PG&E Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2018

Northern California Wildfires

Buildings and Facilities

PG&E actively seeks to reduce the environmental footprint of our buildings and facilities through sustainable designs, improving the efficiency of our energy and water usage, and reducing waste. Our efforts rely on the engagement and participation of our employees, who collectively can make a large impact and help us reach our goals.

Our Approach

Energy, Water and Waste

We continue to execute a multifaceted strategy to invest in key facility improvements, engage employees and incorporate sustainability principles and continuous improvement into our real estate management. In 2017, we worked to use energy and water more efficiently and divert landfill waste from our office facilities and service yards. We also powered all our service centers—nearly 100 facilities in Northern and Central California—with 100 percent solar energy through PG&E’s Solar Choice program.

Hazardous and Other Waste

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

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

Applicable federal hazardous waste management statutes include the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act. In addition, our operations are subject to California’s hazardous waste management laws and regulations, which are more stringent and encompass a broader scope of waste streams than the federal requirements. For example, wastes such as used oil are subject to California’s hazardous waste requirements.

2017 Milestones

In 2017, we continued to operate and maintain our facilities using sustainable practices, but saw an increase in our footprint due to evolving business needs. Compared to 2016, aggregated portfolio energy use intensity increased by 3.8 percent, driven by increases in natural gas usage at several key sites. Portfolio water usage grew by 1.6 percent, and waste diversion from landfills was 76.3 percent, down from 80 percent. We launched a number of strategic initiatives to improve facility sustainability performance:

  • Incorporated leading sustainability design criteria into new workplace standards that will guide the design and performance of the next generation of PG&E facilities. The standards incorporate leading strategies such as zero-net energy, health and wellness criteria from the WELL certification, and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) environmental performance measures such as indoor air quality and environmentally friendly furniture. We targeted a minimum of LEED Silver certification for major projects started in 2017.
  • Targeted our top energy-consuming sites and kicked off a program of energy efficiency upgrades by installing interior and exterior LED lighting with advanced lighting control systems. We also piloted an internal PG&E Step Up and Power Down initiative at three sites, which was a campaign to engage employees around energy efficiency and energy-saving actions, which also contributed to our facility sustainability performance.
  • Baselined our greenhouse gas footprint and developed a roadmap for reductions. In support of PG&E’s enterprise sustainability goals, we developed a comprehensive baseline of the greenhouse gas footprint of our facility portfolio. This enabled us to identify the best opportunities for savings in both existing and new facilities over the next five years. We are embedding sustainable facility practices into our plans to achieve cumulative reductions in our carbon footprint.

Measuring Progress

Energy Consumption Statistics

These figures represent electricity and natural gas usage at 189 facilities managed by our Corporate Real Estate Strategy and Services department.

Energy Consumed at Facilities Footnote 1
2015 2016 2017
Electricity Consumed (gigawatt hours) 90 94 93
Natural Gas Consumed (million cubic feet) 98 113 136
Energy Intensity (million BTUs per square foot) Footnote 2 58 59 61
  • 1. The data reflects the 12-month period from December to November. Between 188 and 189 sites reported electricity data for 2015 to 2017, and between 134 to 136 sites reported natural gas data between 2015 and 2017.1
  • 2. Figures are reported in the industry standard of BTU per square foot, which incorporates all the energy used in a facility into one comparative figure.2

Water Use Statistics

In 2017, we tracked water use throughout the year. Please see the Water section for additional statistics on PG&E’s water usage.

Water Consumed at Facilities Footnote 1
2015 2016 2017
Water Consumed (gallons) 113,873,993 121,451,138 123,419,216
Water Intensity (gallons per square foot) 16.2 16.3 16.6
  • 1. The data represents all sites managed by our Corporate Real Estate Strategy and Services department where water was consumed and data was available for the 12-month period from October to September.1

Waste Generation Statistics

PG&E strives to minimize the overall amount of waste we generate, while composting organic waste and recycling non-hazardous materials such as glass, paper and certain metals. These figures represent the total waste diverted from the landfill at 111 sites managed by our Corporate Real Estate Strategy and Services department.

Waste Diversion at Facilities Footnote 1
Total Waste Generated (tons) 27,255
Total Waste Diverted (tons) 21,411
Waste Diversion Rate Footnote 2 76.3%
  • 1. The tonnage data reflects all of the non-hazardous municipal waste at 111 sites managed by PG&E’s Corporate Real Estate Strategy and Services department for the 12 months from October 2016 to September 2017.1
  • 2. The percentage reflects the diversion rate measured in the final quarter of the calendar year.2

Other waste reduction efforts in 2017 included:

  • Recycling more than 27 million pounds of scrap iron, aluminum and copper from conductors, meters and miscellaneous material. We also recycled nearly 1.3 million pounds of recovered meters; 15.4 million pounds of transformers; more than 197,000 pounds of plastic, including pipes and hard hats; 760,000 pounds of street light fixtures; 2 million pounds of transformer oil; and 2 million pounds of miscellaneous materials such as glass and cardboard.
  • Recycling more than 340 tons of e-waste, including consumer electronic devices, CPUs, monitors, servers, printers and other equipment.
  • Recycling approximately 536,000 pounds of steel and lead from Humboldt Bay Power Plant.

Hazardous and Other Waste

The following table provides statistics on PG&E’s waste generation. While PG&E works to reduce hazardous waste, certain projects such as infrastructure upgrades or remediation of historical contamination may increase the amount generated in a given year.

Hazardous and Other Waste
2015 2016 2017
Total Hazardous Waste (tons) 78,750 67,645 31,051
RCRA Footnote 1 Hazardous Waste 1,747 1,329 1,820
TSCA Footnote 2 Hazardous Waste 1,082 557 513
California Regulated Hazardous Waste 75,921 65,759 28,718
Federal Regulated Hazardous Waste (TSCA)—includes PCB Waste ≥ 50 ppm PCB (tons)
Total 1,082 557 513
Incineration 205 58 127
Landfill 804 348 360
Recycled 73 152 26
% Recycled 6.7% 27.3% 5.1%
California Regulated Hazardous Waste (Non-RCRA) Footnote 3 (tons)
Total 75,921 65,759 28,718
Disposed 64,254 58,157 22,317
Recycled 11,667 7,602 6,401
% Recycled 15.4% 11.6% 22.3%
Other Waste
Universal Waste (tons)
Total 488 86 179
Recycled 488 86 179
% Recycled 100% 100% 100%
Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposed (cubic feet)
Diablo Canyon Power Plant 947 631 647
Humboldt Bay Power Plant Footnote 4 60,814 241,213 714,836
Radioactively Cleared Waste Disposed (pounds)
Diablo Canyon Power Plant 169,577 138,169 185,014
Humboldt Bay Power Plant 27,846,637 23,228,666 13,148,362
Recycled Materials from Power Plants (pounds)
Diablo Canyon Power Plant
Steel 0 1,700 0
Copper 12,404 6,125 0
Lead 0 0 0
Humboldt Bay Power Plant
Steel 160,820 301,430 514,940
Copper 0 0 0
Lead 35,100 0 21,500
  • 1. Refers to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).1
  • 2. Refers to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).2
  • 3. These figures include polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) waste < 50 ppm PCB.3
  • 4. The cubic feet of low-level radioactive waste disposed increased as the site’s remaining bulk commodities, such as buildings and other structures, continued to be removed in 2016 and 2017.4

Air Emissions

To comply with local air quality regulations, PG&E is focused on minimizing air emissions from its conventional sources of power generation. The following figures reflect emissions from PG&E-owned generation sources.

Air Emissions Footnote 1
2015 2016 2017
Total NOX Emissions (tons) 160 141 155
Humboldt Bay Generating Station 30 31 31
Gateway Generating Station 79 68 78
Colusa Generating Station 50 42 45
NOX Emissions Rates (lbs/MWh)
Humboldt Bay Generating Station 0.15 0.17 0.15
Gateway Generating Station 0.05 0.06 0.06
Colusa Generating Station 0.03 0.03 0.04
Fossil Plants Footnote 2 0.04 0.05 0.05
All Plants Footnote 3 0.01 0.01 0.01
Total SO2 Emissions (tons) 17 13 14
Humboldt Bay Generating Station 1 1 1
Gateway Generating Station 8 6 7
Colusa Generating Station 8 6 6
SO2 Emissions Rates (lbs/MWh)
Humboldt Bay Generating Station 0.005 0.005 0.004
Gateway Generating Station 0.005 0.005 0.005
Colusa Generating Station 0.004 0.004 0.005
Fossil Plants 0.005 0.005 0.005
All Plants 0.001 0.001 0.001
Total Particulate Matter Emissions (tons) 108 90 94
Humboldt Bay Generating Station 49 44 50
Gateway Generating Station 23 17 20
Colusa Generating Station 35 29 25
Total CO Emissions (tons) 48 59 58
Humboldt Bay Generating Station 29 32 24
Gateway Generating Station 7 11 14
Colusa Generating Station 12 16 20
Total VOC Emissions (tons) 61 53 61
Humboldt Bay Generating Station 46 42 49
Gateway Generating Station 8 6 7
Colusa Generating Station 6 5 5
  • 1. Due to rounding conventions, some data above sum to an amount greater or less than the totals provided. Additionally, there were no reportable mercury air emissions from PG&E’s facilities during 2015 to 2017.1
  • 2. Collective emission rates for Humboldt Bay, Gateway and Colusa Generating Stations.2
  • 3. Includes all PG&E-owned generation sources, including fossil fuels, nuclear, hydroelectric and renewable energy.3

Looking Ahead

As part of PG&E’s Million Ton Challenge, a five-year carbon reduction goal for our operations, we are pursuing a more holistic strategy to improve the sustainability performance of our facilities. We are incorporating sustainability into our strategic planning for PG&E real estate and using data-driven analysis to identify opportunities for improvement. With this approach, we are targeting our highest energy-consuming sites with upgrades and maximizing the avoided greenhouse gas emissions of new facilities coming online in the next five years with leading sustainability design criteria.

For 2018, our goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of our facility portfolio by reducing or avoiding 1.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity consumption through a mix of energy efficiency upgrades and on-site solar power.