Review Metrics & Annual Reports

Annual Sustainability Report FY15-16

A Year of Leadership

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Fall

UC San Francisco Campus (UCSF) and UCSF Health, which includes Mt Zion Hospital, Children’s Hospital San Francisco, Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, Moffitt/Long Hospitals at Parnassus, Betty Irene Moore Women’s Hospital, and Bakar Cancer Hospital at Mission Bay, continued to demonstrate leadership in health and sustainability during FY 2015-16 (FY16). UCSF is dedicated to transforming health worldwide through research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care, as well as through innovative sustainability programs.

This online Sustainability Annual Report summarizes the UCSF campus’ and UCSF Health’s key accomplishments for the 2015-16 Fiscal Year (FY16).  It also includes goals for FY17.  Where available, it presents data separately for the UCSF Campus and the UCSF Health.

For a summary of the accomplishments for the UCSF Campus see the UCSF Campus Sustainability Highlights. For a separate summary of accomplishments at the UCSF Health, see the UCSF Health Sustainability Highlights.

Organization of Report

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

Photo Credit: Susan Merrell
  • Sustainability Leadership
  • Climate Change
  • Water
  • Zero Waste
  • Procurement
  • Sustainable Food
  • Toxics Reduction
  • Culture Shift
  • Sustainable Operations
  • Green Building



  • A key accomplishment this past year was the recognition we received from Practice Green Health (PGH), including the Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award for the second year in a row, honoring our demonstrated performance in sustainability leadership, energy savings, water conservation, waste reduction, employee engagement, and green chemicals. PGH Award
  • Award
  • This award reflects UCSF Health’s commitment to reducing its environmental footprint and becoming a leader in the global movement for environmental health and justice. The Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award is Practice Greenhealth’s highest honor for hospitals.  Selected from 275 applicants, these 25 hospitals are leading the industry with innovation in sustainability, demonstrating superior programs and illustrating how sustainability is entrenched in their culture.

  • UCSF Health also received two PGH Circles of Excellence awards for Climate and Green Building and a PGH Greening the OR Recognition Award.

  • For the second year in a row, UCSF Health was listed in Becker’s Hospital Review 50 Greenest Hospitals in America.

  • The California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC) honored UCSF with two best practices awards for our demonstrated performance in waste reduction and energy efficiency as well as an honorable mention for our work on reducing the use of meat and poultry products raised with non-therapeutic antibiotics. The Best Practice Award for Innovative Waste Reduction went to UCSF’s Consolidate and Sort Waste Diversion Program. The Best Practice Award for Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings: HVAC Design/Retrofit and Commissioning went to the PSSRB Vivarium Monitoring-Based Commissioning Project. The CHESC Honorable Mention for Sustainable Food Systems went to UCSF Health’s Program to reduce meat and poultry products raised with non-therapeutic antibiotics.

  • Arianne
    Photo Credit: Elisabeth Fall

    This year, Arianne Teherani, PhD Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and a research faculty member in the Office of Research and Development in Medical Education at UCSF, was awarded The Faculty Climate Action Champion Award for her research project on developing a new curriculum for health professionals that takes into account sustainability issues on health.

  • In the Fall of 2015, Nicole Jackman, MD, PhD, Resident Physician, Department of Anesthesia & Perioperative Care, presented on the efficient utilization of inhaled anesthetics at the UC San Diego Carbon and Climate Neutrality Summit.  She highlighted the importance of environmental sustainability, with the emphasis on how a reduction in inhaled gas usage via decreased Fresh Gas Flow is both economically and environmentally advantageous. Nicole also discussed how medical centers can, and should, be involved in creating a culture of sustainability, and called out how there is more room for improvement in hospital energy efficiency.

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

Key Achievements:

    green labs
    Photo Credit: Daniel Gaines
  • UCSF drove down campus energy use through a variety of efforts focused on reducing energy use in existing buildings through the Strategic Energy Partnership with PG&E. Five large MBCx projects were initiated, expected to save three million kWh/year, 70,000 therms/year, and roughly $446,000/year.

  • Launched a successful ‘Shut the Sash’ fume hood competition that engaged green champions, reducing wasted energy in labs.

  • A Carbon Emission Strategy Session was held with cross-campus stakeholders yielded strong support for continued energy efficiency and more stringent energy/water/indoor air quality technical performance criteria for new buildings.

  • Implemented the ULT Freezer Rebate Program (energy efficient models by Thermo-Fisher and Stirling) with a $5,000 incentive for retiring/replacing old energy “hog” freezers (29 freezers, 160,000kWh/year or $20,000/year in energy savings).

  • Medical Center data center relocated to Washington state which is now 100% powered by hydro-electricity and zero emissions.

  • Completed the Mount Zion Steam Trap Project.


  • Over FY16, the campus single occupancy vehicle (SOV) rate was an impressive 30.2%, a decrease of 4% over 3 years.

  • scooot
    Photo Credit: Robert Hood
  • Held a Transportation Emissions Strategy Session and identified key strategies to reduce emissions from commute and business travel.

  • Installed 10 “Scoot” electric scooter-charging stations at Parnassus and Mission Bay Parking Garages.

  • Signed an agreement with Volta to install 8 EV charging stations.

  • Updated the 2016 commute survey to include questions about commute impact of Warriors Stadium.

  • Contracted for 15 all-electric buses.

FY17 Goals:

  • Complete an equipment and lighting inventory of occupied spaces in Parnassus Campus.
  • Develop a replacement work plan to eliminate incandescents.
  • Develop a Climate Action Plan.
  • Explore shuttle conversion to all-electric buses. Contract with BYD for purchase of 15 all-electric buses and delivery in FY18.
  • Continue to implement energy efficiency and carbon neutrality efforts and build in-house expertise.
  • Identify technical solutions and develop for alternatives.
  • Develop methodology for comparing alternatives including non-financial project attributes.
  • Educate Leadership about climate neutrality goals and develop FY18 Capital Plan to include strategies for emissions reduction projects.
  • Work with UCSF Purchased Utilities Committee and UCOP to identify Utility procurement alternatives, provide current and future unit cost projections, and evaluate impacts to UCSF campus utilities budget.
  • Participate and encourage UCOP to develop carbon mitigation strategies with funding mechanisms.

Goal:  To reduce water use by 36% from baseline by 2020

Key achievements:

  • UCSF met the new UCOP water reduction goal of reducing the water consumption/weighted campus user 36% by 2025 compared to the 2007 baseline.

  • Saved 9.5 million gallons of water at Mission Bay campus by reducing turf irrigation.

  • pool
    Photo Credit: Elena Zhukova
  • Started a program to replace and retrofit sterilizers, with plans to replace two bulk sterilizers.

  • Installed state-of-the-art pool treatment system to reduce pool drainage frequency. The pool water is circulated through a new UV filter that helps with the disinfection and clarification.  The new system will allow UCSF to drain the pool less frequently, saving 100,000 gallons each time the pool is not drained.

  • 11 unused sterilizers were removed from the Operating Rooms, which can drain two to nine gallons per minute 24/7 even when not in use.

FY17 Goals:

  • Complete Irrigation Upgrade Study and implementation.
  • Complete Swimming Pool Water Reuse Study and implementation.
  • Complete glass washing, cage washers, cold rooms, and other equipment study.

Goal:  To achieve zero waste by 2020

Key Achievements:

  • UCSF campus diverted 80.32% of its waste from the landfill. E-waste recycling, bulky item pick-up days, the Consolidation and Sorting Project, and our partnership with Bio-Link diverted over 100 tons of waste from landfill.

  • When UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital moved to its new facility at Mission Bay, the hospital donated 63,000 pounds of medical equipment, furniture, and supplies to Harare Children’s Hospital in Zimbabwe.

  • UCSF Health continues to reprocess single use devices in the OR, Cath lab, and patient care units, diverting 62,000 pounds of waste and generating $1.167M in savings.

  • In FY16, UCSF Health diverted 25% of its waste through its recycling and composting programs, such as patient room recycling, composting of paper towels in bathrooms and composting 90% of all patient and retail food waste.

  • Held 26 E-Waste and Bulky Item Pick Up days at four campus locations donating 31 tons of waste to reuse organizations, recycling 58 tons, and diverting 40 tons of E-waste.

  • Received SF Department of Environment grant for the Consolidation and Sorting project, which saved more than $100,000, diverted 893 tons, and justified three new Facilities FTE for FY17.

  • In partnership with the Bio-Link Depot UCSF gave new life to discarded laboratory equipment. Donated 11.6 tons to K-12 science programs.
  • bf
  • Installed 40 bottle fillers in drinking fountains and sinks throughout the multiple campuses to encourage reusable water bottles and reduce waste. Four bottle filling stations were installed in public water fountains at the medical center to encourage reusable bottle use and reduce waste for patients, visitors, and staff.

  • Initiated a blue-wrap recycling program at the Mission Bay ORs, diverting clean blue wrap waste from going to landfills.

FY17 Goals:

  • Offer regular E-Waste collection events.
  • Develop and implement Zero Waste Event Program.
  • Increase number of special material collection cabinet locations.
  • Get funds to promote recycling.
  • Implement a Waste Sorting Program.
  • Arrange for a pilot project to collect plastic film, EPS/EPE, etc.

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

Key Achievements:

  • Due to aggressive negotiations, all copy paper at the UCSF Health is now 100% PCW paper and cost less than 30% PCW. On campus, almost all offices and labs (99%) now use 100% PCW copy paper.

  • Both the campus and medical center adopted DocuSign, an electronic signature program, eliminating paper signature printing and storage costs.

  • On both campus and UCSF Health, as a result of new print management contract, all printers will be Energy Star and use 100% PCW paper.

  • The completed transition to E-procurement eliminates a pallet/year of copy paper through electronic purchase ordering.

  • Negotiated with Getinge to replace single-use water-cooled autoclaves on campus; replaced several autoclaves and plans to replace two very large ones in the near future.

FY17 Goals:

  • Implement 100% PCW Paper Standard.
  • Increase UCSF Health engagement with MedShare for official reuse of discarded medical supplies to hospitals/clinics in developing nations.
  • Convert 100 existing printers at the UCSF Health to default to print double sided.
  • Investigate current status and options for an internal surplus-sharing program.

Goal:  To purchase 20% sustainable food by 2020

Key Achievements:

    farmer's market
    Photo Credit: Noah Berger
  • Received an honorable mention from CHESC for our work on reducing the use of meat and poultry products raised with non-therapeutic antibiotics.

  • UCSF Health achieved 25% of total spend on sustainable food—exceeding UCSF’s goal of reaching 20% sustainable food by 2020 five years early.

  • Retail Services and Nutrition and Food Services updated the Smart Choice campaign with a new design to target “Scrumptious, sustainable, satisfying” foods.

  • UCSF received REAL certification from the US Healthful Food Council—the first healthcare organization to receive this recognition.

FY17 Goals:

  • Develop a more robust Sustainable Food Tracking Tool and provide Vendor Training.
  • Update and print select “Smart Choice” collateral materials.

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

Key Achievements:

    Source: Adobe Stock Image
  • Completed a peer review and update of the Pediatric Environmental Health Toolkit for health practitioners.

  • Eliminated Glyphosate use for weed control in landscaping and grounds.

  • Due to negative health and environmental impacts, UCSF Health eliminated Triclosan, a common antibacterial compound, from hand soaps.

FY17 Goals:

  • Update the Pediatric Environmental Health Toolkit to include cell phone applications.
  • Coordinate with Green Building Work Group to ensure Technical Performance Criteria for new buildings includes toxics reduction tactics.

Goal: To encourage the UCSF community to act more sustainably

Key Achievements:

    Photo Credit: Marco Sanchez
  • In June, Chancellor Hawgood presented sustainability awards for faculty, staff, student, and team categories and 19 LivingGreen certifications at the 6th Annual Sustainability Awards ceremony.  At the same event, the Climate Faculty Champion, five Carbon Neutrality Initiative fellows, and one Global Food Initiative fellow were recognized. 

  • Dr. Torsten Wittmann, UCSF Associate Professor, Cell & Tissue Biology, was announced as the new Academic Senate Sustainability Committee Chair.

  • In the Fall, a partnership with SunShares offered discounts on residential solar photovoltaic installations and discounts on the all-electric Nissan Leaf and hydrogen fuel cell Toyota Mirai vehicles for all employees, students, friends, and family.

  • Hosted a Greening of Healthcare Workshop. On July 23 over a hundred environmental health specialists, nurses, medical students, and sustainability practitioners gathered at UCSF’s Mission Bay Campus for a workshop that focused on exploring the link between sustainability and healthcare.  The workshop agenda was chocked full of sustainability-related content, including a keynote by Kathy Gerwig, Vice President, Employee Safety, Health and Wellness, and Environmental Stewardship Officer, Kaiser Permanente, on the impact of healthcare on the environment and human health.

  • Earthhealth team
    Photo Credit: Susan Merrell
  • UCSF hosted EARTHEALTH1, a first ever student-run climate change and health conference led by CNI fellow and fourth year medical student Alex Schrobenhauser-Clonan. It started with an Earth Day dinner on April 22nd, followed by a daylong symposium on Saturday April 23rd where participants shared concerns, actions, and support for climate change policies and health co-benefits. The two-day event, featuring a host of nationally recognized speakers, was UCSF’s first student-led climate change and sustainable health care conference. The message of the conference was simple, but important – earth and its environment are inextricably linked to human health and wellbeing and in order to safeguard human health we need to maintain the health of our planet.

  • In April, UCSF hosted the Annual Consortium of Universities for Global Health Conference with the theme of “Bridging to a Sustainable Future for Global Health”. Almost every session touched on the health consequences of climate change.

  • Held a UCSF Curriculum Workshop in May, as part of the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative. Twenty UCSF faculty members from the UCSF professional schools and graduate division attended the workshop held by Sheri Weiser and Arianne Teherani focused on the impact of the climate on health and how to educate learners about this important content.

  • The May 2016 LivingGreen Fair and bike to Work Day was a big success, with over 1,200 attendees and 70+ vendors in attendance at Millberry Union Event and Meeting Center.

  • Carb on Slam

  • In May, UCSF participated in the UC Carbon Slam with pitches for climate change and health.

  • During its first year, NOMADgardens has blossomed into a thriving community garden that could not have begun without the help of its amazing staff and generous donors, including UCSF. NOMADgardens was born to create a ‘roaming’ community garden and event space that transforms vacant lots into vibrant hubs for the local residents.

  • Throughout this fiscal year, a formal sharing of sustainable best practices occurred with our affiliates at Children’s Hospital Oakland, John Muir Health System in Walnut Creek, and Washington Hospital Health System in Fremont as well as visitors from Korea and Australia through Healthcare Without Harm. 

  • Developed the Climate Changes Health campaign with a series of rotating banner posters and digital images on campuswide video screens to increase awareness of the link between climate change and health.
  • asthma
    Image Credit: Gensler

LivingGreen Offices

First ever awarded in the Platinum category: Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Medical Center, Room 420.
Gold category: RMS Team J, EVCP, Mt. Zion.
Silver category:  Controller’s Office, 300; Controller’s Office, 318; Controller’s Office, 425; Controller’s Office, 546, FAS, MCB; and Clinical Pharmacy, SOP, UC Hall, 503.
Bronze category:  Mission Hall 6th floor; CLS Admin Office, 654 Minnesota 214, CLS; Chair’s Office, DOM, M-984; and Surgery and Division of Transplant Services, SOM, M-884.

LivingGreen Clinics and Units

Gold category: Electrophysiology Lab, MC, L502-508; and Medical/Surgical ICU 9th floor, MC; and Medical/Surgical ICU 13th Floor, MC.
Silver category:  Rehabilitative Services, MU-09, MC.

LivingGreen Labs

Bronze Category:  Frank Lab, SOM, NS 540L; DeGrado Lab, SOP, CVRB, 412; DeRisi Lab, SOM, Byers Hall, 404; Weisman Lab, SOM, Byers Hall, 404; and Clinical Pharmacology Lab, SOP, SFGH, Building 100.

FY17 Goals:

  • Provide training and practice sessions to increase the use of videoconferencing.
  • Implement an Offsite Office Program/Telework Pilot to enable managers and employees to telework effectively.
  • Develop and implement a Digital Messaging Pilot to create fun and actionable displays with energy, water, and carbon information.

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

Key Achievements:
This program is currently being re-evaluated.

FY17 Goals:
None identified.

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

Key Achievements:

  • Created a webpage to track LEED projects and provide links to published details.

  • Published Technical Performance Criteria for Block 33 and future for office-type buildings focusing on energy efficiency, water conservation, and green interiors.

  • Submitted the Health Sciences Instruction Research (HSIR) project (Health Sciences East 7 & 8 floors and Health Sciences West 7 & 8 floors) for LEED Gold (submitted but not yet approved).  This 11,000 sf research laboratory epitomizes accessible and sustainable design for university research settings. Design focused on productive lab space with a flair for color, natural light, and tree filled views. It is UCSF’s first renovation project to combine BIM and Lean Construction.

  • acc_5
    Photo Credit: Michael McLane Photography.
  • UCSF Health focused on renovations of existing buildings to improve energy efficiency and water conservation. 

    Accomplishments included:

        —LEED-CI Silver Renovation for Ambulatory Care Center 5th floor Heart and Vascular Clinic

        —LEED-CI Silver Renovation for Ambulatory Care Center 4th floor Hematology Clinic

FY17 Goals:

  • Develop Technical Performance Criteria document for laboratories to include energy efficient lab equipment, fume hoods, toxics reduction and green building features.
  • Create a LEEDv4.0 scorecard with some baseline points filled in, based on UCSF parameters.  This can be used for the UCOP-required Green baseline checklist for new projects.
  • Check lifecycle performance of “green” products installed in recent campus and MC LEED projects, to test the efficacy of particular products.