Reducing Our Building and Facility Footprint

5-Years Targets

PG&E continues to drive environmental improvements at its offices and service yards with an ongoing focus on reducing energy and water use and waste. By doing so, we are reducing the environmental footprint of our facilities, while providing an enhanced work environment for our employees.

In 2010, PG&E made significant progress toward achieving its five-year targets for reducing energy, water and waste in office facilities and service yards. Set in 2009, these targets are part of an enterprise-wide environmental metric on which a portion of the compensation for all management employees depends.

Energy, Water and Waste Reduction

To meet our five-year targets, we are executing a multi-faceted strategy to invest in key facility improvements and to spearhead a major effort to engage employees.

PG&E's 5-Year Energy, Water and Waste Reduction Goals

1 Energy and water goals are compared to a 2009 baseline.

2 Actual results are shown for 2010.

3 The energy reduction goal is measured in million BTUs (MMBTUs) and includes 156 sites in 2010 and 168 sites in 2011.

4 The water reduction goal is measured in gallons and includes 91 sites in 2010 and 125 sites in 2011.

5 The waste diversion rate includes six sites in 2010 and 48 sites in 2011. It measures the diversion rate in the final quarter of each year.

Our efforts include a combination of making smart investments in new and upgraded building infrastructure and doing so in a more strategic manner, such as coordinating capital improvements for energy and water efficiency with necessary lifecycle replacements and working to integrate environmental considerations into our every day facility projects and maintenance practices. We also continue to engage our broader workforce, including partnering with an active Grassroots Green Network that brings together employee volunteers to support energy, water and waste reduction awareness and initiatives.

There were numerous highlights in 2010:

2010 Target 2010 Result 2011 Target
Additional 4% reduction in energy use at 156 sites1 4.3% reduction Additional 4.2% reduction at 168 sites
Additional 4% reduction in water at 91 sites2 7.1% reduction Additional 5.7% reduction at 125 sites
Increase waste diversion rate by 6% at 6 sites3 7.8% increase in diversion rate Achieve 55% waste diversion rate at 48 sites4

1 Energy use is measured in MMBTUs and the sites include offices and service yards.

2 Water use is measured in gallons and the sites include offices and service yards.

3 The six sites represented approximately one third of the waste produced by the buildings at PG&E’s offices and service yards.

4 Consistent with industry best practice and LEED™ certification criteria, the methodology for measuring this target was updated in 2011 to measure the diversion rate in the final quarter of each year rather than the diversion rate over the full calendar year.

At our electric meter repair facility in Fremont, we replaced the existing metal halide and high pressure sodium lighting with new energy efficient fluorescent lighting and controls. This one step reduced our energy use by more than 4 percent while also providing better light quality for our employees.

San Ramon Valley Conference Center
In 2010, we continued to install “smart” irrigation control systems—targeting seven sites with significant landscaping. Drawing on information delivered wirelessly from more than 40,000 weather stations, the controllers automatically schedule irrigation based on site-specific landscape needs and local weather conditions, eliminating the need to manually adjust irrigation as the weather changes and providing a more accurate quantity of water when needed.
  1. We reduced energy use by 4.3 percent—or 16,200 MMBTUs—at 156 offices and service yards, meeting our 4 percent target. To save energy, we made upgrades at a majority of our facilities, including cutting back building operating times and replacing and retrofitting lighting with more efficient fixtures and controls. In addition, we improved the efficiency of our heating and air conditioning energy use by replacing older inefficient systems that were past their useful life, installing automated thermostats and more accurately calibrating time and temperature settings. In 2011, our goal is to achieve an additional 4.2 percent reduction at an expanded set of 168 sites.
  2. We reduced water use by 7.1 percent—or 9.5 million gallons—at more than 90 offices and service yards, exceeding our 4 percent target. To achieve these reductions, we reduced landscape water use through increased attentiveness to repairs and when sprinklers are turned on and off—as well as installing “smart” irrigation controllers and replacing irrigation systems. We also modified a high water use electron microscope and the water treatment of mechanical systems at selected buildings. PG&E uses the electron microscope for analysis of material, equipment and chemicals, and we eliminated water use by replacing the once-through water cooling system with a closed circuit cooling loop. In 2011, our goal is to achieve an additional 5.7 percent reduction at an expanded set of 125 sites.
  3. We increased the waste diversion rate by 7.8 percentage points at six facilities when calculated over the entire year of waste produced, exceeding our 6 percent target. Consistent with industry best practice, we also measured the diversion rate over the final quarter of 2010 at these six facilities and improved from 41 to 66 percent. These sites account for one-third of the waste generated by the buildings at the company’s offices and service yards.

    To achieve this result, we audited our bins and developed improved reporting to better understand our waste types and amounts. This enabled us to upgrade service and signage, change waste haulers, modify our recycling to include more items in a single bin and add composting in select locations. We also engaged employee volunteers to implement waste diversion contests between different office locations. In 2011, our goal is to achieve a 55 percent waste diversion rate at an expanded set of 48 sites.

Engaging Employees in Waste Reduction

Through a series of fun and engaging “waste minimization contests,” a growing number of employees are helping PG&E reduce waste one bin at a time. As part of PG&E’s new Grassroots Green Network, a group of “green ambassadors” is championing the contests for their respective office locations.

Last year, the volunteers spearheaded two competitions involving roughly 1,500 employees at our corporate headquarters—yielding up to 15 percent improvements in the waste diversion rate. The competitions featured brown bag lunches to educate employees on proper waste disposal, team building exercises and weekly prizes for employees that properly managed their waste. Volunteer judges reviewed sorting techniques and measured waste diverted from the landfill—rewarding winning departments with a gourmet pizza lunch. The momentum will continue in 2011 with additional competitions.

We also continue to give employees specific actions they can take to reduce energy and water consumption, such as turning off all equipment and lights when not in use, reducing operating hours when appropriate, reporting and repairing all leaks in irrigation and plumbing and conserving water when washing vehicles.

Energy Consumption Statistics

These figures represent electricity and natural gas usage at 156 facilities managed by PG&E’s Corporate Real Estate department.

Energy Consumed by Pacific Gas and Electric Company

1 The data reflects the 12 month period from December to November and is normalized for weather. Additionally, the 2009 data was updated from the previous report.

2 Figures are 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.

Last year, we continued to offset the greenhouse gas emissions from the energy used by all our buildings through PG&E’s ClimateSmart™ program. PG&E was the program’s first participant, committing nearly $1.5 million of shareholder funding over three years to offset the energy use in the company’s offices, service centers, maintenance facilities and other buildings. In 2010, this amounted to nearly 48,000 metric tons of CO2 reductions.

Water Use Statistics

In 2010, we made continued progress toward developing a comprehensive “water footprint.” Please see the Water Conservation and Management section for statistics on PG&E’s water usage.

Waste Generation Statistics

PG&E strives to minimize use of and recycle non-hazardous waste, such as glass, paper and certain metals. These figures represent the total waste diverted from the landfill at six pilot sites managed by PG&E’s Corporate Real Estate department.

Waste Diversion at Corporate Real Estate Facilities1

Total Waste Generated (tons) 1,979
Total Waste Diverted (tons) 963
Waste Diversion Rate 49%

1 The data reflects the 12 month period from October 2009 to September 2010.

Engaging Employees in CFL Recycling

Many PG&E employees have put energy efficiency in action by installing compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) in their homes. Last year, employees took another important step by leading a month-long CFL recycling drive at our corporate headquarters.

While CFLs can save considerable energy compared to incandescent bulbs, they also contain small amounts of mercury, which can get released into the environment if disposed in the trash. That’s why used CFLs must be managed through special recycling programs.

During Energy Awareness Month in October, employee volunteers distributed puncture-resistant, vapor-tight recycling bags so co-workers could safely transport used CFLs from their home to the office. All told, the drive collected more than 530 bulbs—roughly 1 from every 10 employees at the site—which PG&E then recycled. In addition to providing a convenient way to recycle the bulbs, the drive helped raise awareness about the proper management of used CFLs.

PG&E also actively works to raise public awareness about the need to recycle used CFLs and provides information on recycling locations. Building on our involvement in the California Department of Toxic Substances Control’s California Take-It-Back Partnership, we successfully partnered with four local governments to increase public awareness and fund drop-off containers and disposal services that helped collect more than 300,000 used CFLs and fluorescent tubes. Building on this pilot program, PG&E is developing a standard menu of low-cost marketing, education and outreach tools to help other local governments conduct public outreach campaigns throughout the state.

Other examples of waste reduction efforts in 2010 include the following:

  1. We recycled more than 21 million pounds of scrap iron, aluminum and copper from conductors, meters and miscellaneous material. We also recycled more than 5 million pounds of recovered meters, 11 million pounds of transformers and 180,000 pounds of plastic, including pipe and hard hats.
  2. We recycled or reused approximately 170 tons of e-waste, including approximately 5,700 CPUs, 1,360 monitors, 390 servers, 690 printers, and 200 copiers, fax machines and plotters.
  3. We continued to recycle material from the decommissioning, demolition and remediation of PG&E’s Hunters Point Power Plant in San Francisco. Last year, approximately 5,680 tons of crushed concrete was recycled from the site. An additional 435 pounds of steel and copper was recycled in 2010 from PG&E’s Humboldt Bay Power Plant and Diablo Canyon Power Plant.

In the normal course of business, utility operations generate certain hazardous wastes. Waste is also created during the remediation and cleanup of historic legacy sites.

Federal hazardous waste management statutes include the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act. California has its own set of hazardous waste management laws and regulations, which are more stringent and encompass a broader scope of waste streams. For example, wastes such as used oil are subject to California’s hazardous waste requirements but are not regulated as hazardous waste under federal law.

PG&E manages all hazardous waste in accordance with federal and state regulations. Our comprehensive approach includes providing guidance and training to employees to ensure that waste is properly managed from the point of generation to its ultimate disposal or recycling.

Additionally, while PG&E works to reduce the amount of hazardous waste generated, certain projects such as upgrades to our infrastructure or remediation of historical contamination may increase the amount of hazardous waste generated in a given year.  In 2010, the generation of federal- and state-regulated hazardous wastes increased due to two major remediation projects: one at PG&E’s former Hunters Point Power Plant and another at PG&E’s Topock Compressor Station.

The following table provides statistics on PG&E’s waste generation.

Hazardous and Other Waste
  2008 2009 2010
Total Hazardous Waste (tons) 18,699 23,412 33,449
RCRA1 Hazardous Waste 1,629 276 1,360
TSCA2 Hazardous Waste 686 623 1,863
California Regulated Hazardous Waste 16,384 22,513 30,226
Total Hazardous Waste (tons) 18,699 23,412 33,449
Disposed 15,554 22,446 32,309
Recycled 3,145 966 1,140
TSCA Hazardous Waste 112 34 77
California Regulated Hazardous Waste 3,033 932 1,063
% Recycled 16.8% 4.1% 3.4%
Federal Regulated Hazardous Waste (RCRA) (tons)
Total 1,629 276 1,360
Federal Regulated Hazardous Waste (TSCA)—PCB Waste ≥50 ppm PCB3 (tons)
Total 686 623 1,863
Incineration 313 239 306
Landfill 260 350 1,479
Recycled 112 34 77
% Recycled 16.3% 5.5% 4.2%
California Regulated Hazardous Waste (Non-RCRA)4
Total 16,384 22,513 30,226
Disposed 13,351 21,581 29,163
Recycled 3,033 932 1,063
% Recycled 18.5% 4.1% 3.5%
Universal Waste (tons)
Total 198 149 164
Recycled 198 149 164
% Recycled 100% 100% 100%
Low-Level Radioactive Waste
Diablo Canyon Power Plant
Disposed (cubic feet) 1,320 793 367
Humboldt Bay Power Plant
Disposed (cubic feet) 2,397 8,905 52,009
Recycled Materials from Power Plants
Diablo Canyon Power Plant
Steel Recycled (pounds) 45,057 138,014 115,845
Copper Recycled (pounds) 36,343 61,773 9,300
Humboldt Bay Power Plant
Steel Recycled (pounds) N/A 453,026 743,564
Copper Recycled (pounds) N/A 110,229 1,475

1 Refers to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

2 Refers to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

3 These figures were previously reported in kilograms. The 2008 recycling surge was due to increased oil-filled electrical equipment project work.

4 These figures include PCB Waste <50 ppm PCB. Additionally, PG&E is no longer including drained oil-filled electrical equipment in these totals because this waste stream is accounted for as scrap metal.

Investing in Green Buildings

In 2010, we increased our number of projects in the process of obtaining LEED™ certification to seven as part of our ongoing efforts to certify new buildings and large remodel projects. As shown below, this includes a range of facilities throughout our service area.

Facility Name Location Scope LEED™ Level Status
245 Market Street San Francisco Existing building LEED—EB Gold Received April 2007
Stockton Customer Service Office Stockton Major remodel—leased building LEED—CI Silver Received March 2010
Gateway Generating Station—Administration Building Antioch New building LEED—NC Certified Received March 2010
San Ramon Office Building San Ramon Major remodel—leased building LEED—CI Certified  Received March 2010
Grid Control Center Vacaville New building LEED—NC Silver Received April 2010
77 Beale, 25th Floor San Francisco Major remodel LEED—CI Gold Received June 2011
San Francisco Garage San Francisco Major remodel LEED—Gold (forecasted) Expected in 2012
Stockton Service Center Operations Building 1 Stockton Major remodel LEED—Silver (forecasted) Expected in 2011
Stockton Service Center Operations Building 2 Stockton Major remodel LEED—Certified (forecasted) Expected in 2011
Colusa Generating Station—Administration Building Colusa New building LEED—Certified (forecasted) Expected in 2011
Santa Rosa Service Center Santa Rosa Major remodel LEED—Certified (forecasted) Expected in 2011
Bakersfield Service Center Operations Building Bakersfield Major remodel LEED—Certified (forecasted) Expected in 2012

Last year, we performed a major remodel of the 20,000 square foot 25th floor of our headquarters building in San Francisco. We received LEED-CI (Commercial Interiors) Gold certification for the project, which included:

  1. Recycling 75 percent of the construction waste,
  2. Using dual flush and low-flow plumbing fixtures to reduce potable water use by 30 percent,
  3. Reducing lighting usage by half through daylight-responsive controls and other strategies and
  4. Incorporating low-emitting carpets, paints, adhesives and sealants.

IT Energy Savings

PG&E continues to implement a variety of innovative measures to improve energy efficiency in our IT services function. Last year, Computerworld magazine ranked PG&E among the 12 winners of its Top Green-IT Organizations awards, recognizing leading organizations that are “striving to find new ways to reduce energy consumption of their IT equipment and use technology to conserve energy.”

Sliding doors and plastic curtains isolate areas for cooling at PG&E’s primary data center, which increases energy efficiency.

Our work includes segmenting our primary data center into “PODs” and moving virtual servers, which used to be grouped by project, into a single pool of servers within those PODs in order to consolidate further. Each POD contains about a dozen racks and is walled off by plastic curtains to isolate cooling and increase efficiency. A major upgrade to the data center also incorporated a number of energy-saving technologies, from variable frequency drives on cooling towers to chilled water pumps and newer air handling units. Real-time sensors help to continuously manage data center efficiency.

With server virtualization technology, a single physical server is able to run multiple virtual servers, each with its own operating system and software. Reducing the number of servers lowers the energy needed to run and cool the server fleet. At the end of 2010, more than half of our server fleet was running in virtual instances.

Also, in 2010, PG&E purchased only Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) Gold- or Silver-level laptops, desktop computers and monitors—products that have demonstrated reduced environmental impacts. At the end of 2010, approximately 98 percent of our standard personal computer items were Gold or Silver EPEAT-compliant, increasing from 89 percent at the end of 2009.

Our “Think Before You Print” campaign continues to encourage employees to save energy and paper. Key components of the campaign included implementing double-sided printing, stored printing and increasing the use of shared network printers. Last year, we removed nearly 300 shared imaging devices and replaced them with about 150 more efficient devices that consolidate functions such as printing, copying and faxing into one piece of equipment, which saves considerable energy.


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