Review Metrics & Annual Reports


Photo credit: Derrick Tyler, UCSF Transportation Services

Strengthening the Connection Between Climate Change and Environmental Health

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with nationally renowned programs in basic, biomedical, translational, and population sciences; and a preeminent biomedical research enterprise. It also includes UCSF Health, which comprises top-ranked hospitals, UCSF Medical Center, and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland – and other partner and affiliated hospitals and healthcare providers throughout the Bay Area.

Over the FY 2017-18 (FY18), 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) both continued to take climate action and work toward making UCSF and the health care sector more sustainable.

“As the leading health sciences university in the nation, UCSF recognizes the connection between taking action against climate change and protecting public health, which is consistent with our mission,” explained Gail Lee, UCSF Sustainability Director. Reaching carbon neutrality by 2025 is what keeps Lee tossing and turning at night.

Tackling climate change and sustainability challenges at UCSF is no small task given its size and scope. Administrative, academic, clinical, and research operations cover over 10 million square feet in 130 buildings, which include 350 research labs throughout San Francisco. A key challenge is how to continue to make progress on sustainability goals in the midst of significant growth—six new buildings are expected to open by 2020.

This online Sustainability Annual Report details UCSF Campus’ and UCSF Health’s key accomplishments for FY18. Please note this year we created a single executive summary for the entire university; see the FY18 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

Photo credit: Steve Babuljak

UCSF’s leadership in sustainability was recognized once again by Practice Greenhealth; UCSF Health received Practice Greenhealth’s 2018 Greenhealth Emerald Award, the second highest recognition award for leadership in sustainability. UCSF Health’s commitments to sustainability include collecting and buying reprocessed medical devices saving over $2 million last year, running a successful pilot for washable isolation gowns instead of disposable ones in 5 patient care units, and changing menus to include 24 percent sustainable food by UC’s definition.

Other key accomplishments include:

Climate Change

Photo credit: Derrick Tyler, UCSF Transportation Services

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

UCSF has developed a strategy to meet the University of California goal to be carbon neutral by 2025. Its Climate Action Plan (CAP), an update of the Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategy, 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 (Scope 1 and 2); the other lesser contributors are commuter travel and airline travel (3 emissions). The CAP includes two categories of GHG reduction strategies: those to which UCSF is currently committed to in terms of funding and/or implementation (called “Tier 1” measures); and those that are in the planning stages (called “Tier 2” measures). 

A key accomplishment for FY18 was signing a Power Purchase Agreement with SunPower to complete six new solar installations, which will produce approximately 3.1 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable, emissions-free electricity per year (about 4% of the annual electricity used at UCSF and enough to completely power 446 average California homes. SunPower will own and operate the solar panels and sell electricity to UCSF at a slightly lower rate than it would pay PG&E (expected savings: $3.6M over 25-year term). The six sites include: School of Dentistry, Oyster Point, Mission Hall, Owens Street Parking Garage, Rutter Center Parking Garage, and the parking lot at UCSF Fresno.

In FY18 UCSF installed 16 new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations for the UCSF community and visitors for “top-off” charging. These stations are a part of the ChargePoint Network and offer Level 2 (220 volt) chargers, which are designed to charge electric vehicles for a fee of $1.25 per hour, up to a four-hour maximum. The Volta Network chargers provide free electric vehicle charging. Chargers are now available at the following locations (During FY19, UCSF is planning to install another 20 stations at four different sites):

  • Mission Bay Community Center Garage (10 Chargepoint + 2 Volta chargers = 12 chargers)
  • Mission Bay 3rd Street Garage (2 Chargepoint + 2 Volta chargers = 4 chargers)
  • Mission Bay Hospital Garage (16 Chargepoint + 2 Volta chargers = 18 chargers)
  • Parnassus Heights Millberry Union Public Garage (6 Chargepoint + 2 Volta chargers = 8 chargers)
  • Parnassus ACC (16 Chargepoint chargers)
  • Mount Zion 2420 Sutter Garage (6 Chargepoint chargers)

In addition, UCSF purchased 15 new Build Your Dreams electric transit buses to replace 15 diesel shuttles. Fifteen high-level EV bus-charging stations were also installed. Collectively, UCSF’s 15 all-electric buses will reduce UCSF’s CO2 emissions by 61 metric tons per year. With the addition of the 15 all-electric buses, 28% of UCSF’s intra campus fleet is all-electric.

UCOP’s provided $4,000 stipends for students to work on Climate Neutrality Initiative (CNI) projects. Three CNI stipends were awarded to a team of dental students, a team of medical students, and an anesthesia resident.  The teams each provided a ten-week seminar series on sustainability as it relates to their focus areas with great success.

Other key accomplishments are summarized below.

Energy and Emissions

  • 2017 CY greenhouse gas emissions for Scope 1 and 2 were 96,005 MTCO2e, a decrease of 11.8% from the prior year, despite adding 1.4 million square feet (Mission Bay Hospitals, Mission Hall, Sandler Neurosciences, and Aldae Community Center), in part due to energy efficient design, retrofits, and behavior change campaigns.
  • Trend: UCSF has reduced Scope 1 and 2 emissions from 112,720 in 2012 to 96,005 MTCO2e in 2017, despite significant growth. This is attributed to a continuous focus on energy efficiency retrofits, behavior change campaigns, utilization of UC’s wholesale power program, and purchasing grid electricity from cleaner sources.


  • Over FY17, the campus single occupancy vehicle (SOV) rate was an impressive 26.1% including students and 28.3% excluding students (waiting for 2018 survey results), one of the lowest in the UC system.
  • Continued to offer a $3,000 Nissan Leaf EV rebate for the UCSF community (UCSF Campus and UCSF Health)—and with the state and federal tax incentives, the total discount on a Leaf purchase came to $13,000!
  • Offered MyCommute assistance in an each phone app for quick access.
  • Rolled out Tripshot, a new shuttle tracking service for up-to-the-second shuttle information, available as a website and an app.
  • Participated in Bike to Work Day with energizing stations at both Parnassus and Mission Bay campuses.
  • Launched Scoop, an on-demand ride sharing app that matches commuters driving into the San Francisco Mission Bay Area from the north, south, and east bay with other passengers or drivers going the same way to work and home. 
  • Offered Chariot, which provides convenient routes across the Bay Bridge from Oakland and Berkeley/Emeryville to Mission Bay to serve UCSF employees, faculty, and students commuting from the East Bay. 
  • Installed new Ford GoBike pods at Mission Bay and Minnesota Street, providing an environmentally friendly, affordable travel to address that last mile travel from transit stops. To use the system riders can become an annual member or buy a single ride or day pass. To unlock the bikes, a convenient mobile app or Clipper card can be used. Riders can dock their bikes at any Ford GoBike station.
  • Trend: UCSF has seen a consistent decrease in the overall UCSF commuter SOV rate; it was 48% in 1991, 34.4% in 2009, 30.5% in 2014, and 26.1% in 2017. This is great news, since 14% of UCSF’s carbon footprint is created by commuter travel. The UCSF SOV target rate is 22%.

Highlight on UCSF Green Champion Julie Sutton: Nissan LEAF Discount Delivers Benefits

Julie Sutton, UCSF Facilities Program Manager, always wanted an electric car, but affordability was an issue. Then she learned about the incentive program for the LEAF in the UCSF sustainability newsletter. 

The LEAF has worked well for Sutton all around. She needed a car with a 120-mile range to cover her daily commute, and the LEAF can go 175 miles per nightly charge. With a simple adapter, she was able to convert an existing 240-plug from an old drier in the garage into a home charging station. The car drives smoothly as well and has many attractive safety features. 

With the UCSF discount and tax incentives she was able to get a top of the line electric car for $24,000. “I like the idea of not relying on gas,” Sutton shares, “not only the environmental benefits, but the cost savings.” Public transportation wasn’t feasible for her as a working parent because of the time it would take. She says, “Now my car payment is less than what I was paying in gas.”


Photo credit: UCSF Facilities

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

A key accomplishment for FY18 was the completion by UCSF Facilities of 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 that amount in water savings.

UCSF 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 the department a rebate of $86,000. Water consumption was verified by installing water meters on the old sterilizers; weekly baseline meter readings were taken for two months. Water meters on the new sterilizers were read until the water savings payback was met. The old sterilizers used 6,844,314 gallons of water per year; the new sterilizers use 34,161 gallons per year, for an estimated savings of $150,000 annually. 

UCSF Facilities developed an education and engagement campaign for the university community called Every Drop Counts, which will be launched in FY19. The goals of the campaign are to communicate the connection between drought and climate change, the current state of water resources in California, and what UCSF is doing to mitigate water resource issues. It will cover the main areas on campus where the community can be engaged with targeted education and information on posters, aiming to get people involved in taking UCSF’s water saving efforts to the next level. Posters will include metrics and data, a result of being designed with the more ‘technical’ audience of the UCSF community in mind.

Other accomplishments included:

  • UCSF Campus exceeded the new UCOP water reduction goal by reducing the water consumption per weighted campus user by 49% compared to the 2007 baseline (UCOP goal is 36% by 2025). Potable water use on campus increased by 2.46 M gallons between FY17 and FY18, in part due to the unseasonably hot fall, but potable water use per capita (gpy/WCU) decreased by 329, from 9,453 in FY17 to 9,124 in FY18.
  • Facilities installed electronic water sub-meters on multiple buildings, connecting them to the building data management system and developed a comprehensive meter plan to meter all building utilities. This will allow Facilities to identify problems quicker, gather better data, and identify water saving opportunities.
  • Facilities developed a data analytics strategy to optimize efficiency and building system performance using the building data management system.
  • UCSF Health reduced its annual per capita water use from 349 gallons in FY16 to 331 gallons in FY18, a 13% reduction from baseline.
  • Trend: UCSF Campus’ water use has steadily declined, from a peak of 230,039,000 gallons in FY12 to 154,878,449 in FY18. Per capita potable water use declined from 15,962 in 2009 to 9,124 in FY18. UCSF Health’s water use has also steadily declined from a per capita water use of 455 in FY09 to 331 in FY18.

Zero Waste

Photo credit: UCSF Office of Sustainability

Goal:  To achieve zero waste by 2020.  

In FY18, a key accomplishment was the development of a new tool for tackling food waste, Food 4 UCSF Students. Based on a 2015 study done by the UC Office of the President, 23% of UC students are considered to have “low” food security (reduced quality, desirability, or variety of food), while 19% have “very low” security (disrupted eating patterns throughout the year and reduced food intake). UCSF implemented the new tool to better address this university-wide concern and bridge the gap between wasted food and food-insecure students. 

Through the UCSF Food Security for Students program, a text notification system or “app” was created that sends out messages to students when there is leftover food on campus from catered events. This isn’t the type of app that you might download onto your phone, but rather a tool that allows the UCSF community to notify students through My Access. The app was originally launched at Parnassus and proved to be successful; it is now available for Mission Bay students as well. 

Nationally, food waste from food purchases averages about 40%.  Observations from catered events showed that remaining food was often wasted.  UCSF now encourages event planners to sign up for the app as a provider so they can alert students through the Food4UCSF student app.  Many times, within 10 minutes of the posting, students arrive to enjoy the remaining food. 

Other accomplishments included:

  • Reached a diversion rate of 78% in FY18 without construction & demolition (C&D) for UCSF Campus (a 3% increase since FY17). This is second highest among all the UC schools, after UC Irvine.
  • Hosted 40 events, engaged nearly 3000 employees, and created three education campaigns that were distributed through digital signage, posters, campus news articles, and email correspondence.
  • Expanded recycling program to accept more material consistent with waste hauler changes like accepting paper cups into recycling instead of compost.
  • CLS Retail collaborated with UCSF Recycling team to promote ”Zero Waste” by 2020 to all food vendors.
  • Trend: UCSF campus has achieved a steady increase in the total percentage of total solid waste generated per year that is reused, recycled, or composted (medical center and C&D waste not included). It has increased from 40% in 2005 to 75% in FY17. The diversion rate with and without C&D for the campus increased 3% since FY17 (75% to 78%).

UCSF Health

  • Reached a diversion rate of 40% for UCSF Health municipal waste (C&D not included).
  • Reprocessed Single Use Devices for the sixth year, saving $1.9 million.
  • Developed a new program to transition from disposable isolation gowns to washable isolation gowns. Piloted the program in five units and overall feedback was positive. Seeking funds to implement at Helen Diller Family Medical Center (Parnassus Moffitt/Long).
  • Received an $85,000 grant from the City and County of San Francisco for waste reduction, recycling, and composting in Perioperative areas at the Helen Diller Family Medical Center.
  • Initiated a pilot in CY17 to evaluate reprocessing of air-assisted patient transfer matts with Hygia, implemented collection of these matts, and evaluated the utilization of air-assisted patient warming covers as well, which eliminates them in favor of warm gowns and blankets. These efforts resulted in a savings of over $300,000/year and diverted 28,223 pounds of waste from landfills.
  • Utilized MedShare to collect and redistribute over 8,066 pounds of appropriate medical supplies and equipment to third world countries in need. To date, over 25,000 pounds have been collected.
  • Incorporated recycled content staple handles into surgical spine kits and working to include into surgical orthopedic kits, reducing the demand for fossil fuels in the manufacturing of plastics.


Photo credit: iStock

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

A key accomplishment in FY18 was UCSF Documents & Media offering TreeZero paper made from 100% bagasse to the UCSF community for their print orders.

TreeZero paper is 100% recycled, turning an industrial waste that would be incinerated or landfilled into a useful product. Something to note is the difference between PCW recycled paper and this type of recycled paper. PCW paper comes from consumer products that have served their use and then have been recycled after being diverted from the waste stream. Tree-free paper is considered “pre-consumer” or “post-industrial” waste, because it is generated from waste created during the production process. It can also be recycled after use along with other paper, becoming PCW paper in a future life.

Other accomplishments include:

  • As part of the new campaign to reduce energy use in labs, UCSF Office of Sustainability raised awareness about purchasing Energy Star, EPEAT, and energy efficient options for lab equipment. Go here to see Energy Star lab-grade freezer and refrigerator options. For desktops, laptops, imaging equipment, mobile phones, and televisions, EPEAT, the leading global ecolabel for the IT sector, provides institutional purchasers an easy way to identify and compare high-performance, more-sustainable products.
  • Actively participated in the UC Sustainable Procurement Working Group, which is tasked with leading university sustainable procurement efforts by both the UC Sustainability Steering Committee and Procurement Leadership Council.
  • Encouraged a supplier with an energy efficient freezer to get the ENERGY STAR certification as part of strategic sourcing efforts.
  • UCSF continued to participate in SunShares, which offers the UCSF community discounts on residential solar installations and zero emission vehicles (ZEV). Since 2013, 28 UCSF households have switched to solar energy at home (165.12 KWhs of solar installed) thanks to SunShares. In 2017 SunShares helped put solar on 208 more homes in the Bay Area, three of them belonging to UCSF community members. One UCSF employee who switched to solar electricity is Ann Magner, an oncology nurse at UCSF Health. She looked into doing it many years ago, but the cost was prohibitive at that time. She wanted to save money and have a fixed energy cost, as well as reduce her environmental footprint. The process included a site visit that reviewed roof size and exposure, along with utility bills, to determine the ideal installation size for her home. With financing offered through the program, her monthly payments for the system stay the same. “SunShares made it doable,” Magner shared, “and it was hard to resist since the program is so well-curated. It felt like it was handed to me on a silver platter.”

Sustainable Food
Farmer's Market
Photo credit: Noah Berger

Goal: To purchase 20% sustainable food by 2020.

Campus Life Services (CLS) Retail works with its vendors to: source local and sustainable products, save water and energy, reduce waste, and educate the UCSF community about green living practices.

A key accomplishment for FY18 was getting commitments from seven departments to go beef and lamb-free. Four UCSF second-year medical students—Jason Parad, Carolyn Rennels, Briton Lee, and Gabriela Weigel—have called upon departments in the School of Medicine to commit to going beef and lamb-free. In addition to their work load as medical students, the team of four students has been inspired to spark UCSF departments to purchase less beef and lamb—both to reduce health impacts associated with red-meat consumption and to address the social injustices related to climate impacts. Rennels and Weigel are 2017-2018 UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative (CNI) Fellows, focusing on how to encourage activism though education. The voluntary commitment asks departments to avoid purchasing beef and lamb with departmental funds and to avoid serving beef or lamb at departmental events.

To-date, the following departments have agreed to the commitment:

  • Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, UCSF School of Medicine
  • Department of Urology, UCSF School of Medicine
  • Department of Ophthalmology, UCSF School of Medicine
  • Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine, UCSF School of Medicine
  • Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, UCSF School of Medicine
  • Community Health Systems Department, UCSF School of Nursing
  • UCSF Real Estate (formerly Planning, Capital Programs, Real Estate Assets and Development), FAS

Other accomplishments included:

  • CLS Retail achieved a total spend on sustainable food of 45% and UCSF Health achieved 24%. The definition of sustainable food is included at the end of this section.
  • As discussed above in the Zero Waste section, developed a new tool for tackling food waste, Food 4 UCSF Students.
  • Launched the Student Food Market to address food insecurity at UCSF.
  • 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.
  • Switched from plastic to paper straws at Carmelina’s Taqueria and Moffitt Cafe.
  • Continued to encourage customers to Bring Your Own Cup (BYOC) with signage. Customers that bring their own cup when they order a coffee or tea (up to 16oz), pay for just a small cup.  Office of Sustainability, Moffitt Café, and Retail restaurants joined forces to purchase insulated steel travel mugs and sold at cost to encourage reducing coffee cup waste.  Sustainability gave these away at new employee orientation with the promise to use daily reducing 25 pounds of waste per year.
  • Trend: UCSF CLS Retail has made steady progress in increasing the total spend on sustainable food on campus, from 17% in FY14 to 45% in FY18, as self-reported by the CLS Retail food tracking tool. UCSF Health also has achieved a steady increase, from 10% in FY10 to 26% in FY17. However, UCSF Health sees a challenge in maintaining this increase in the future in part due to an increase in the overall total food spend.

  • 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

    Toxic Reduction

    Photo credit: UCSF Brand Library

      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 FY18 was two existing buildings and five new buildings agreeing to embrace the Living Building Challenge Red List for purchases of furnishings. The Red List, created by the International Living Future Institute, is known as a rigorous standard for the built environment; it includes the worst-in-class materials prevalent in the building industry. While the Living Building Challenge is focused on greening entire buildings, the Red List can also be applied to furniture. The remodel of Mission Hall is the first building to apply the Red List vetting process.

    With UCSF having a mission focused on advancing health worldwide and five new building projects coming online next year, aligning its purchasing power with its commitment to global health is a powerful strategy. UCSF will be investing over $40 million in furnishings with these large, new projects, which include two existing buildings, Mission Hall and Clinical Sciences Building (CSB), and six new construction projects: Weil Neurosciences (B23A), UCSF Center for Vision Neurosciences (B33), Precision Cancer Medicine Building (PCMB), Minnesota Street housing, a new child care center.

    Other key achievements include:

    • Collaborated on a new children’s environmental health video entitled Cause or Cure? from Little Things Matter productions. UCSF’s Dr. Mark Miller, Co-Director of the Western States Pediatric Environmental Specialty Unit (PEHSU), consulted on the video, which uses childhood leukemia and autism to illustrate how environmental triggers play a major role in the development of diseases and disabilities. The video’s key message is that shifting more of our resources to prevention could reduce the incidence of many chronic diseases.
    • The UCSF community can now purchase regularly used items for their office, such as task chairs or tables, through a partnership with One Workplace, which partners with over 700 furniture manufacturers. UCSF now has access to the leading providers of office furniture that incorporate sustainability. One Workplace is under contract with UCSF to procure discounts from manufacturers that have committed to produce Red List-free products. They feature Steelcase and other high-quality furnishings at a group discount to UCSF.
    • Through the partnerships between the UCSF School of Pharmacy, UCSF Health’s Department of Pharmaceutical Services, and Walgreens, the Walgreens at UCSF Parnassus Pharmacy (500 Parnassus J Level) now has a Safe Medication Disposal Kiosk. Individuals can safely and conveniently dispose of their unwanted, unused, or expired medications, such as over-the-counter and prescription medications, keeping them from harming water supplies and the environment.
    • UCSF continues to take a leadership role in pushing the science to protect both children and the UCSF community from exposure to toxics and unregulated chemicals. UCSF’s Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment (PRHE) ( works at the intersection of science, medicine, policy, and community. It conducts targeted research, translates scientific findings in order to expand clinical practice, and advances science-based policy solutions. PRHE applies respected scientific expertise to answer complex environmental health-related questions and to develop science-based policy strategies. Its work includes creating a science-based foundation for policy by evaluating, synthesizing, translating, and interpreting scientific findings for relevant audiences, including policy makers, the public, patients, and health-affected and community groups. In 2017, as part of PRHE’s work to improve the scientific basis of decision making, it published three articles of interest:
      1. Science, “Estimating the Health Benefits of Environmental Regulations,” August 2017
      2. PLOS One, “Cumulative Effects of Prenatal-exposure to Exogenous Chemicals and Psychosocial Stress on Fetal Growth,” July 2017
      3. Environmental Health Perspectives, “Developmental PBDE Exposure and IQ/ADHD in Childhood: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis,” August 2017

    Culture Shift

    Photo credit: UCSF Office of Sustainability

    Goal: Encourage the UCSF community to act more sustainably. 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 engaging the UCSF community to make pledges in regards to environmental health at the IT Sharecase and the Lab Vendor’s Showcase at Mission Bay. Attendees of both events were excited to sift through all the different pledges the Office of Sustainability had to offer. Pledges available ranged from eating less beef to using reusable bags, and some people even pledged to take multiple actions. 

    UCSF Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) has identified five “True North” Pillars to guide UCSF’s overall direction; the pillars guide tactical decisions, realign priorities, and provide a framework for helping people think systemically about how to align their work. In recognition of rising energy costs, air pollution, climate change impacts, and UC President’s leadership and participation at the Paris Climate Conference, combined with a period of unprecedented campus growth and the short time frame to achieve carbon neutrality, FAS has made reaching carbon neutrality by 2025 a strategic priority. The carbon neutrality goal fits under Resource Management and Stewardship, one of five “True North” Pillars. Progress is reported as metric tons of CO2e per year.

    Other accomplishments included:

    • UCSF held a successful 8th Annual Sustainability Awards ceremony. UCSF faculty, students, and staff members were recognized for their efforts in supporting and advocating for sustainability measures.
    • The UCSF Medical School integrated environmental health into the inquiry blocks of its Bridges Curriculum for medical students. The Bridges Curriculum contains an Inquiry Immersion Block where students take a deep dive into specific health issues, and for the last two years environmental health was a key feature in this block. Through collaboration with Dr. Michelle Hermiston, Co-Director of the Core Inquiry Curriculum, the course presented an overview of environmental health issues and why they’re important, followed by a case study on environmental exposures and infertility that unfolded over 2 weeks. The case study was based on the Story of Health, co-authored by UCSF Assistant Clinical Professor Dr. Mark Miller, Co-Director of the UCSF Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU). 
    • Since 2015, Dr. Robert Gould, Associate Adjunct Professor in the Department of OBGYN & Reproductive Sciences, has been the course director for the popular elective course Women’s Health, the Environment, and Health Professional Activism. With Dr. Robert Gould as the faculty adviser, second year medical students Gabriela Weigel and Carolyn Rennels coordinated an elective course titled Women, the Environment, and Physician Activism: Encouraging Activism through Education. This course consisted of ten, one-hour long lecture sessions given by a wide range of professionals on topics that included inequality, prenatal health, and sustainable food practices.
    • Over 143 offices, labs, clinics/units, and event planners have been certified in the past five years by the UCSF Office of Sustainability LivingGreen certification program.  It aims to reduce energy use, water use, and waste consumption within university workspaces. In FY18, 36 additional spaces achieved certification. The following offices, labs, units, and event planners were acknowledged for gaining certification:

    LivingGreen Office Certifications

    • Platinum: Library Tech Commons
    • Gold: China Basin Radiology, Suite 350; Student Success Center, MU 100; Office of Student and Curricular Affairs, S960; Dept. of Quality (Medical Center); Office of Population Health and Accountable Care ; Campus Life Services, 654 MN; Housing (Mission Bay)
    • Silver: Finance Service Center, 654 MN; Risk Management/Insurance Services, 654 MN; Research Development, Genentech 116; Facilities, ACC- 56

    LivingGreen Lab Certifications

    • Silver: Dept. of Pharmaceutical Chemistry; ZSFG Cardiology Lab
    • Bronze: Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences


    • Platinum: Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (BCH)
    • Silver: UCSF Primary Care Services; UCSF Urology Practice

    LivingGreen Event Planner Certifications
    This was the second year event planners were recognized, as there is much interest in learning to host zero waste and sustainable food events. The focus on using compostables at events reduces landfill waste and its related methane emissions, and utilizing compost on agricultural lands helps sequester carbon and returns nutrients to the soil. Efforts such as these help UCSF reduce its impact on the environment and move toward meeting UC sustainability goals.

    • Gold:  Bethanie Brandon- ObGyn and Reproductive Sciences; Jane Brooks- Office of Continuing Medical Education; Noemi Hollander- Student Success Center; JoAnn Lopez- Student Success Center; Kathy Chew- Student Success Center; Robert Mansfield- Global Health Sciences
    • Silver: Stephanie Handler - Alumni Relations, Faculty House; Sarah Stamatoplos- Clinical Labs; Katherine Krebs- Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences; Jessica Mcgowan-Vanderbeck- Housing Services; Gaelen Lombard- Office of Continuing Medical Education; Edgar Micua-Department of Medicine Research Administration Office; Abilene Binaoro- Anesthesia; Freya Magnusson- Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
    • Bronze: Irene Merry - Academic Affairs; Christine Milentis- Osher Center for Integrative Medicine; Yvette Coulter- Osher Center for Integrative Medicine; Heather De Martini- Osher Center for Integrative Medicine

    Sustainable Operations/ Green Labs

    Photo credit: Green Impact

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

    UCSF has over 2.6 million gross square feet of buildings focused on research. These labs are developing life-saving cures to some of the most challenging diseases and debilitating injuries, but the electricity that powers this life-saving research has a shadow side—a carbon footprint. 

    A key accomplishment for FY18 was launching a new poster campaign with a clear call to action: reduce wasted energy by turning off lab equipment and monitors during non-occupied hours. The campaign focused on five simple, small actions labs can do to collectively make a difference:

    1. Turn off equipment
    2. Set ULTs at -70C
    3. Buy Energy Star equipment
    4. Use timers on equipment
    5. Get LivingGreen Certified

    Other accomplishments include:

    • As reported above in the Water section, UCSF Facilities provided one rebate and SF Water provided one rebate, for a total rebate of $121,000 for replacing seven sterilizers, saving six million gallons a year or $145,000 annually.
    • As reported above in the Climate Change section, 22 new energy efficient ULT freezers were purchased, taking advantage of the $4,000 rebate for replacement of old ULTs for Energy Star ULTs. In addition, $1,000 is offered it labs commit to “chilling up” to -70C, which reduces energy use by 25-30%.

    Green Building

    Photo credit: Courtesy of UCSF Health, Stantec, Rudolph & Sletten, and Cambridge CM

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

    FY18 was a busy year for UCSF in regards to green building—building projects in process include:

    New Construction

    • Weil Neurosciences (B23A): Pending, new construction (BD+C), Silver
    • UCSF Center for Vision Neurosciences (B33): Pending, BD+C, Silver
    • Precision Cancer Medicine Building (PCMB): Pending, BD+C, Gold
    • Minnesota Street housing and a new child care center (UCSF 590/600 Minnesota Street Housing): Pending, BD+C, Gold
    • 2130 Third Street: Pending, BD+C, Gold

    Commercial Interiors/Existing Buildings

    • UCSF Medical Center at Parnassus ACC5 Heart & Vascular Remodel: Commercial Interiors (CI), approved LEED Certified (under appeal). Registered with Green Building Certification Institute.
    • UCSF Medical Center at Parnassus ACC2 Spine Center Remodel: Pending, CI
    • UCSF Medical Center at Parnassus ACC7 Connie Frank Transplant Center Remodel: Pending, CI
    • Clinical Sciences Building (CSB Seismic Retrofit and Renovation): 2020, CI

    The UCSF PCMB, in construction during FY18, is trying for LEED Gold Certification (Rating System:  LEED BD+C: New Construction v4- LEED v4). The building is expected to open in spring 2019. Some of the sustainability features include:

    • High-performance glass to reduce solar heat gain to minimize peak heat loads;
    • Higher air exchanges and use of 100% filtered outside air;
    • PVC free wall protection/handrails, vinyl flooring, and upholstery;
    • All LED lighting and occupancy sensors to maximize energy savings;
    • Photo sensors for daylight controlled lighting in perimeter spaces;
    • Low flow fixtures;
    • Permanent entryway mat, to capture dirt and particles;
    • Red List incorporated into furnishings; and
    • Necessary infrastructure so solar panels can be installed on the roof in the future.

    Other key accomplishments include:

    • The UCSF ACC5 Heart and Vascular project, which is registered with Green Building Certification Institute, was LEED-Certified; this decision is being appealed for some additional credits to achieve LEED Silver Certification (Rating System: LEED 2009 for Commercial Interiors).
    • Technical Performance Criteria was created for new projects in the areas of energy efficiency, water conservation, and green interiors.
    • As discussed above in the Toxics section, incorporated the Living Future Institute’s “The Red List” into the $40M furniture contract for two existing and five new UCSF buildings.
    • Trends: UCSF has made significant progress on increasing the total number of buildings that are LEED certified. In 2005, only one building was certified. By 2017, a total of 20 buildings were certified: four at a rating level of Leed Certified; six at a rating of LEED Silver Certification, and ten at a rating of LEED Gold Certification Gold.