Our Buildings and Facilities
PG&E works continuously to reduce waste streams and use resources more efficiently in our facilities. This includes improving the energy efficiency of our buildings and other facilities; reducing, reusing and recycling paper, metals, plastics and other materials; and reducing water consumption.
In 2007, we continued efforts to make our own buildings "green," with several key highlights:
- We earned Gold-level LEED™ certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for our 245 Market Street headquarters building in San Francisco, recognizing, among other attributes, access to alternative transportation; water conservation; overall energy efficiency; recycling, composting and use of recycled-content materials; and use of Green Seal™-certified green cleaning products.
- We replaced nearly 1,200 cathode ray tube (CRT) computer monitors with more efficient flat-screen monitors at our corporate headquarters, rendering the building a "CRT-free" zone and saving an estimated 400,000 kWh annually. In addition, all new personal computers purchased by PG&E meet or exceed the new ENERGY STAR® requirements.
- We switched to using bio-based recyclable cups and food containers at our San Ramon Valley Conference Center, a certified "green business" in Contra Costa County. The center also continued its program upgrading to new energy-efficient lighting and controls, and expanded recycling with additional containers and signage. Our 2008 plans include switching to reusable dinnerware along with a new, energy-efficient dishwasher.
- We made our data center operations more efficient, using virtualization technology to avoid the purchase of 130 servers. The benefits include a three-year savings of more than $300,000 by avoiding three million kWh of power consumption. PG&E also teamed with IBM Research to develop a tool to measure the three-dimensional temperature distributions in its data centers to identify and rectify hot spots, air leakage and other inefficiencies.
Energy Consumed by Pacific Gas and Electric Company
* These figures represent electricity and natural gas usage at the 179 facilities managed by the Utility's Corporate Real Estate department.
1 Figures reported in the industry standard of BTU per square foot, which incorporates all of the energy used in a facility into one comparative number that takes into account efficiency variations in the utilization of the energy.
2 Updated figures.
In the normal course of business, routine gas and electric operations, equipment maintenance and overhauls, and facility construction and demolition generate certain hazardous wastes. Waste is also created during the remediation and cleanup of historic legacy sites. All such material is managed and minimized in accordance with federal and state regulations.
1 PG&E generated approximately 6,370 tons of California regulated hazardous waste from the demolition of the Hunters Point Power Plant, but only 155 tons of federally regulated hazardous waste.
Federal waste management statutes include the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act. California has its own set of waste management laws and regulations that are more stringent and encompass a broader scope of waste streams, including non-PCB used oil, oil saturated solids and debris with metals at lower thresholds than federal standards.
Examples of additional waste reduction efforts in 2007 include the following:
- We recycled or reused our "e-waste," including approximately 3,770 CPUs, 4,115 monitors, 1,250 printers, 200 servers, 535 copiers, fax machines and scanners.
- We recycled or reused approximately 32,850,000 pounds of scrap iron, aluminum and copper from conductors, meters and miscellaneous infrastructure from our waste stream. We also recycled more than 114,000 pounds of plastic piping as well as used hard hats.
- We sent more than 10 million e-Bills to customers, avoiding the use of nearly 270 tons of paper.
- We used biodegradable oil in small distribution transformers. The fluid is 97 percent biodegradable within 21 days and does not contain any petroleum, halogens, silicones or other materials that might adversely affect the environment.
- We continued recycling material from the demolition of PG&E's Hunters Point Power Plant in San Francisco. Ultimately, we estimate that 99 percent of the materials removed from the plant—at least 25,000 tons of steel, 30,000 tons of concrete and 75,000 gallons of oil—will be recycled or reused.
PG&E Pilots Collaborative Program to Help Suppliers Go Green
At an event attended by a group of the company’s top suppliers, PG&E launched the pilot for a Green Supply Chain Program in 2007. Our goal is to work in partnership with suppliers to encourage innovative and sustainable ideas, products, services and operations.
The Green Supply Chain Program involves suppliers proactively engaging in environmental responsibility. Elements of the program involve a commitment to environmental stewardship and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, energy usage, water and wastes.
While voluntary, the program is aligned with PG&E’s environmental policy and has received positive feedback from our suppliers, which range from small firms to multibillion-dollar businesses. Future plans involve including sustainability efforts as part of the criteria PG&E uses to evaluate suppliers.
Suppliers that have participated to date include Fong Brothers Printing and The Okonite Company, implementing extensive lighting retrofit projects at their facilities to save 300,000 kWh each, as well as an estimated $50,000 annually on electricity bills.
PG&E also joined the Green Suppliers Network, an industry-government partnership, to engage at least five suppliers in lean and clean manufacturing assessments. Southwire, one of PG&E’s largest cable suppliers, agreed to undergo a technical review of their Carrollton, Georgia, facility in 2008, which provides PG&E with 600 volt conductors. Southern States, ABB and McFarland Cascade have signed on for technical assessments of select facilities, as well.