reduced its annual per capita water use from 349 gallons in FY16 to 313 gallons in FY17.
  • Mission Bay Campus upgraded three water meters, allowing facilities to identify problems quicker, gather better data, and identify water saving opportunities. SkySpark, an energy metering dashboard hardwired dashboard that provides real-time data to identify saving opportunities, was installed and implemented.
  • UCSF Facilities completed a pilot project for the new Water Efficient Equipment Incentive Program. The program provides financial incentives for campus laboratories to purchase new water efficient equipment, primarily targeting sterilizers. Laboratories can receive $5,000 for a new sterilizer, once the new equipment meets a certain amount in water savings. Facilities partnered with the Department of Cellular & Molecular Pharmacology to replace seven sterilizers at Genentech Hall, Mission Bay campus. The total incentive for the seven sterilizers will be $35,000. In addition, the sterilizer replacement went through the San Francisco Water Department Equipment Incentive Program, earning Facilities a rebate of $86,000. Water consumption was verified by installing water meters on the old sterilizers and taking weekly meter readings for two months. Water meters on the new sterilizers were read until the water savings payback was met. The estimated water savings for the new sterilizers is 2,453,000 gallons per year.

Zero Waste

Photo Credit: Kijoo Choi, UCSF Nurse

Goal:  To achieve zero waste by 2020. 

In FY17, UCSF partnered with MedShare to collect discarded, unexpired, sealed medical supplies to be repurposed for use at third world clinics/hospitals. UCSF’s total in-kind donations to MedShare increased from 5,073 pounds in FY16 to 8,552 pounds in FY17. UCSF Nurse Kijoo Choi has been training ICU nurses in Cambodia and with MedShare’s help has delivered over 1,400 pounds of medical supplies to Hebron Medical Center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia to support open heart surgery patients.

Other accomplishments included:

  • Reached a diversion rate of 49% without construction & demolition (C&D) for UCSF Campus (a 1% increase since FY16) and 50% for UCSF Health.
  • Completed and launched a new website,, to help employees learn to sort their waste through a web-based portal.
  • Hosted 15 events, engaged over 500 employees, and created three education campaigns that were distributed through digital signage, posters, campus news articles, and email correspondence.
  • Expanded the material processing and evaluation program to two more campus buildings. This program is an effort to evaluate garbage daily and record areas for improvement. Expanding this program helped divert over 100 tons of material from the landfill.
  • Identified two waste streams that could be reduced in operating rooms—single-use patient warming devices and single-use air assisted patient transfer devices—potentially saving over $500,000/year.
  • Developed a new program to transition from disposable isolation gowns to washable isolation gowns (we expect to implement in FY18).


Goal: To incorporate economically viable and environmentally preferable best practices in purchasing.

  • A key accomplishment for FY17 was fully implementing a new Print Management System that will save energy, reduce color toner usage, and reduce paper consumption on campus and at UCSF Health. The new system includes Energy Star printers, 100% Post-Consumer Waste (PCW) paper, and scanning features; 100% implementation at UCSF Health saves an estimated $1 M/year.

Sustainable Food
Goal:  To purchase 20% sustainable food by 2020.

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Image
UCSF Health is a leader in the growing sustainable food movement amongst hospitals and promotes eating less meat as a strategy toward both a healthier body and a healthier planet. In addition to the ongoing Meatless Monday program, which highlights vegetarian meal options on Mondays, UCSF Health has recently launched a new program, Roots & Shoots, developed out of UCSF’s partnership with, an initiative by the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) ( and the Harvard School of Public Health that aims to create a world-class network within the foodservice sector and beyond.
Photo credit: Angela Camacho

UCSF also launched new green leaf icons on the America-To-Go (ATG) catering system that make it easy for UCSF meeting and event planners to identify on-campus and off-campus caterers that have been certified by the Office of Sustainability as meeting UCSF’s zero waste and sustainable food requirements. (Photo Credit: Angela Camacho)

UCSF has started to donate food for repurposing, thus reducing food waste. The UCSF Medical Center at Parnassus recently launched a new food-reprocessing program ( in partnership with Copia; the program redirects excess food to shelters such as Delancey Street Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, and Teen Challenge. In 2017, from February through June, UCSF Health and Copia recovered over 17,935 pounds of healthy food and provided 14,946 meals to local nonprofits.

“It is the nature of the food business to create some waste. Our new partnership with Copia allows us to redirect our food waste from our compost stream to directly feeding the hungry in our community,” said Chuck Davies, UCSF Associate Director, Operations and Culinary Innovation. “The important thing,” stressed Davies, “is that somebody is putting the food to good use. Food that we can’t reuse here.” UCSF has a daily pick-up, which ranges from 20 to 150 pounds. 

Other accomplishments included:

  • Campus Life Services (CLS) Retail achieved 47% of total spend on sustainable food and UCSF Health achieved 26% of total spend on sustainable food. The definition of sustainable food is included at the end of this section.
  • Campus convenience stores expanded the variety of Fair Trade & Organic snacks offered.
  • UCSF completed two of five Fair Trade University steps. 
  • Peasant Pies at UCSF Mission Bay was certified as a Green Business by the City & County of San Francisco for meeting the stringent environmental standards of the San Francisco Green Business program. 
  • Sustainability policy language was added to all CLS food service lease and contract agreements.
  • The Pub at UCSF Mission Bay has successfully switched most packaging to compostable and/or recyclable materials and all food vendors are required to use compostable bags. 
  • CLS Retail and Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association continue to offer healthier and sustainable choices to the UCSF community by hosting a weekly Farmers’ Market at Parnassus campus and Mission Bay campus.
  • Onsite campus eateries eliminated the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages.

Sustainable Food Definition

Sustainable food is defined by:

  1. Locally grown (500 miles or fewer)
  2. Locally raised, handled, and distributed
  3. Fair Trade Certified (IMO Fair for Life, Fairtrade International (FLO), Fair Trade USA)
  4. Domestic Fair Trade Certified
  5. Shade-grown or Bird Friendly Coffee
  6. Rainforest Alliance Certified
  7. Food Alliance Certified
  8. USDA Organic
  9. AGA Grass-fed
  10. Grass-finished/100% Grass-fed
  11. Certified Humane Raised & Handled
  12. American Humane Certified
  13. Animal Welfare Approved
  14. Global Animal Partnership (steps III, IV, V)
  15. Cage Free
  16. Protected Harvest Certified
  17. Marine Stewardship Council
  18. Seafood watch guide “Best Choices” or “Good Alternatives”
  19. Farm/business is a cooperative or has profit sharing with all employees
  20. Farm/business social responsibility policy includes (1) union or prevailing wages, (2) transportation and/or housing support, and (3) health care benefits

Toxics Reduction

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Image

Goal:  To incorporate best practices in reducing the use of Chemicals of Concern for human health, excluding those managed by Environmental Health & Safety, in operations and activities at UCSF facilities.

A key achievement for FY17 was the launch of the Pediatric Environmental Health Toolkit (PEHT) web app, an app that helps clinicians and parents better understand the everyday environmental exposures of children to pollutants and steps to decrease harmful exposure.

“Clinicians tend to not think about the environmental causes of health issues because they often do not feel competent to address them,” agreed Dr. Mark Miller, UCSF Assistant Clinical Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine (Division of Occupational and Environmental Health), Co-Director of the Western States Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) at UCSF, and the director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center at the California Environmental Protection Agency. The PEHT addresses this gap by providing easily accessible and credible environmental health information to clinicians so they feel comfortable using it.

On campus, incorporated the Living Building Challenge’s Red List into the Technical Performance Criteria for LEED certified projects to eliminate 10 chemicals of concern.

Culture Shift

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Image

Goal: Encourage the UCSF community to act more sustainably.

The Office of Sustainability continued to make progress embedding sustainability into UCSF’s DNA, by making it more visible and integrating climate change and environmental health into the UCSF curriculum. A key accomplishment was launching Phase II of Climate Changes Health, a campaign that emphasized the vital connection between climate change and health. The issues addressed included the impact of poor air quality on premature births, the impact of water quality and flooding on health, and the impact of extreme heat on vulnerable populations, including youth and the elderly. The poster templates were made available to all the other UC campuses .

Other accomplishments included:

  • Held a successful 7th Annual Sustainability Awards ceremony. UCSF faculty, students, and staff members were recognized for their efforts in supporting and advocating for sustainability measures. “Words used to describe these extraordinary individuals included relentless, engaged, devotion, inspiring, diligent, successful, continually, innovative, and leader, to name just a few,” said Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS, as he introduced the 2017 Sustainability Award winners.
  • Offered a two-week inquiry course to first-year UCSF Medical School students focused on the impacts of climate change and described mechanisms by which human health is affected by environmental change.
  • Completed a successful faculty curriculum workshop on how to integrate environmental sustainability and climate change into UCSF’s curriculum.
  • Recognized 15 offices, labs, clinics, units, and event planners for gaining LivingGreen Certifications in FY17. The LivingGreen certification recognizes offices, laboratories, clinics, and/or units that are actively seeking to reduce energy, waste, water, and toxics; encourage green procurement; and engage others to do the same. The following offices, labs, units, and event planners were acknowledged for gaining certification:

LivingGreen Offices

  • Platinum Category: Facilities Services at Genentech Hall – Utilities Division; UCSF Industry Contracts Division
  • Gold Category: School of Pharmacy Dean’s Office; School of Dentistry Dean’s Office; Facilities Services at Laurel Heights; Campus Planning at 654 Minnesota; Real Estate, Planning, & Capital Programs at 654 Minnesota; Office of the Vice Chancellor for Science Policy and Strategy at Genentech Hall
  • Silver Category: Facilities Services at UC Hall – Utilities Division; Facilities Services at 654 Minnesota; Global Health Sciences at Mission Hall
  • Bronze Category: Pediatric Services at Mission Hall

LivingGreen Labs

  • Platinum Category: The Matthew State Lab

LivingGreen Clinics/Units

  • Gold Category: Pediatric Intensive Care Unit; Obstetric Services and Gynecological Services Specialties
  • Silver Category: Mount Zion Ambulatory Care Unit

LivingGreen Event Planners
The newest category of certifications is the Green Event Planner, started this past winter and focused on zero waste and sustainable food offerings in catering and department events.

  • Silver Category: Emily Lefson - CLS Housing; Cindy Cheng – Department of Radiology & Biomedical Imaging; Colette Ono-Ko - CLS Housing

Sustainable Operation/Green Labs

Photo credit: Marco Sanchez, UCSF Documents and Media Photo

Goal: To develop sustainable practices in the maintenance and operation of UCSF facilities.

  • UCSF Matthew State Lab became the first laboratory to ever achieve a LivingGreen Lab Platinum level certification.
  • Significant energy and cost savings were captured from a fume hood competition and Adopt-A-Spot , a new behavioral campaign launched in two buildings. For Adopt a Spot, the total results for both buildings showed the potential for an estimated decrease in energy waste of 8% at the Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building and 9% at the Smith Cardiovascular Institute Building. Cumulatively, these programs are estimated to save over $133,000 annually.
  • State of the art sample analysis equipment eliminated waste through microchemistry with very little need for benchtop analysis and its associated waste.

Green Buildings
Goal:  All new construction must be certified LEED-NC Silver or better.

Photo credit: Marco Sanchez, UCSF Documents and Media Photo
UCSF selected international architecture firm Stantec Inc. to design the new, state-of-the-art Precision Cancer Medicine Building (PCMB), intended to integrate research and world-class patient care on the UCSF Mission Bay campus. In addition to offering state-of-the-art personal care and cancer treatment, the building was designed to minimize use of toxic building materials and integrate green building components. Groundbreaking for the PCMB took place Friday, April 14, 2017, with Chancellor Sam Hawgood, School of Medicine Dean Talmadge King, and HDFCCC President Alan Ashworth donning hard-hats and shovels to mark the official start of construction. In FY17, the PCMB registered with the US Green Building Council to seek LEED Gold certification, scheduled for completion in 2019.

Other accomplishments included:

  • Received LEED CI Gold certification ( for Parnassus HSIR 7 & 8 in April 2017.
  • The ACC5 Heart and Vascular Center is pending LEED CI Gold certification.
  • Enrolled five new LEED building projects into USGBC: Minnesota Street Housing, PCMB at Mission Bay, Block 33, Block 23A, and 2130 Third Street.
  • Developed Technical Performance Criteria for new campus buildings depending on building type that include sustainable measures for energy, water, and interiors.
  • Hosted the Global Climate Leadership Council (GCLC) meeting, which brought together stakeholders from across the UC system and the public and private sector to discuss findings and progress toward UC’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025. The meeting included a tour of Mission Bay LEED-Gold buildings and Parnassus HSIR 7 & 8 project (LEED CI Gold certification) and a dinner featuring all sustainable food.