Review Metrics & Annual Reports
Below you’ll find explanations of the sustainability areas we track.
UC San Francisco’s goals are to reduce current emission levels to our 1990 levels by 2020 and meet the UC system-wide goal, presented by the Sustainable Practices Policy, to be Carbon Neutral by 2025. UCSF emissions are based upon five major sources: electricity, natural gas, fleet vehicles, commute and air travel. Commute and air travel are two areas where we can engage the campus community to reduce emissions through the increased use of teleconferencing, teleworking and public transit. Department and individual actions such as purchasing energy efficient equipment and turning off lights, appliances, and computer monitors will also play a major role in reaching our emission reduction goals.
Emissions are tracked and reported at three levels of scope. Scope 1 refers to direct emissions from our owned or controlled sources. Scope 2 emissions are indirect and created from the generation of purchased energy. Scope 3 is employee commute and business travel.
Deep energy efficiency projects such as heating/cooling mechanical retrofits and lighting retrofits is one strategy that will help continue to reduce our scope 1 emissions. Wholesale renewable power purchases and biogas development are two other strategies that are being implemented system-wide and are examples of ways to reduce scope 2 emissions. Our 2025 carbon neutrality goal includes Scope 1 and 2.
See UCSF’s 2018 Climate Action Plan presentation to President Napolitano’s Global Climate Leadership Council.
Transportation Services continuously works hard to offer alternative transportation options to the UCSF community. Vanpools, carpools, Zimride, and Waze are some of the rideshare options that not only reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles on the road, but increase workplace comradery. Pre-tax commuter benefits are also available to employees, which lower the cost of public transit and provide incentives to use alternative transport when getting to and from campus. Sturdy bike racks can be found across all UCSF campuses and cages at Parnassus, Mission Bay and Mt. Zion are free to use for anyone with a valid UC id.
The UCSF shuttle service connects all five major campus locations and, in the fall of 2018, Transportation Services added 15 new all-electric, zero-emission buses to their fleet. With handy resources like My Commute and the UCSF Mobile app, UCSF makes it easy for employees to choose alternative transportation.
UCSF Sustainability is tracking the university’s community engagement a number of ways. Quantifiable data like the number of unique website visits, individuals signed up to receive the monthly LivingGreen newsletter, and participants in campus sustainability campaigns are being tracked. The number of unique website visits indicate viewing goes beyond the UCSF community. The Office of Sustainability has received inquiries from as far away as Denmark, Kyrgyzstan, and Korea and interview requests from national media. Tabling events are held at new employee on-boarding sessions as a way to convey UCSF’s commitment to the university’s sustainability goals and get new UCSF community members started off on the right foot.
LivingGreen office, lab, unit, and event planner certifications are also being processed throughout the year (see graph). These LivingGreen assessments engage employees and encourage them to make sustainable changes in their workspace.
Sustainable food is defined as:
- Locally Grown
- Locally Raised, Handled, and Distributed
- Fair Trade Certified
- Domestic Fair Trade Certified
- Shade-Grown or Bird Friendly Coffee
- Rainforest Alliance Certified
- Food Alliance Certified
- USDA Organic
- AGA Grassfed
- Pasture Raised
- Grass-finished/100% Grassfed
- Certified Humane Raised & Handled
- Protected Harvest Certified
- Marine Stewardship Council
- Seafood Watch Guide “Best Choices” or “Good Alternatives”
- Farm/business is a cooperative or has profit sharing with all employees
- Farm/business social responsibility policy includes (1) union or prevailing wages, (2) transportation and/or housing support, and (3) health care benefits
- Other practices or certified processes as determined by the campus and brought to the Sustainable Foodservices Working Group for review and possible addition in future Policy updates.
UCSF has exceed its 2020 goal of ensuring that 20% of food service spend is from sustainable products. In fact, as of FY18, 28% of food spend was on sustainable food products.
Campus convenience stores offer a wide variety of Fair Trade and Organic snacks, Peasant Pies at the Mission Bay campus is certified as a Green Business by the City and County of San Francisco, campus eateries continue to eliminate the sale of sugar sweetened beverages, and weekly farmers’ markets are held at both the Parnassus and Mission Bay campuses. With sustainable food options like these, it is easy for the UCSF community to maintain healthy lifestyles and make environmentally friendly choices.
The UC system-wide Sustainable Practices Policy requires that all new construction and renovations meet the Leadership in Energy and Efficiency Design (LEED) silver criteria a minimum. UCSF seeks to meet the gold standard for all projects. These projects will include increasing space efficiency, reducing leased spaces and concentrating staff at the three primary campuses. With multiple new buildings being constructed at Mission Bay and renovations happening at Parnassus, UCSF is projected to increase its LEED certified space by over one million square feet in the next two years.
Note that because of these efficient construction practices, UCSF’s continuous growth in square footage should not hinder emissions reduction progress or goals.
Due to UCSF being a research and healthcare providing university, medical and infectious waste is unavoidable. A conscious effort is made by our Environmental Health and Safety, Hospitality Department, and staff to reduce hazards through safety training, best practices and reduction of infectious waste where feasible. An on-site steam sterilization system is in use to reduce off-site medical waste disposal and UCSF has partnered with MedShare to donate unused, unexpired and sealed medical supplies to be repurposed for the use at third world clinics and hospitals. The Medical Center is also in the processes of transitioning from using disposable isolation gowns to washable gowns.
UCSF is also striving to reach the UC system-wide Sustainable Practices Policy goal of being zero waste by 2020. Zero waste is defined as diverting 95% of all university solid waste, including the Medical Center, from landfill and is reused, recycled or composted instead (Note: presented graph does not include medical or construction and demolition waste). UCSF Facilities Management is working to reach this goal by hosting regular bulky item and e-waste drop-off days, as well as furthering outreach and education on waste diversion via campaigns, events, digital signage and accessible online sorting tools.
Recycled Paper Usage
The UC system-wide Sustainable Practices Policy states that the University will phase out the use of virgin paper and adopt a minimum standard of 30% Post-Consumer Waste (PCW) recycled content paper to be used in all office equipment (e.g., multi-function devices, copiers, printers, and fax machines). While 85% of the copy paper used on campus is PCW, the medical center has completely converted to 30% PCW paper. The policy also supports the ongoing transition to electronic documentation which will also decrease paper usage in general.
UCSF has exceeded the Sustainable Practices Policy goal of reducing water usage by 36% by 2025. As of 2017, the university has reduced usage by 47% compared to the 2007 baseline. By implementing projects such as upgrading inefficient bulk sterilizers in the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Research Building and autoclave removal form from the Medical Center at Parnassus OR anteroom, UCSF is able to make big impacts. Upgraded water meters have also allowed facilities to detect problems quicker, which mean less wasted water through leaks and drips, and identify water-saving opportunities.