Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact, February 2016

UCSF’s New FY15 Sustainability Annual Report: Living Our Commitment to Health & Sustainability

This article highlights UCSF’s greatest sustainability accomplishments on its campus and the medical center over the FY15.  For those interested in more details, please see the full online Annual Report.  You can download an Executive Summary for the campus HERE and an Executive Summary for the medical center HERE.


UCSF’s leadership in sustainability was put into action when it hosted the US Green Building Council’s Building Health Forum at the Mission Bay Campus.  The well-attended event highlighted the health benefits of green building best practices. Over 125 architects, building owners and design engineers attended.

The UCSFMC’s outstanding leadership in energy savings, water conservation, waste reduction, sustainability leadership, employee engagement and green chemicals was recognized by Practice Green Health with a Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award and three Circles of Excellence Awards in categories of climate, green building and leadership.  Diego Castellani, Dan Henroid, Sarah Janssen and Dick Chan are in the photo accepting the award.  UCSF MC was also recognized through an independent review by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the 50 Greenest Hospitals in America.


UCSF continues to work hard toward its goal of carbon neutrality. Despite adding several new lab buildings, since FY05, UCSF was able to reduce its campus-wide energy by 10% and achieved a 24% improvement in energy use per square foot.  Getting faculty, staff and students out of their cars is a top priority and in FY15, the campus single occupancy vehicle (SOV) rate was 29%, making UCSF the second lowest SOV rate among all 10 campuses.

The medical center is working hard to promote and encourage carbon neutrality in its buildings and transportation programs.  The new Mission Bay Medical Center is 50% more efficient than a conventional hospital, receiving a $829,839 rebate from PG&E as part of the Strategic Energy Partnership.  In FY15, the medical center reduced its Single Occupancy Vehicle (SOV) rate to 39%, implemented a new compressed natural gas (CNG) shuttle for patient/visitor transport around Mission Bay and installed 16 new EV charging stations and a new bike cage at Mission Bay.


During FY15, the UCSF Campus accomplished many feats to drastically conserve water. These included reduced potable water use, completed the Water Action Plan, inventoried water equipment and implemented water rebate programs, achieving a 26% reduction in water use compared to FY14. As reported to UCOP, in FY15 the UCSF campus consumed 11,129 gallons of potable water per capita. This is a 27% reduction from its FY08 to FY10 baseline. This achievement means that the campus has met the 2020 Policy goal of reducing potable water consumption by 20% below the baseline, five years early.

UCSFMC also outperformed the 2020 policy goal of reducing potable water consumption by 20 percent below the baseline. As reported to UCOP, the medical center’s current annual water usage for FY15 was 353 annual gallons per Adjusted Patient Day, a 33.2% change from the baseline average.  Overall water use at the medical center was reduced by 13% from FY14.


The campus is working diligently toward its goal of achieving zero waste by 2020.  In FY15, UCSF diverted 69% of its waste from the landfill, an increase of 3% from FY14, as a result of intensive efforts to improve data quality and a range of campus recycling programs to reduce waste, reuse materials and compost and recycle what is left.  Contributing to this success, UCSF held monthly e-waste collection events, move-out clean up days, ongoing education programs and improved waste sorting efforts.

The UCSFMC achieved a 34% waste diversion rate, down from 44% last year, due to the transition to the new Mission Bay Hospitals. Reprocessing of single use devices in the OR, Cath lab and patient care units diverted 44,000 lbs of waste, generating a considerable $1.04M in savings.


BearBuy users now have the option of purchasing 100% post-consumer waste (PCW) recycled content paper at an affordable rate —saving trees and money.  In addition, all printers, computers, laptops, servers and LCD screens are Energy Star certified and printers, laptops and desktop computers EPEAT certified.


UCSF Retail Services achieved 18% of total spend on sustainable food, on track to meet UCSF’s goal of 20% sustainable food by 2020.  Nutrition and Food Services remarkably exceeded UCOP’s Goal by 6.7%, and six years early, with sustainable food spend at 26.7%.


Due to negative health and environmental impacts, UCSF has eliminated Triclosan, a common antibacterial compound, from hand soaps.  In addition, all cleaning supplies are now Green Seal certified.  UCSF also supported the publication of Toxic Matters to educate parents on how to prevent toxic chemical exposures at home, at work and in the community.


The shift to sustainability was evident at the well attended 5th Annual Sustainability Awards, where Chancellor Hawgood presented awards to faculty, staff, student and team categories and awarded 25 LivingGreen office, lab and clinic/unit certifications.  Once again, the 2015 LivingGreen Fair was a big success, with over 1,500 attendees and 80+ vendors in attendance. Booths highlighted green laboratory practices, sustainable products, food, transportation and UCSF’s sustainability programs. 

Further, over 69,000 unique visitors visited the UCSF sustainability website during FY15.

The Green Challenge was created by the Academic Senate Committee on Sustainability and supported by Senior Vice Chancellor John Plotts to challenge the UCSF community to submit innovative sustainability ideas.  Twenty-two ideas were submitted and vetted by a committee of several faculty members. Artemio Cardenas, Analyst in the Academic Senate Administration, was awarded a $5,000 prize for his idea to develop engaging digital displays of UCSF energy and carbon emissions data to educate and engage building occupants. 


The School of Nursing building was certified as a LEED – EBOM (Existing Building Operations and Maintenance), no easy task in a building first occupied in 1971.


The new Mission Bay Hospitals (The Gateway Medical Building, Betty Irene Moore Women’s Hospital, Bakar Cancer Hospital and the Benioff Children’s Hospital) received one LEED-Gold certification for new construction (LEED-NC). All buildings feature remarkable green design elements such as roof top gardens and terraces, natural daylighting, energy efficient ventilation systems, green interiors, water recovery and reuse. In addition, the Parnassus Ambulatory Care Center’s Heart and Vascular Clinic Renovation (ACC4) was submitted to US Green Building Council for LEED-Silver Certification for Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI).

Story by Green Impact.