November 27 2012 Commission on the Environment Meeting Approved Minutes


TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2012, 5:00 P.M.

COMMISSION MEMBERS:  Commissioners Matt Tuchow (President), Ruth Gravanis (Vice-President), Joshua Arce, Angelo King, Alan Mok, Heather Stephenson and Johanna Wald

Public comment will be taken before the Commission takes action on any item.

1. Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Commission on the Environment meeting convened at 5:05 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, Arce, King, Mok, Stephenson, and Wald (5:10).

2. Approval of Minutes of the September 20, 2012 Commission on the Environment Rescheduled Meeting. (Explanatory Document: September 20, 2012 Commission on the Environment Draft and Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Arce, the September 20, 2012 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, Arce, King, Mok and Stephenson; Absent:  Commissioner Wald).

3. Public Comments:  Members of the public may address the Commission on matters that are within the Commission’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  There was no public comment at this time.

Items 6 – 8 were heard before Item 4.

4. Department of the Environment Energy Programs Update and Policy Development Plans.  Sponsor:  Commissioner Matt Tuchow; Speaker:  Cal Broomhead, Energy Manager (Informational Report and Discussion)

Mr. Cal Broomhead reported that American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding from state and Department of Energy sources were secured on a competitive basis through the forming of coalitions with other cities and counties around the state.  He described the success of programs that were launched with ARRA funding that included the (1) Boiler Retrofit program; (2) Green Home Assessment program; and (3) Single Family Home Improvement Program (SFHIP).  It was reported that the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program was planned but not implemented because of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s rejection of the program.  Mr. Broomhead discussed program expenses in the area of incentives, marketing, consultant fees, training, and Department administration.   He reported on program outreach, job creation, greenhouse gas emission reductions, program benefits, and challenges.

Mr. Broomhead discussed California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approval of a proposal to the Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayRen), a consortium of local governments in nine Bay Area counties, for $26.5 million in funding to run energy-efficiency programs in single and multi-family homes and to do code-compliance work.   Plans are in progress on program coordination, and there is an expectation that existing staff will continue working on the program.  

Commissioner Tuchow inquired if there was a possibility for the boiler retrofit program to move forward through BayREN funding.  Mr. Broomhead reported that it could not due to the uniqueness of the boiler program to San Francisco, but there is a willingness to revive the program once barriers for PACE funding are overcome.  Commissioner Tuchow inquired whether BayREN funding would replace the existing PG&E program.  Mr. Broomhead reported that the utility-based program and BayREN would run parallel, and that there would be different methods for operating programs.   

Commissioner Wald thanked Mr. Broomhead and staff for their work on the ARRA program and for quantifying program metrics that she suggested should be communicated to other cities and counties and to the community in order to publicize the success of programs and quell concerns.  She suggested that staff ensure that metrics are accurate and complete so that more funding can be secured in the future.  Mr. Broomhead was congratulated on the breakthrough at the CPUC in acquiring BayREN funding. 

Commissioner Arce suggested that an effort should be made to work through concerns expressed by small businesses on prevailing wage requirements.  He discussed the benefits of acquiring an elevated skill set and continuity of work benefits for a local workforce when partnering with organized labor and union contractors.  Commissioner Arce inquired whether an allocation amount has been identified for San Francisco.  Mr. Broomhead stated that program specifics are being worked through and discussed San Francisco’s added capacity to handle programs in comparison with others in the BayREN.  

Commissioner Stephenson inquired whether funding would be strictly for energy-efficiency or if generation projects would be included.  Mr. Broomhead reported that funding would be strictly for energy-efficiency programs.  Commissioner King thanked Mr. Broomhead for highlighting employment and contracting opportunities so that the Department’s work translates into economic and employment opportunities as well as for health and the environment.

5. EcoDistricts Development Update.  Sponsor:  Commissioner Ruth Gravanis; Speaker:  Cal Broomhead, Energy Manager (Informational Report and Discussion)

Commissioner Gravanis reported that the San Francisco City Planning Department has a sustainable development program working on Eco Districts, defined as sustainable infrastructure at a district scale.  She reported on workshops that the Planning Department has been recently holding on different aspects of Eco Districts such as Transformative Energy and Water Infrastructure for Neighborhoods.  She stated that the concept has many great applications.     

Mr. Broomhead discussed terminology being used all over the country to describe the same type of program, e.g. Resilient Neighborhoods, Sustainable Neighborhoods, Eco Villages.  He reported on Department of the Environment goals that relate to Eco Districts and activities to date that included attendance at a Portland conference in 2011, training of City staff by the Eco Districts Institute, meetings attended for the Transbay and Central Corridor, attendance at workshops and City staff meetings, communication with the Planning Department, and participation in three private-sector forums. 

Mr. Broomhead discussed related local and state activities that could be coordinated with the Eco Districts concept.  He reported on participating City departments and other departments that may become engaged once the program is further developed.  Three different types of Eco Districts were described, two for areas that are being focused on now for projects at Transbay and the Central Corridor, and the other for an existing neighborhood where incremental changes can occur over time. Additional topics of discussion included resources allocated to the program and the Department’s citywide approach to involvement.  Mr. Broomhead stated that he would like to see every neighborhood in San Francisco involved in Eco Districts. (Reference: Presentation).  

Commissioner Tuchow inquired about how a project in the Transbay District would work.  Mr. Broomhead provided an example of installing a district energy system in the Transbay area such as a steam loop that would provide heat for all of the buildings so that no individual unit would have their own boiler.  This would result in money savings, space that could be applied elsewhere, and would be more energy-efficient.  If the boiler were to produce electricity that could be put on the grid, additional revenue and benefits could be generated for the entire district. Other programs may be water recycling, stormwater management, and wastewater management.

Director Nutter reported that the concept is applying many of the current Department’s programs, but is new in that it is a framework for greening on a district scale instead of by individual building and can accelerate greening efforts by engaging neighborhoods or groups of buildings.  Mr. Broomhead reported that every Eco District in coordination with City departments and neighborhood organizations would have the potential for mapping and applying metrics to greening efforts on a neighborhood scale.  Commissioner King discussed his interest in implementation of new projects in his neighborhood and how they can connect with other projects to provide added and improved services. 

Commissioner Tuchow discussed the possibility of setting up a self-funding mechanism similar to a business district. Commissioner Gravanis discussed neighborhoods that engage in activities similar to the Eco District concept but not labeled as such and the financial benefit from projects that are done at economies of scale.  Commissioner Mok inquired about the role of the Planning Department and the Department of Environment.  Mr. Broomhead reported that the Planning Department is the lead and has one full-tine staff person dedicated to the project.  The Department is currently playing a supportive role, attending meetings, trainings, and brown-bag presentations.

Commissioner Arce inquired about greening efforts that may be more community-based versus projects that are more technical such as the Transbay and Central Corridor projects.  Mr. Broomhead reported that the Planning Department has a planning grant for a third neighborhood that has not yet been identified.  Director Nutter reported that there is a funder interested in the neighborhood model that could present a future opportunity for the Department to take the lead on versus a supportive role that it is currently taking. Commissioner Arce suggested that the Commission and Department play a role in identifying a neighborhood.  Director Nutter reported that the Department would be developing criteria for the best type of neighborhood for an Eco District project first before naming a neighborhood.  Mr. Broomhead reported that the criteria and process would be brought forward to the Commission before moving forward.

6. Review and Approval of Draft Resolution File 2012-11-COE Commending Commissioner Emeritus Rahul Prakash for his Service to the Commission on the Environment. (Explanatory Document:  Draft and Approved Resolution) Sponsor and Speaker:  Melanie Nutter, Director (Discussion and Action)

The Resolution commending Commissioner Emeritus Rahul Prakash was read into the record by Director Nutter.  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner King, Resolution File 2012-11-COE was approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, Arce, King, Mok, Stephenson, and Wald).

7. Rescind, Review and Approval of Draft Resolution File 2012-08-COE Amending the Department of the Environment’s Record Retention Policy and Schedule. (Explanatory Documents:  Amended Draft and Approved Resolution, Amended Draft Record Retention Schedule and Policy) Sponsor and Speaker:  Commissioner Matt Tuchow (Discussion and Action)

Commissioner Tuchow reported that the Resolution amending the Record Retention Policy and Schedule was rescinded in order to amend the Resolution so that lines 5 and 6 reads “…retention of records of payments on contracts/agreements from “life of agreement + 20 years term retention” to “life of agreement + 2 years term retention” and adding on lines 16 and 17 “with the understanding that any confidential documents will be shredded before being recycled.”  The previous Resolution read from “20 years term retention to 2 years term retention” and left out “life of agreement”.

Upon Motion by Commissioner King, second by Commissioner Gravanis, Resolution File 2012-08-COE amending the Resolution was approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, Arce, King, Mok, Stephenson and Wald).

8. Department of the Environment Budget Allocation and Feasibility of Videotaping and Publicizing Commission on the Environment Meetings on San Francisco Government Public Television Station. (Explanatory Document:  SFGOVTV Budgetary Projections for Videotaping Commission Meetings for 2012-13) Sponsor:  Commissioner Joshua Arce; Speakers:  Commissioner Joshua Arce and Commission Secretary Monica Fish (Informational Report and Discussion)

Commissioner Arce discussed the feasibility of televising and maintaining videos of Commission meetings online as an outreach tool that would provide the public more detail and focus into the Commission and Department programs.  Commission Secretary Fish reported on the budgetary projection quote received from SFGTV for twelve meetings.  She stated that it is assumed that the amount may be half of what was quoted since the Commission meets only six times per year.

Commissioner King discussed his ideas for formatting televised meetings by incorporating how to videos on Department programs that would provide the public with education, promote services, and increase viewer interest.  Commissioner Gravanis requested additional information on whether City departments are required to pay for televising meetings through their department budgets, which Commissions are televising their meetings and why. Commissioner Stephenson spoke in support of the educational aspect of televising technical presentations and requested additional information on multimedia capability and costs.  She suggested showing Department outreach videos at the beginning or end of each meeting.  Commissioner Tuchow suggested that additional time be spent on formatting meetings so that it achieves the intended publicity that is being sought.

Commissioner Wald inquired whether there is institutional capacity for staff and funds to accomplish televising meetings in the suggested format.  Director Nutter reported that government television has the capability for showing PowerPoint presentations and that more information would be required on multimedia capability.  She stated that the Department has PowerPoint presentations that are currently being used as an outreach tool in the community that can be added as a component to Commission meetings. Director Nutter reported that planning and funding could be requested in the Fiscal Year 13-14 budget, but that no discretionary funds would be available in this fiscal year budget due to funding allocations for the Department move. 

Commissioner Wald stated that showing only PowerPoint and informational presentations would not achieve the kind of participation and outreach that is being suggested.  She suggested spending more time thinking about how to make the most of this opportunity for the money that it would cost.  Director Nutter suggested that Mr. Donald Oliveira, Outreach Program Manager, attend a future meeting to discuss what an expenditure of $7000 would provide in outreach so the Commission could have a perspective as to whether the money should be applied to filming or to another program or element.

Commissioner Arce spoke in support of adding a line item to the Fiscal Year 13-14 budget.  He asked to provide information on the exact quote for six meetings and potential viewership of SFGOVTV.  Commissioner King suggested that the Commission Operations Committee identify a proposal for recommendation to the Commission.   

Public Comment:  Ms. Gwen McClellan spoke in favor of increased access to government and transparency and supports Commissioner Arce’s proposal to televise Commission meetings.   

9. Operations Committee Chair’s Report.  Review of the agenda for the November 29, 2012 Meeting.  (Information and Discussion) Commissioner King reported on meeting proceedings for the November 29 meeting to review the Department’s Fiscal Year 13-14 budget and Department’s move to a new location.

10. Policy Committee Report. (Information and Discussion) 
Chairs Report:  Highlights of the October 25 and November 5, 2012 meetings and review of the agenda for the December 10, 2012 meeting to be held at City Hall, Room 421. 

Commissioner Gravanis reported on meeting proceedings for the October 25 meeting that included (1) public comment on the Better Market Street Plan and its effect on the tiger swallowtail butterflies using the trees on Market Street; (2) presentation by Department staff member Ms. Julie Bryant on current City and America’s Cup activities on restrictions for the sale and give-away of single-serve plastic water bottles, concerns expressed by event producers, and ISCOTT on logistics of alternate water supply infrastructure. A discussion was held on restrictions that could be put in place for future City events and potential mechanisms to do so.  She suggested holding a joint meeting with the SFPUC on this topic; (3) carbon fund structure and priorities.  A discussion was held on shifting away from a formal carbon offset to a fund that may invest in carbon mitigation projects, potential projects, and methods to change current restrictions.  The November 5 meeting included a presentation by Department and San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) staff on the San Francisco Transportation Plan and how it can help meet the city’s greenhouse gas reduction goals.  The SFCTA welcomes public input on funding priorities for the plan by November 30. 

Commissioner Wald reported that the December 10 meeting agenda has not yet been finalized but will include a review of the Commission’s 2012 Annual Report for recommendation to the full Commission in January. Other topics under consideration are funding mechanisms for the GoSolarSF program and an update on outreach for CleanPowerSF. 
11. Commission Secretary’s Report. (Explanatory Document: Commission Secretary’s Report) (Information and Discussion)
Monica Fish, Commission Secretary
• Communications and Correspondence
• Update on City Legislation

Commission Secretary Fish reported on and provided a written report on communications and correspondence received and an update on City legislation since the last meeting on September 20.  She reported that correspondence had also been received from Mr. Robert B. Mack stating his opposition to the 10-cent bag tax. (Reference Commission Secretary’s Report)
12. Director’s Report. Updates on Department of the Environment administrative and programmatic operations relating to Budget Planning, Strategic Planning, Clean Air/Transportation, Climate, Energy, Public Outreach and Education, Environmental Justice, Habitat Restoration, Green Building, Zero Waste, Toxics Reduction, and Urban Forestry. (Explanatory Document: Director’s Report) (Information and Discussion)

Director Melanie Nutter provided a written report and highlighted Department accomplishments and related activities that included (1) outreach activities for the Checkout Bag Ordinance that went into effect on October 1, 2012 and tracking of how bag use has been reduced; (2) San Francisco’s Twitter at SF Environment has 10,000 followers and dedicated staff assigned to Twitter feed; (3) official launch of Recyclewhere on the website; (4) Department and City participation in Greenbuild week in San Francisco; (5) Department of Energy’s San Francisco Clean Cities Coalition national awards to the Department; (6) San Francisco has 3,489 solar installations totaling 21MW which puts San Francisco as the lead in California with more solar installations than 29 U.S. states; (7) first commercial PACE project was completed by Prologis for a building upgrade; (8) Board of Supervisors approved $100,000,000 worth of bond funding for access by the commercial green building sector; (9) San Francisco Public Utilities Commission completed their 2011 Benchmarking Report on municipal building performance that details energy use for each municipal building and provides information on where to invest city resources for upgrading buildings; (10) San Francisco reached 80% landfill diversion; (11) The City’s landfill contract was terminated with Recology.  Yuba County has started a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Environment Impact Report (EIR) process to review the one mile rail spur and the entire project for taking trash from San Francisco to Yuba County.  The Department will be participating in the CEQA process and once process is complete, present modifications to the Board of Supervisors for consideration of a new contract; (12) Press event with the Assessor’s Office on Green Real Estate labeling is scheduled for Thursday, November 29; and (13) Commissioners are invited to the Department’s holiday party.

13. Announcements.  (Information and Discussion) There were no Commissioner announcements made at this time.

14. President’s Announcements.  (Information and Discussion) Commissioner Gravanis was congratulated on her birthday in November.

15. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information, Discussion and Possible Action) Commissioner Arce suggested forming a subcommittee to work on holding a community meeting and identifying relevant topics to a neighborhood, with Eco Districts cited as one potential topic.  Commissioner King spoke in support of this idea and suggested that the Operations Committee work on this item.  Director Nutter suggested that she and Commissioner Arce start at the staff level to identify a framework for Eco Districts at a district scale and identify a viable proposal to discuss with the Commission President before the next Commission meeting.

16. Public Comments:  Members of the public may address the Commission on matters that are within the Commission’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  There was no public comment at this time.

17. Adjournment.  The Commission on the Environment meeting adjourned at 6:55 p.m.

The next meeting of the Commission on the Environment is scheduled for Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 5:00 p.m., City Hall, Room 416.

Respectfully submitted by
Monica Fish, Commission Secretary
TEL:  (415) 355-3709; FAX: (415) 554-6393

** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Commission’s office, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., (2) on the Commission’s meeting website at included with minutes by meeting date; (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709, or  via e-mail at [email protected].

Approved: January 22, 2013