Home > General Plan > Environmental Protection Element
The Environmental Protection Element addresses the impact of urbanization
including the use of oil and gas resources and hazardous waste on the
natural environment. In highly urban San Francisco environmental protection
is not primarily a process of shielding untouched areas from the initial
encroachment of a man-made environment. The scales already are and will
continue to be balanced toward the side of development.
The challenge in San Francisco is to achieve a more sensitive balance,
repairing damage already done, restoring some natural amenity to the city,
and bringing about productive harmony between people and their environment.
An important purpose, therefore, of an environmental protection element
is to give natural environment amenities and values appropriate consideration
in urban development along with economic and social considerations.
One of the lessons of the increasing environmental
consciousness is that "environment" is not accurately compartmentalized
as animals and trees versus people and cars. In an urban setting this
true. All elements of the General Plan deal to a certain extent with
protecting aspects of the total urban environment. In that sense the
policies contained in this element must be read together with other objectives
and policies throughout the General Plan. However, this element is
concerned with protecting what is not man-made in the environment, especially
through protection of plant and animal life and through restoration
natural qualities of land, air and water by elimination of pollution.
It also addresses conservation and management of energy in the residential,
commercial and transportation sectors. Additionally the reduction of
materials use in the residential, commercial and governmental sectors
is encouraged in this element.
Deterioration of the environment as a consequence of population growth,
urbanization, industrialization, improper disposal of hazardous materials,
resource exploitation and technological developments has been a growing
concern world-wide. Another influence has been a realization of the finite
nature and rising costs of energy and other natural resources. On a national
and state level, it has given rise to policies and controls dealing with
air, water and noise pollution and other forms of degradation of the natural
environment as well as regulation of energy production and hazardous waste.
It was logical, therefore, that in giving direction to local general plans
the California Legislature should have mandated preparation of two elements
which address environmental protection issues, one for natural resource
conservation and another for transportation noise. This Environmental
Protection Element combines those two state-mandated elements, along with
a comprehensive energy management plan. A hazardous waste section which
responds to separate State planning requirements for county-level hazardous
waste management and siting of facilities is also included in this element.
Conservation, as a resource ethic, is based on the premise that resources
are not commodities to be developed and consumed in whatever amount that
users demand or can afford. Unrestricted development and use of resources
may either exhaust or pollute the supply. Resources, consequently, should
be managed in ways that will assure their availability for generations
Sensible resource management does not exclude, by any means, the development
and utilization of resources. Nevertheless, with the population of the
nine-county Bay Region expected to grow to 6.6 million persons by the
year 2005, increasingly greater demands will be placed on these resources.
Programs are already in force to conserve and in some cases to improve
the quality and supply of our resources. Some of the programs may need
to be strengthened.
As a very urban place, San Francisco is not as extensively involved as
rural counties re in the conservation of natural resources. Of those resources
which the State Legislature directed to be included in the Conservation
Sections, the following are not found in San Francisco to any appreciable
- Water with hydraulic force potential
These resources, consequently, are omitted from the plan. Natural resources
that properly concern San Francisco are:
- Waters of the Bay and Ocean
- Fish and other marine animals
- The shoreline
- Fresh water for consumption and fire fighting
- Plants and animals of the city's land area and lakes
Finally, and of particular concern to San Francisco, are the special
urban amenities which may combine both natural and man-made resources.
For San Francisco, almost wholly developed, conservation of those man-made
features of high quality and cultural value may be more important than
the natural features of the environment that are of such importance to
rural areas of the State. The Urban Design Element focuses on how these
special qualities of San Francisco may be preserved.
A number of official regional agencies operate to regulate the use of
resources as related to San Francisco: the San Francisco Bay Conservation
and Development Commission, the Bay Area Quality Management District,
the California Regional Water Quality Control Board (San Francisco Bay
Region), and the California Coastal Commission. San Francisco's participation
in these regional efforts goes a long way toward achieving the goals of
resource management. Accordingly, the Conservation Plan does not propose
new policies to replace those already adopted at the regional level.
Conservation, in the broadest sense of the word,
refers to the entire process of determining to what extent any of the
city's resources - natural
as well as man-made should be protected or used. To limit the
scope of the Conservation section of the Environmental Protection Element
required by State planning law) seems arbitrary. It implies that conservation
is not an issue in residence, transportation, urban design, recreation,
or any other General Plan element and, furthermore, that conservation
of the many worthwhile aspects of the urban environment is somehow of
Maintaining a proper balance between the preservation and the development
of San Francisco's resources is an issue recognized in all the elements
of the General Plan. The Urban Design Element, for example, indicates
areas of the city where increased height and bulk of buildings would be
permissible and areas where open space ought to be protected from any
building. The City Planning Commission has adopted General Plan elements
for Residence, Urban Design, Transportation, and Recreation and Open Space.
To a varying extent, each of these plans deals with conservation. Objectives
and policies from these plans that relate directly to conservation are
listed in Appendix A. These are reaffirmed as an integral part of the
Conservation section of the Environmental Protection Element.
ACHIEVE A PROPER BALANCE AMONG THE CONSERVATION, UTILIZATION, AND DEVELOPMENT
OF SAN FRANCISCO'S NATURAL RESOURCES.
San Francisco enjoys an abundance of natural beauty. Surrounded on three
sides by water and graced with parks, lakes, and vistas, San Francisco
provides a magnificent urban environment with the potential to exist in
harmony with its natural surroundings. While years of exhaustive use of
the natural landscape have depleted and polluted some of the city's resources,
San Francisco is fortunate in that it is not entirely developed and has
some rather outstanding natural resources remaining. Those remaining resources
should be protected from further encroachment and enhanced in order to
achieve the necessary balance between the conservation of natural systems
and the normal functioning of the city. This means ending pollution; protecting
vegetation and wildlife; controlling shoreline uses; developing guides
for the use and development of land, water, and air; and, where desirable,
increasing the supply of natural resources.
Conserve and protect the natural resources of San Francisco.
A major thrust of science and technology in the oncoming years must be
that of making cities more livable places by offsetting the imbalance
between the natural and man-made environments. Man and his technology
must become a more interrelated part of nature and not an exploiter of
the physical environment.
San Francisco must assure that its remaining natural resources are protected
from misuse. The intricate relationships between living things and their
natural and man-made surroundings should be recognized as primary in improving
the quality of environment. The most important uses of existing resources
should be those which provide maximum benefits for public use while preserving
and protecting the natural character of the environment. Moreover, the
supply and quality of resources should be considered as major determinants
of the nature and extent of development that is dependent on them.
Improve the quality of natural resources.
If the present trend toward environmental deterioration is to be curbed,
all forms of pollution must be controlled and eventually eliminated. Those
resources within the exclusive jurisdiction of the City should be guarded
against contamination through local regulatory action. Where effective
resource management against pollution requires regional action, San Francisco
should support and comply with all anti-pollution standards of the region.
Restore and replenish the supply of natural resources.
Undoing past mistakes must also be a major part of comprehensive environmental
action. In this regard, San Francisco should undertake projects to acquire
or create open space, cultivate more vegetation, replenish wildlife, and
landscape man-made surroundings. Projects revitalizing the urban environment
should be encouraged and receive top priority. With major efforts in this
direction, the City will help reverse past trends toward the destruction
of the natural qualities of the environment.
Assure that all new development meets strict environmental quality standards
and recognizes human needs.
In reviewing all proposed development for probable environmental impact,
careful attention should be paid to upholding high environmental quality
standards. Granted that growth provides new economic and social opportunities,
uncontrolled growth can also seriously aggravate environmental deterioration.
Development projects, therefore, should not disrupt natural or ecological
balance, degrade the visual character of natural areas, or otherwise conflict
with the objectives and policies of the General Plan.
IMPLEMENT BROAD AND EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES.
The urban environment will deteriorate unless protected by well-defined
and effectively managed public programs. Additionally, the solutions to
present environmental problems are tied up in significant and widespread
social change in consumer choices and life styles. The establishment,
ultimately, of broad-based, more effective environmental action programs
will require involvement of individual citizens, citizen groups, government
agencies, and elected officials. Such involvement is essential in the
identification of critical issues, development of specific goals and strategies,
and the implementation of firm regulatory processes.
Coordinate regional and local management of natural resources.
Historically, local government has been formed in response to local areas
of need. Natural resources, however, often extend beyond the boundaries
of municipalities, covering regions, inter-regions, and states. Thus,
in the Bay Region, local government has become an ineffective instrument
for the management of resources dispersed and interconnected throughout
the region. With regard to the more diffuse environmental problems such
as air pollution and managing the Bay, Ocean, and Shorelines, San Francisco
is ill-equipped to solve the problems alone.
San Francisco should cooperate with existing regional agencies in developing
methods whereby cities can lend support to regional efforts to improve
the environment. The regional concept, supported and strengthened by well-conceived
local programs, is essential to enhancing both natural and man-made surroundings.
Promote citizen action as a means of voluntarily conserving natural resources
and improving environmental quality.
A comprehensive program of citizen participation can assure that public
policy will serve the best interests of all elements of society. Moreover,
programs conceived through extensive involvement of the communities to
be served are generally more effective, for they reflect the desires of
a multiplicity of people and thereby carry additional momentum. Since
our physical environment is to be shared by all, a balance among all factors
(human and economic) must be achieved.
Provide environmental education programs to increase public understanding
and appreciation of our natural surroundings.
If we are to preserve and enhance the quality of our surroundings, we
must cherish their values. Environmental education programs promoting
an understanding and appreciation of our natural systems serve to expand
public awareness of environmental problems and man's place in the world.
Course instruction on the nature and problems of the environment should
be continued and emphasized in the public schools, adult education centers,
MAINTAIN AND IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF THE BAY, OCEAN, AND SHORELINE AREAS.
In the past, the Bay and its waterfront were extensively used for commercial
purposes and for waste disposal. The Ocean side was largely free of this
kind of activity. Although the utilitarian values of the water and shorelines
are valid, expediency and short-term gain can lessen the value and attractiveness
of these resources. There should be not only a balance between recreational
and commercial uses but a balance between preservation and utilization
of the Bay, Ocean, and Shorelines.
Protecting and enhancing the many values of these resources requires
ending pollution of the Bay and Ocean, closely controlling commercial
uses of the water and shorelines, preserving and adding to the recreational
frontage along the water, and protecting and improving the existing recreational
Cooperate with and otherwise support regulatory programs of existing regional,
State, and Federal agencies dealing with the Bay, Ocean, and Shorelines.
Managing the resources of the Bay and Ocean and the abutting lands is
under the regulation of a number of limited-purpose regional and State
agencies. The region-wide scope of the problems calls for region-wide
San Francisco has representation on the multi-county agencies, and, consequently,
its particular interests are considered along with those of the other
constituent counties. When it is apparent, for example, that regionally
operated facilities may be more costly to San Francisco than a local facility,
common practice is to allow the local option so long as it meets regional
performance standards. This policy of local option is essential to the
spirit of regional cooperation. Conformity should not override good sense.
With this important proviso, San Francisco should support and cooperate
with regional, State, and Federal agencies in setting and achieving goals
for the conservation of the resources of the Bay, Ocean, and Shorelines.
Promote the use and development of shoreline areas consistent with the
General Plan and the best interest of San Francisco.
Other portions of the General Plan set policy on how the city's shoreline
areas should ultimately be developed. They are the Recreation and Open
Space and Urban Design Elements and the Northeastern Waterfront, Western
Shoreline, and South Bayshore Area Plans. For specific policies governing
Hunters Point Shipyard, see the Hunters Point Shipyard Redevelopment Plan
and its accompanying Design for Development document The Bay Conservation
and Development Commission (BCDC) and the California Coastal Commission
also set policy on shoreline development. Within the framework set by
these regional planning agencies, San Francisco should promote the use
and development of its shoreline areas in accordance with those policies
in the General Plan that serve the best interests of the citizens of the
Implement plans to improve sewage treatment and halt pollution of the
Bay and Ocean.
San Francisco's Master Plan for Waste Water Management is an orderly
plan for upgrading the collection, treatment, and disposal of San Francisco's
sewage. The City should proceed as rapidly as possible to finance and
construct facilities required to end the discharge of untreated and insufficiently
treated sewage into the Bay and Ocean.
Regulations controlling the discharge of industrial wastes into the sewers
should be vigorously enforced as a further means of preventing the pollution
of the waters of the Bay and Ocean.
Encourage and assist privately operated programs to conserve the resources
of the Bay, Ocean, and Shorelines.
Voluntary, private organizations concerned about conservation deserve
special recognition. They help keep conservation issues in the public
consciousness. More importantly, they perform a watchdog function essential
to effective enforcement. The City should seek the participation of voluntary
groups in monitoring activities that affect the water and shore areas.
Protect sensitive economic and environmental resources in Northern California
offshore coastal areas threatened by oil development.
The regional economy of Northern California, heavily dependent on tourism
and commercial fishing, is threatened by offshore oil and natural gas
development in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) ocean area. Of particular
significance to San Francisco is proposed development in the area within
the Pt. Reyes-Farallon Island Marine Sanctuary, an important local fishery
The official City position supports continued protection of
sensitive coastal areas that are important to local economic activities.
It is imperative that the City make its position known by participating
in State Coastal policy review to ensure that local concerns are taken
into account by Federal decision-makers.
ASSURE THAT THE AMBIENT AIR OF SAN FRANCISCO AND THE BAY REGION IS CLEAN,
PROVIDES MAXIMUM VISIBILITY, AND MEETS AIR QUALITY STANDARDS.
Air pollution is one of the major problems facing the cities of the San
Francisco Bay Region. In San Francisco, the need for conserving the air
resource and improving air quality is undeniable. While San Francisco
benefits from having few large upwind industrial polluters and from certain
topographical and climatic conditions, Federal and State air quality standards
continue to be violated on a number of days in the city.
The local air supply extends beyond the physical
boundaries of San Francisco, covering the entire Bay Region, and effective
air resource management
must include regionwide planning, monitoring, regulations, and enforcement.
San Francisco, however, can take certain actions which supplement and
strengthen the efforts of existing regional programs. Local initiatives
should be keyed to the curtailment of pollution emissions from sources
typically found in San Francisco. Ultimately, solutions to the air
problem must be interrelated with virtually all facets of urban existence industry, transportation, employment, housing, open space, recreation
even the products we buy and consume.
Support and comply with objectives, policies, and air quality standards
of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
Regionwide monitoring of air quality and enforcement of air quality standards
constitute the primary means of reducing harmful emissions. The conservation
of San Francisco's air resource is dependent upon the continuation and
strengthening of regional controls over air polluters. San Francisco should
do all that is in its power to support the Bay Area Air Quality Management
district in its following operations:
- Monitoring both stationary and mobile
sources of air pollution within the region and enforcing District regulations
for achieving air
- Regulating new construction that may significantly
impair ambient air quality.
- Maintaining alert, permit, and violations systems.
- Developing more effective controls and method of enforcement, as necessary.
Encourage the development and use of urban mass transportation systems
in accordance with the objectives and policies of the Transportation Element.
During the 1950's, 1960's, and 1970's, San Francisco's resident population
decreased while employment within the city increased. The 1980's have
seen an increase in population and continued employment growth. Consequently,
the number of commuters traveling to and from San Francisco, usually by
automobile, has risen, creating a serious threat to ambient air quality.
Because of the highly centralized nature of San Francisco and the surrounding
region, areawide rapid transit, integrated with convenient municipal transit
systems, can be used effectively in reducing automobile emissions.
Urban mass transit systems should be encouraged, with the proper economic
incentives, as the most sensible mode of urban travel. To this end, designation
of express lanes for commuter buses on the Golden Gate Bridge and the
San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge would help reduce motor vehicle emissions
by encouraging greater use of public transit. Commuters should be encouraged
to make the best use of mass transit services available to them. Swift,
convenient transit service available during commute hours will provide
a major incentive for rejecting the automobile as the primary mode of
Lastly, where feasible, diesel buses should be replaced with buses powered
by electricity or other clean energy sources. Existing electric trolley
bus lines should be retained wherever possible.
Encourage greater use of mass transit in the downtown area and restrict
the use of motor vehicles where such use would impair air quality.
San Francisco's downtown area is the major focus of the city and the
region. Comprised of the financial-office district, a vast governmental
administration center, and the stores, hotels and places of entertainment
within the area, the downtown area provides the chief center of employment,
shopping, and visitor accommodation in the entire Bay Region. Because
traffic congestion is so prevalent, air quality often suffers.
Greater use of public transit to, from, and
within the downtown area will reduce the amounts of pollutants emitted
from motor vehicles. Furthering
the objectives and policies of the Transportation Element of the General
Plan, a "transit first" approach would reduce air pollution
in the downtown area.
Zones have been identified in which concentrated efforts to control automobile
use should be pursued in order to reduce air pollution and to improve
the pedestrian environment. A few downtown streets should be designated
as traffic-free zones, allowing for the free-flowing movement of pedestrians.
Additionally, some other streets in the area should be restricted to pedestrian,
transit, delivery vehicle, and emergency use. Vehicle-free and restricted
zones should be landscaped, have widened sidewalks, and be oriented to
Finally, an increase in the frequency of shuttle bus service within the
downtown area would provide a reasonable and convenient alternative to
the private motor vehicle as a method of travel in the central city, but
only in areas that are not already served by public transit.
Promote the development of nonpolluting industry and insist on compliance
of existing industry with established industrial emission control regulations.
The City and County of San Francisco, in cooperation with the Chamber
of Commerce, should actively encourage the development and expansion of
industries which do not add to the air pollution problem. Those industries
which are a major source of industrial air pollution should be identified
and made to comply with all industrial emission control regulations. They
should be equipped with effective air Quality Management devices.
Exert leadership in the voluntary reduction of pollution emissions during
air pollution alerts.
As provided in the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Alert Plan,
air pollution alerts will be called throughout the Bay Region when meteorological
forecasts for any twelve-hour period indicate that air contamination levels
will reach or exceed alert standards. During alert periods, Bay Area residents
are encouraged to follow a set of voluntary actions to diminish air pollution
concentrations. San Francisco should exert leadership during alert periods
and assist the Air Quality Management District in the following ways:
- Providing assistance in disseminating information on air conditions.
- Encouraging commuters and city residents to use mass transit systems
instead of the automobile.
- Making the Police Department's helicopter available for spotting illegal
burning in the city.
- Utilizing Police Department staff to issue citations for excessive
- Utilizing Fire Department staff to detect illegal open burning and
to refer violations to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District
- Urging volunteer organizations to monitor compliance with emission
- Promoting the establishment of emergency centers for persons with
ASSURE A PERMANENT AND ADEQUATE SUPPLY OF FRESH WATER TO MEET THE PRESENT
AND FUTURE NEEDS OF SAN FRANCISCO.
The City and County of San Francisco owns and operates one of the most
extensive water and power systems in the world. At present, the supply
of fresh water generated by the Hetch Hetchy/Water Department system is
more than adequate. Current projections indicate that the present system
will meet San Francisco's needs until the year 2020. Over the years, the
consumption of fresh water in the city has risen substantially: over 100
percent between 1940 and 1971. This increase in water consumption is primarily
due to commercial expansion and has occurred despite a decline in San
Francisco's resident population since 1950.
Hetch Hetchy and the Water Department should continue their excellent
planning program to assure that the water supply will adequately meet
foreseeable consumption demands. To this end, the City should be prepared
to undertake the necessary improvements and add to the Hetch Hetchy/Water
Department system in order to guarantee the permanent supply. Furthermore,
San Francisco should continually review its commitments for the sale of
water to suburban areas in planning how to meet future demand.
Maintain an adequate water distribution system within San Francisco.
Storage reservoirs and distribution lines within San Francisco should
match the pattern of development in the city. Areas most intensively developed,
having the greatest water demand, should be served by facilities having
the greatest capacity.
Exercise controls over development to correspond to the capabilities of
the water supply and distribution system.
New development places additional demands on the water supply and distribution
system. Nonresidential water users, representing approximately 45 percent
of the consumption in the city, have been the principal cause of the increase
in total city water consumption. Development that might place too great
a strain on the system should be discouraged.
Ensure water purity.
San Francisco's drinking water must meet State and Federal water quality
standards. Ensuring water quality means continuing the present water purification
process and monitoring storage facilities and transmission lines for threats
to the water supply.
Promote nonpolluting recreation uses of fresh water lakes and reservoirs.
A few of San Francisco's lakes serve as a valuable source of recreation.
Boating and fishing are permitted at Lake Merced, and other recreational
activities are enjoyed at Stow Lake and Spreckels Lake in Golden Gate
Park and at Laguna Puerca in Pine Lake Park. San Francisco should encourage
continued recreational uses of these lakes where such use does not mar
the scenic beauty or water quality.
Fresh water reservoirs without scenic
value should be covered, wherever
feasible, to prevent evaporation and to provide additional area for
recreation or other compatible uses.
Improve and extend the Auxiliary Water Supply system of the Fire Department
for more effective fire fighting.
The Fire Department maintains and operates the Auxiliary Water Supply
System (AWSS), a water storage and distribution network that supplements
the hydrants connected to the regular water distribution lines. The AWSS
presently serves those areas of San Francisco most intensively developed.
A recent public referendum authorized a bond issue to extend this system
to the remainder of the city, and to modernize certain of its components.
Recommendations to remedy system deficiencies should be implemented as
soon as is feasible.
It is incumbent upon the City and County of San Francisco to undertake
long-term planning for emergency preparedness. Planned expansions and
improvements to the AWSS would improve the City's preparedness to meet
potential fire disasters.
CONSERVE AND PROTECT THE FRESH WATER RESOURCE.
The fresh water resource, like all natural resources, is finite and measurable.
While San Francisco's water supply seems vast in relation to current demands,
it should not be wasted. Supplementary sources should also be investigated.
Maintain a leak detection program to prevent the waste of fresh water.
Reservoirs, storage tanks, cisterns, and pipelines can develop leaks
and waste the fresh water resource. The continued operation of leak detection
programs by the Water Department and Fire Department will help prevent
Encourage and promote research on the necessity and feasibility of water
Reclaiming water for public use from waste water may prove to be a necessary
step in securing an adequate water supply in the future. Other communities,
not as fortunate as San Francisco, are currently looking into water reclamation
as a means of conserving fresh water and generating additional supply.
San Francisco should investigate the future possibilities of water reclamation,
especially for such purposes as fire fighting and industrial use.
ASSURE THAT THE LAND RESOURCES IN SAN FRANCISCO ARE USED IN WAYS THAT
BOTH RESPECT AND PRESERVE THE NATURAL VALUES OF THE LAND AND SERVE THE
BEST INTERESTS OF ALL THE CITY'S CITIZENS.
San Francisco's dramatic landforms and intimate alliance with the Bay
and Ocean give the land a special value. Other elements of the General
Plan recognize the value of this land resource in recommending how the
city should develop to achieve an optimum utilization of the land. Just
as important as development, however, is the protection of remaining open
space to preserve the natural features of the land that form such a striking
contrast with the city's compact urban development. In exercising land
use controls over development and in preserving permanent open space,
the land should be treated as a valuable resource to be carefully allocated
in ways that enhance the quality of urban life.
Preserve and add to public open space in accordance with the objectives
and policies of the Recreation and Open Space Element.
Publicly owned open space is located principally in the western half
of the city. While these valuable open spaces are preserved and enhanced,
great effort should be made to acquire and make available more recreation
area in the eastern half of the city. Acquisition and limited filling
of tideland areas in the South Bayshore District, for example, would provide
needed opportunities for more recreation. The Recreation and Open Space
Element should guide the selection and improvement of land for recreation.
The usefulness of land for recreation, however, should not necessarily
determine whether or not land areas ought to be preserved. Features of
a scenic, geological, topographical, and ecological nature are also important
criteria of their value as open space. These natural values of land should
Protect land from changes that would make it unsafe or unsightly.
The excavation of land for off-site use of the removed material is subject
to control by the City Planning Commission and the Department of Public
Works. Quarrying or unnecessary excavation should be strongly discouraged
because it defaces the landscape and can limit the usability of the land.
Too much earth removal can also create a potentially dangerous slide condition.
Require that filling of land adhere to the highest standards of soils
engineering consistent with the proposed use.
San Francisco has had a good deal of experience with filling marshlands
and shallow areas of the Bay. It is recognized that future Bay filling
will be limited and subject to City and Regional policies regarding appropriateness.
When appropriate purposes for filled land are approved, the highest engineering
standards should be followed to ensure safety consistent with the use
to which the filled land is to be put. Landfill operations need to recognize
potential problems of the mud layer on the Bay bottom, the quality of
any previously deposited fill, and the loads to be placed on the fill.
Assure the correction of landslide and shore erosion conditions where
it is in the public interest to do so.
The existing erosion and slide areas along the Ocean shore are within
the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It should be decided first whether
all of these problems should be corrected or whether some should be left
to the forces of nature. The erosion of Ocean Beach should be corrected
through a program of dune stabilization, where feasible. In cases where
dune stabilization is not possible, structural measures may need to be
utilized. Any stabilization and restoration of these damaged areas, to
increase their recreational value, should be undertaken as part of the
Federal administration of this recreation area.
Elsewhere in the city, corrective steps should be taken at City expense
or through special assessment to solve slide and erosion problems.
Prohibit construction, as a general rule, on land subject to slide or
To minimize the hazard to life and property in areas subject to slide
or erosion, building should be prohibited. Likewise utilities should not
be installed in these areas because of the possibility of disruption.
ENSURE THE PROTECTION OF PLANT AND ANIMAL LIFE IN THE CITY.
A totally manufactured environment without plants and animals would be
sterile. That bit of nature which still remains in San Francisco is a
precious asset. The ecological balance of wildlife and plant communities
should be protected against further encroachments.
Cooperate with and otherwise support the California Department of Fish
and Game and its animal protection programs.
The California Department of Fish and Game has overall authority to protect
animals in San Francisco. The Municipal Code reinforces this control in
protecting animals in public areas. The City should foster greater public
awareness of these laws.
Protect the habitats of known plant and animal species that require a
relatively natural environment.
Golden Gate Park, a product of years of planning and design, provides
to a certain extent the natural environment needed by wildlife and plant
communities. The natural areas of Golden Gate Park should remain as they
are, and any move to convert them into areas for more active recreation
should be discouraged.
Other parks and undeveloped areas in San Francisco remain relatively
undisturbed and provide a variety of environments for flora and fauna:
beaches, sand dunes, wooded areas, open fields, grassy hills, and lakes.
All these areas should be protected. The Presidio, not subject to local
jurisdiction, should, nevertheless, be urged to protect animal and plant
habitats within its boundaries.
Protect rare and endangered species.
A number of native plant and animal species are designated as rare or
endangered. Interested individuals and groups, together with knowledgeable
public agencies such as the Recreation and Park Department and the California
Academy of Sciences, should identify the rare and endangered flora and
fauna that merit special protection. Cooperatively they should devise
ways to assure the fullest possible protection of these species.
People who can clearly recollect the sights and sounds of San Francisco
during the 1930's and 1940's remember how noisy the streets were then.
Numerous cable cars and streetcar lines operated throughout the city.
Market Street, with four sets of streetcar tracks, was extraordinarily
noisy. The streetcars then were not the quieter types that came into use
later. Automobiles, although much less numerous, were noisier than today's
models. Then, of course, the bustling waterfront activity and vessels
in the Bay further contributed to the sounds of the city.
Despite these noisy transportation systems, ambient or background noise
levels over most of the city then were lower than now. Over the years,
however, motor traffic - automobiles, trucks, and buses - has risen dramatically.
Aircraft flights have multiplied. Today, in some parts of the city, background
noise levels are so high that for many people, quiet can only be found
inside a building with the windows shut.
We are learning that not only does noise annoy, it can endanger our physical
and even mental health. Because of this potential health hazard, some
people are becoming convinced that we are as much entitled to a quiet
environment as to unpolluted air and water and pure food.
Ground transportation noises from trucks, buses, motorcycles, and poorly
muffled automobiles predominate over other types of noises as the most
persistent cause for complaint. This is why Section 6530(g) of the California
Government Code, added in 1972, requires all cities and counties to include
a transportation noise element in their general plans.
This Transportation Noise Element is designed to comply with that law.
The plan, furthermore, is based on an analysis of present noise levels
and 1995 projected noise levels and on the following basic assumptions:
- Surface transportation facilities constitute a major contributor to
today's noise levels.
- People do react adversely to excessive noise when it interferes with
sleep and other activities.
- People want and are entitled to a quiet environment.
- The technological means are available for reducing transportation
The Transportation Noise Plan is directed toward achieving an environment
in which noise levels wail not interfere with the health and welfare of
people in their everyday activities. Much of the adverse effect of transportation
noise can be reduced through sound land use planning and transportation
planning. How those elements of the general planning process are implemented
is crucial to achieving the goal of a quieter environment. However, in
a fully developed city, such as San Francisco, where the land use and
circulation patterns are by and large fixed, the ability to reduce the
noise impact through a proper relationship of land use and transportation
facility locations is limited. In San Francisco, major attention must
be given to three main aspects of the problem: the source of the noise,
the path it travels, and the receiver of the noise. In general, techniques
should be designed to quiet the noise at the source, to block the path
over which it is transmitted, and to shield or remove the receiver from
REDUCE TRANSPORTATION-RELATED NOISE.
Much can be done to reduce noise at the source. Technological means are
available for reducing vehicular noise emissions well below present levels.
Enforce noise emission standards for vehicles.
The noise emission standards of the State Vehicle Code are enforced by
the California Highway Patrol on the freeways, and by the local police
on the city streets. The Noise Abatement Unit of the Police Department
is responsible for identifying vehicles that violate the noise emission
standards and for securing the correction of the problem. This work should
be continued and expanded.
Impose traffic restrictions to reduce transportation noise.
Transportation noise levels vary according to the predominance of vehicle
type, traffic volume, and traffic speed. Curtailing any of these variables
ordinarily produces a drop in noise level. In addition to setting the
speed limit, the City has the authority to restrict traffic on city streets,
and it has done so on a number of streets. In addition, certain movement
restraints can be applied to slow down traffic or divert it to other streets.
These measures should be employed where appropriate to reduce noise.
Limit City purchases of vehicles to models with the lowest noise emissions
and adequately maintain City-owned vehicles and travel surfaces.
The City owns and operates over a thousand vehicles in addition to its
large fleet of automobiles. Street noise performance specifications for
City vehicles (transit; trucks; specialized vehicles, such as street sweepers,
brush chippers, etc.) should be included in the purchasing procedures
of the City so that the City will obtain the quietest available models.
With proper maintenance, the City's inventory of vehicles can be kept
in good working order, thereby reducing the noise they generate. Proper
emphasis must also be placed on smooth street surfaces and on smooth rails
for the streetcars and cable cars. Trackbeds for the rail vehicles also
require special attention as do the various underground elements of the
cable car traction system.
Regulate use of emergency sirens.
Police Vehicles, fire engines, and ambulances, in their function as emergency
vehicles, are entitled to the use of emergency warning sirens. Under State
law, sirens must produce a sound level of at least 90 decibels at 100
feet. Many persons find these sirens - especially the warbling type -
annoying. The warbling siren should be replaced by conventional sirens
and measures should be taken to assure that the use of all sirens is restricted
to assuring the emergency vehicle the right-of-way only in genuine emergencies.
Retain and expand the electric trolley network.
Electric trolley buses are quiet, economical, and relatively pollution-free
in their use. These benefits outweigh the adverse environmental impact
of power generation or fossil fuel utilization. Electric trolleys should
be retained where feasible and consideration should be given to electrifying
selected existing diesel bus routes.
Discourage changes in streets which will result in greater traffic noise
in noise-sensitive areas.
Widening streets for additional traffic lanes or converting streets to
one-way direction can induce higher traffic volume and faster speeds.
Other techniques such as towaway lanes and traffic light synchronization
also facilitate heavier traffic flows. Such changes should not be undertaken
on residential streets if they will produce an excessive rise in the noise
level of those streets.
MINIMIZE THE IMPACT OF NOISE ON AFFECTED AREAS.
The process of blocking excessive noise from our ears could involve extensive
capital investment if undertaken on a systematic, citywide scale. Selective
efforts, however, especially for new construction, are both desirable
Promote site planning, building orientation and design, and interior layout
that will lessen noise intrusion.
Because sound levels drop as distance from the source increases, building
setbacks can play an important role in reducing noise for the building
occupants. (Of course, if provision of the setback eliminates livable
rear yard space, the value of the setback must be weighed against the
less of the rear yard.) Buildings sited with their narrower dimensions
facing the noise source and sited to shield or be shielded by other buildings
also help reduce noise intrusion. Although walls with no windows or small
windows cut down on noise from exterior sources, in most cases it would
not be feasible or desirable to eliminate wall openings. However, interior
layout can achieve similar results by locating rooms whose use require
more quiet, such as bedrooms, away from the street noise. In its role
of reviewing project plans and informally offering professional advice
on site development, the Department of City Planning can suggest ways
to help protect the occupants from outside noise, consistent with the
nature of the project and size and shape of the building site.
Promote the incorporation of noise insulation materials in new construction.
State-imposed noise insulation standards apply to all new residential
structures except detached single-family dwellings. Protection against
exterior noise and noise within a building is also important in many nonresidential
structures. Builders should be encouraged to take into account prevailing
noise levels and to include noise insulation materials as needed to provide
Construct physical barriers to reduce noise transmission from heavy traffic
If designed properly, physical barriers such as walls and berms along
transportation routes can in some instances effectively cut down on the
noise that reaches the areas beyond. There are opportunities for a certain
amount of barrier construction, especially along limited access thoroughfares
and transit rights-of-way (such as BART), but it is unlikely that such
barriers can be erected along existing arterial streets in the city. Barriers
are least effective for those hillside areas above the noise source. Where
feasible, appropriate noise barriers should be constructed.
PROMOTE LAND USES THAT ARE COMPATIBLE WITH VARIOUS TRANSPORTATION NOISE
Because transportation noise is going to remain a problem for many years
to come, attention must be given to the activities close to the noise.
In general, the most noise-sensitive activities or land uses should ideally
be the farthest removed from the noisy transportation facilities. Conversely,
those activities that are not seriously affected by high outside noise
levels can be located near these facilities.
1 - Background Noise Levels
Discourage new uses in areas in which the noise level exceeds the noise
compatibility guidelines for that use.
New development should be examined to determine whether background and/or
thoroughfare noise level of the site is consistent with the guidelines
for the proposed use. If the noise levels for the development site, as
shown on Map 1 (which should be revised periodically to keep them
current), exceed the sound level guidelines established for that use,
as shown in the accompanying land use compatibility chart, then either
needed noise insulation features should be incorporated in the design
or else the construction or development should not be undertaken. Since
the sound levels shown on the maps are estimates based on both traffic
data and on a sample of sound level readings, actual sound levels for
the site, determined by accepted measurement techniques, may be substituted
Consider the relocation to more appropriate areas of those land uses which
need more quiet and cannot be effectively insulated from noise in their
present location, as well as those land uses which are noisy and are presently
in noise-sensitive areas.
Many commercial and industrial activities do not need to be in a quiet
area, because interior noise levels typically are already high and tend
to override noise from exterior sources. On the other hand, some uses
require quiet locations and cannot be effectively insulated from noise.
When feasible and desirable to do so, such activities should be encouraged
to relocate to quieter areas. Conversely, there may on occasion be opportunities
to relocate noisy uses to areas where the noise they generate will be
less disturbing to their neighbors.
Locate new noise-generating development so that the noise impact is reduced.
Developments which will bring appreciable traffic
into or through noise-sensitive areas should be discouraged, if there
are appropriate alternative locations
where the noise impact would be less. For those activities such
as a hospital that need a quiet environment, yet themselves generate
considerable traffic, the proper location presents a dilemma. In those
cases, the new development should locate where this traffic will not
a problem and, if necessary, incorporate the proper noise insulation.
The feasibility of making noise-reducing changes to existing transportation
facilities remains an obstacle to any large-scale transformation. New
thoroughfares and new Municipal Railway facilities, however, offer opportunities
to overcome objectionable noise aspects. Ideally, new transportation facilities
should be located in areas or along routes of least noise-sensitive land
uses. Where it is infeasible or undesirable to do so, special noise-suppressing
design features should be incorporated into the facilities in order to
make them acceptable neighbors.
Events of the past decade have brought the issue of energy fully into
public view. Ever-increasing energy prices, combined with constraints
in the development of conventional energy supplies, have forced the public
to question and debate the energy future they would like to see. The debate
has centered on public and governmental participation in pricing and energy
San Francisco, through its regulatory and planning activities, directly
influences how, and to what extent, energy is used in the city. Local
regulations governing the design, construction and use of buildings affect
operational energy needs. Transportation policy decisions directly affect
petroleum- based fuel requirements. Daily decisions on these and other
issues should occur within a locally approved policy framework, since
they will help determine San Francisco's energy future for decades to
Increasing the efficiency of energy use is predicated on matching needs
with resources. Moreover, the local setting is an important aspect of
this process and should be taken into consideration when developing a
citywide energy policy. In tackling its energy problems, San Francisco
has two natural assets: mild climate and compact urban form. The city's
temperate climate effectively eliminates the need for mechanical air conditioning,
with the exception of commercial buildings that are sometimes overheated
by interior lighting. San Francisco's density reduces the energy requirements
for transportation and increases the economic feasibility of co-generation,
district heating and integrated energy systems.
The Energy section of the Environmental Protection
Element provides the City and County of San Francisco with a comprehensive
and pragmatic energy
management program that can promote a productive collaboration between
municipal government and local residents. This document should guide
public and private decisions affecting the use of energy. San Francisco's
Energy Policy was designed with four goals in mind: (l) increasing
efficiency with which energy is used locally; (2) diversifying the present
balance of resource supplies to meet local energy needs; (3) fostering
the economic development of energy management services and renewable
systems; and (4) encouraging the active participation of members of the
community to carry out this program. Seven objectives are set forth
achieve these goals. The first four objectives address energy management
opportunities in the government, residential, commercial and transportation
sectors. The fifth encourages renewable resource use. The remaining
objectives focus on the complex and interrelated roles of municipal government,
PG&E, and State and Federal governments in energy management and
Each objective is accompanied by policies and arguments to clarify the
The objectives and policies contained in the Energy Policy are based
on the premise that energy management programs for San Francisco should
be designed to protect and enhance the economic and environmental well
being of City residents. This is to be accomplished through:
More Efficient Use of Energy
Conservation is best understood as a productive enterprise designed to
increase the energy efficiency of public and private activities within
the City. Substantial energy savings can be produced without requiring
either major changes in lifestyle or economic dislocation. Increasing
the efficiency of energy use will benefit the local economy by reducing
the flow of dollars exported outside the region for fuel needs.
Measured in terms of economic payback, quantity of supply and prevention
of environmental disruption, energy conservation becomes a preferred strategy
when compared to the increased use of conventional fuels or the development
of new fuel sources It will provide San Francisco residents with the cheapest,
most accessible and least disruptive energy supply alternative.
Balance of Energy Supplies to Meet Local Needs
Pacific Gas and Electric Company supplies electricity and natural gas
to San Francisco. Hydro, oil and natural gas comprise the primary energy
sources used to generate electricity, with lesser amounts coming from
geothermal and nuclear fuels. Most natural gas is shipped either from
Canada or the Southwest, with the balance coming from California producers.
The Hetch Hetchy system provides electricity for City and County municipal
PG&E will be shifting to an increased deployment
of renewable, alternate energy resources such as solar, geothermal,
co-generation and wind. This
energy policy envisions and encourages a similar energy future for San
Francisco. It is consistent with the assessment of the California Energy
Commission that renewable energy resources will provide State residents
will the greatest long term monetary, social and environmental benefits.
The Commission believes local public policy should be directed toward
the accelerated development of these resources through both private
Although these energy alternatives will not displace conventional fuels
in the near future, their development will provide San Francisco residents
with a more varied resource mix that will be less susceptible to supply
and price uncertainties.
A citywide energy program has significant job development implications.
Reducing utility expenditures will redirect money currently going to energy
suppliers outside the region back into the local economy. This bolsters
local jobs and can help foster economic development. Increased reliance
on conservation and renewable energy technologies will expand local job
opportunities, since these industries tend to be labor-intensive in nature.
Job training programs should recognize employment opportunities arising
from implementation of local energy programs. Certain energy service enterprises
should be located in neighborhood commercial areas, while other energy
related manufacturing firms require industrial sites. These needs can
be addressed within the City's land use policies.
Responsible Community Participation
An effective local energy management program is contingent upon responsible
participation from all members of the community. This requires the formation
of a partnership between the private and public sectors to coordinate
their efforts in finding acceptable solutions to energy problems facing
San Francisco. Solutions based on proven and economical methods are the
most reliable way of transforming San Francisco into an energy efficient
ESTABLISH THE CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO AS A MODEL FOR ENERGY MANAGEMENT.
Municipal government accounts for a small, but growing fraction of San
Francisco's total energy use. In l979, the combined Governmental sector
(Federal, state and local) used 3% of the natural gas, and 20% of the
electricity supplied to the City. The municipal energy budget in l980
amounted to $21 million. Electricity demand is expected to increase significantly
in the future as municipal wastewater treatment and electrified transit
programs are implemented.
Electricity is supplied to municipal facilities through Hetch Hetchy,
the City-owned hydro electric facility. Natural gas is supplied by Pacific
Gas and Electric Company. Adequate hydro capacity is available to meet
projected municipal electrical demand. In this context, electrification
of the municipal transit system provides a two fold benefit. It reduces
oil dependency while increasing overall reliance on a renewable energy
resource, i.e., water.
The City and County should set a positive example for the rest of San
Francisco in the management of energy resources. First and foremost, local
government should develop a strong internal energy conservation program
to learn first hand what management techniques are available to the community.
Reducing energy use will reduce operational expenditures, while providing
additional city revenues through the sale of conserved energy to private
There are excellent opportunities for saving energy within municipal
government. Many energy management measures can be incorporated into routine
maintenance and operating procedures at virtually no cost. Other measures
require a minor investment, while providing a financial return within
one or two years. Still others offer longer term monetary and energy savings
to San Francisco, while requiring extensive financial investment. A program
of budgetary incentives should be developed to encourage City agencies
to save energy. Comprehensive municipal energy management requires the
participation of all departments and the political and financial support
of the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors.
Incorporate energy management practices into building, facility, and fleet
maintenance and operations.
The City has already begun taking the first step in municipal energy
conservation by increasing the energy efficiency of existing facilities.
A primary conservation technique involves building energy audits that
identify potential energy saving practices and capital investment options.
Reductions in electricity use offer the greatest potential, since municipal
buildings consume energy primarily for heating, ventilating, air conditioning
(HVAC) and lighting needs. Much of this potential could be realized through
changes in operational and maintenance procedures. Energy monitoring reports,
issued on a regular monthly basis, provide a means for comparing actual
and budgeted energy use.
The City and County of San Francisco owns and operates a sizable vehicle
fleet. Management practices involving the operation and maintenance of
these vehicles provide a method for reducing unnecessary fuel usage. A
scheduling system for vehicle maintenance would, for instance, insure
that energy conservation actions are taken on a planned basis. Gasoline,
diesel, and electricity consumption would be affected. Education is critical
to an effective fleet energy management program since personal driving
habits greatly influence overall energy requirements.
Integrate energy cost reduction measures into the budget process.
Once measures have been taken to improve maintenance and operations,
additional energy cost savings can be obtained from retrofit investments
and the acquisition of new assets. Energy criteria should be considered
in purchase decisions to allow the City to identify and evaluate cost
reduction investment opportunities.
Payback is a reliable measure for appraising municipal investments opportunities
in energy conservation and renewable technologies. Payback provides an
indication of the length of time required to recover an initial investment
in an energy saving measure based on the dollar value of the energy savings
resulting from that investment. It can help answer such questions as whether
the City should replace its incandescent street lights with fluorescent
or low sodium lights.
Life cycle cost analysis is a useful method for assessing municipal decisions
on the purchase of capital equipment. The cost- effectiveness of the item
is evaluated by combining the initial cost of the asset with all of the
related energy costs associated with using the asset over its expected
life. In many cases, a higher priced item might be a better investment
if its operational costs for energy use are relatively low over time.
Life cycle cost analysis should replace the current municipal bid process,
which emphasizes initial costs to the exclusion of life time operational
costs in purchasing decisions.
Investigate and implement techniques to reduce municipal energy requirements.
When low cost energy management practices have been incorporated into
operations and maintenance procedures, emphasis should be placed on capital
investments that would reduce municipal energy demand still further. State
of the art energy technologies, such as solar water heating systems, should
be considered for use in municipal demonstration projects. The Steinhart
Aquarium in Golden Gate Park is a successful example of a solar retrofit
demonstration project. Co-generation systems might provide an attractive
investment for facilities such as schools and hospitals that have large
space heating needs. Governmental buildings with constant hot water but
seasonal space heating requirements could be likely candidates for separate
boiler systems. Such applications increase the efficiency of energy use
while providing opportunities to inform and educate the public.
In new City and County facilities, redevelopment
projects, and extensive rehabilitation or modernization work, building
design should be encouraged
that will minimize overall energy requirements. Recently completed State
and Federal facilities in Northern California consume substantially
energy than is currently allowed under the State's Title 24 energy conservation
standards. District heating and other "total energy" systems
can provide economical alternatives to less efficient decentralized
systems. Demonstration projects of this type would set an example to
the private sector on feasible methods to reduce energy budgets for
Encourage investment in capital projects that will increase municipal
energy production in an environmentally responsible manner.
The City's Hetch Hetchy system currently provides ample electricity to
meet all municipal needs. Excess power is sold to other government agencies
and private customers, providing revenues to the City and County. Recent
studies have indicated that Hetch Hetchy's electrical capacity could be
increased through investments in a variety of projects, including small
hydro development throughout the system. Such expansion should be undertaken
in conjunction with careful consideration of the environmental consequences
to the surrounding region.
The City and County has several additional opportunities to increase
municipal energy production capability in an environmentally responsible
manner. These include participation in a solid waste to energy plant to
produce electricity, treatment of sewerage for possible production of
methane gas, and involvement in community waste recycling efforts. These
projects would alleviate current waste problems while producing fuels
that might prove useful in governmental demonstration projects.
Include energy emergency preparedness plans in municipal operations.
The City and County of San Francisco should be prepared for possible
fuel shortages or disruptions in energy supplies due to political or economic
events in addition to emergency situations resulting from natural disasters
such as earthquakes. These situations could have a severe impact on important
municipal services normally supplied to the public. Energy contingency
plans are essential to minimize impacts on the health, safety, and general
welfare of the public. Such plans should be coordinated with State emergency
San Francisco's energy emergency preparedness plan should emphasize management
systems such as fuel rationing, delineation of essential and non essential
services and restricted vehicle operations that would ensure the continued
provision of essential public services. In addition, community preparedness
and financial management strategies should be examined to reduce local
economic dislocations from sudden energy scarcity and price increases.
ENHANCE THE ENERGY EFFICIENCY OF HOUSING IN SAN FRANCISCO.
San Francisco's residents have seen their utility
bills rise well beyond the rate of inflation. Higher utility costs
only exacerbate the fact that
the city is one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation.
The Federal government has reduced its funding commitments to energy
The State's role in residential energy conservation, though important,
has also been limited by budget cutbacks. As a result, city government
must provide leadership in working with the private sector and PG&E
to stabilize energy costs.
The residential sector consumes nearly one fourth
of the electricity and approximately two-thirds of the natural gas
used in San Francisco.
San Franciscans use considerable less electricity than average PG&E
residential customers, although they consume close to the average amount
of natural gas. Natural gas is used primarily for space and water heating,
while electricity is used for lighting and appliances. Older housing
of San Francisco is poorly insulated and requires more heating, and generally
contains fewer appliances. Natural gas usage represents the largest energy
savings potential in the residential sector, through the implementation
of cost-effective weatherization measures and more efficient operation
of space and water heating systems.
Actions taken to increase the efficient use of energy may raise initial
housing costs for private owners in some cases. These actions will, however,
promote affordable housing in the long run by reducing annual utility
expenses. San Francisco residents can save substantial sums of money and
energy by undertaking an aggressive energy management program that includes
community education and promotion, regulation, creative financing, and
some capital investment. Special emphasis should be devoted to programs
that benefit the city's renter and elderly residents, since this portion
of the population pays a higher proportion of their income on energy bills.
Improve the energy efficiency of existing homes and apartment buildings.
The vast majority of the City's homes and apartment buildings were built
prior to the adoption of California's building energy standards. Economical
remedial energy measures are currently available that can produce significant
energy and monetary savings to residents of these structures. These measures
include, but are not limited to, increased levels of ceiling insulation,
weatherstripping and caulking of windows and exterior doors, low flow
showerheads, thermostat setbacks, water heater blankets and electric ignition
devices for appliances. Implementation of these measures on a citywide
level would reduce projected expenditures for energy by millions of dollars,
and at a relatively low cost to the city's residents.
A special problem exists in attempts to upgrade
the energy efficiency of San Francisco's apartment buildings. Tenants
pay utility bills, either
directly when billed by PG&E, or indirectly when landlords pass through
utility costs in rents. As a result, landlords have little incentive
install energy management measures. Likewise, tenants are reluctant to
make capital improvements to their apartments for a number of reasons:
many tenants move relatively frequently, making justification of capital
improvements difficult; tenants perceive building improvements as a landlord
responsibility; and, in master metered buildings, tenants who reduce
energy consumption often are not rewarded by lower utility charges and/or
Local weatherization activities should emphasize a combination of educational
and governmental enforcement measures. Utility and community organizations
are good resources for educating homeowners, tenants, and landlords about
energy cost reduction opportunities, including financial and technical
assistance programs. Master metering should be strongly discouraged, and
conversion to individual metering encouraged when shown to be cost-effective.
Municipal building and housing codes should be examined for ways to include
economical energy efficiency standards in existing residential structures.
These efforts are necessary to protect the affordability of housing in
Strengthen enforcement of the state's residential energy conservation
California has adopted energy standards for new residential buildings
and buildings undergoing extensive remodeling (Title 24). Homes and apartments
constructed according to these standards are expected to consume approximately
40% less energy than comparable older units.
The State has left enforcement of Title 24 energy standards to local
government, without providing financial assistance for staff support.
As a result, local government enforcement is uneven at best. It is important
that San Francisco have an inspection staff that is knowledgeable about
State energy standards for this region. In addition, there must be sufficient
personnel to properly review plans and undertake site inspections to insure
compliance with Title 24.
Expand the environmental review process to encourage the use of additional
measures to save energy in new housing.
Designers of new housing should address the site as the first step in
production of energy efficient housing. The primary energy needs of residential
structures in San Francisco are space and water heating. Whenever practical,
housing sites should be oriented to provide maximum exposure of living
areas to sunlight and daylight. This will significantly reduce space heating
and lighting needs.
Building technologies currently on the market make it economically feasible
to produce energy efficient housing beyond the State adopted standards.
These technology options include solar water heating systems, operational
skylights for natural daylighting and ventilation, and co-generation and
waste heat recovery systems in mixed use projects. Specific guidelines
should be made available to assist developers in assessing specific technologies
for new development projects.
Encourage the use of energy conserving appliances and lighting systems.
Over two-thirds of San Francisco's residential electrical demand is devoted
to the operation of refrigerators, household appliances and lighting systems.
State and Federal legislation has set minimum efficiency standards for
major new appliances and requires labels that reveal anticipated lifetime
operational costs. Labeling, combined with educational programs, should
make consumers more aware of the energy requirements of major household
appliances such as refrigerators, stoves and heaters.
The use of fluorescent lighting systems for service areas, in combination
with light dimmers for living areas, is a proven way to reduce electricity
use while providing adequate lighting comfort.
Emphasize energy conservation in local government housing assistance programs.
City housing agencies should take the lead in adopting energy conservation
criteria into their housing programs. Reducing energy expenditures is
an important part of providing affordable housing. Energy audit and weatherization
work should be coordinated with the city's rehabilitation loan programs.
Energy efficiency should be stressed in new subsidized units.
Redevelopment areas should be targeted as demonstration sites for the
purpose of constructing energy efficient housing. Sites should be analyzed
for their energy production potential. Housing construction within redevelopment
areas should achieve lower energy budgets than currently allowed under
State Title 24 energy standards, in order to set an example for other
areas of the city.
Advocate real estate association participation in residential energy management
Homeowners and investors increasingly seek information on utility bills
prior to purchasing property. The general public relies on the opinion
and expertise of the real estate industry on housing matters. As such,
San Francisco's realtors should become actively involved in marketing
energy management strategies to both home and apartment building owners.
By educating clients on energy efficiency improvements that will reduce
operating energy costs, the real estate industry would provide a valuable
service in helping to upgrade San Francisco's housing, without the need
for additional government regulations.
PROMOTE EFFECTIVE ENERGY MANAGEMENT PRACTICES TO MAINTAIN THE ECONOMIC
VITALITY OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY.
The commercial sector is the fastest growing energy use sector in San
Francisco. Commercial buildings consume over half of the electricity and
over a quarter of the natural gas supplied to the city. Within this sector,
electrical demand has been growing at a rate double the growth of total
city demand. The current boom in new office construction will further
increase commercial energy use. Energy conservation in commercial buildings,
therefore, represents an important citywide objective.
In the commercial and industrial sectors, electricity is used for lighting,
air conditioning, office equipment and welding operations, while natural
gas is used for space and water heating, food storage/ preparation and
metal fabrication. The greatest energy savings can be made through better
management of lighting and better design and management of heating, ventilation
and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. An effective conservation program
will save businesses and industry substantial amounts of money that can
be reinvested in the local economy. In the absence of efficiency improvements,
energy expenditures by commercial and industrial users would be expected
to triple in a decade.
An effective commercial and industrial energy
management program will require the participation of architects and
design engineers, and representatives
of organizations, such as the Building Owners and Managers Association,
the Chamber of Commerce, and PG&E.
Increase the energy efficiency of existing commercial and industrial buildings
through cost-effective energy management measures.
The vast majority of commercial and industrial buildings were constructed
when energy costs were of little concern to architects and engineers.
The costs associated with doing business in San Francisco have risen partially
as a result of energy expenditures that have increased dramatically over
the past decade. Many of the barriers to multifamily residential energy
conservation apply to commercial structures as well. There is a diversity
of building types and equipment in use, thus requiring specialized analysis
for each structure. Many commercial businesses are tenants in master-metered
buildings and are only indirectly held accountable for energy use through
operating cost clauses in their leases.
There is a strong need for private business leadership in promoting energy
efficiency in existing buildings. Key strategies to reduce operating energy
loads involve proper maintenance and operation of mechanical systems.
Lighting levels can be adjusted and incandescent lighting replaced with
fluorescent, mercury and sodium alternatives. Computerized energy management
systems can be an economical measure for large energy users. Commercial
and industrial energy conservation is limited only by the innovation and
imagination of building architects and engineers.
Insure adequate local enforcement of California's non-residential building
The California Energy Commission has adopted and periodically reviews
energy design standards for all new non-residential buildings (Title 24).
The standards require that all new buildings be designed to use significantly
less energy than buildings built prior to the passage of the new requirements.
The City is charged with the enforcement of the State building standards.
Enforcement of the standards is a responsibility of the City's Bureau
of Building Inspection (BBI). Conformance with the State's energy efficiency
standards should be a priority in the City's building permit review process.
This will require adequate training of building code inspectors on the
energy components of the building standards.
Expand the environmental review process to encourage the use of additional
measures to save energy in new commercial buildings.
California Title 24 Standards do not reflect the state of the art in
building efficiency design. There are a number of design features which
have been used successfully in some San Francisco highrise buildings to
further reduce energy consumption, e.g. the use of natural ventilation
to reduce air conditioning demand. Detailed case studies should be undertaken
to evaluate the performance of such features. This information should
be shared with parties involved in building design and EIR preparation.
The environmental impact report (EIR) process is designed to review the
potential environmental impacts associated with major new development
projects. This process provides an opportunity for dialogue among the
City, developer and public on a range of issues, including energy. Commercial
case studies and energy research efforts should be undertaken to determine
cost-effective energy conservation strategies, e.g. single metering, integrated
energy systems, flextime to reduce peak transit use, that should be integrated
into EIR procedures.
Promote commercial office building design appropriate for local climate
The climate of San Francisco is dominated by the sea breezes characteristic
of maritime climates. Because of the steady stream of marine air, there
are few heat and cold extremes. Temperatures exceed 90 degrees F. on an
average of once a year, and drop below freezing on an average of less
than once a year.
Commercial building design should reflect San Francisco's climate. Buildings
designed to take advantage of nearly year long westerly winds will be
able to maximize natural ventilation opportunities. Heating, ventilation
and air conditioning (HVAC) systems should be designed with these climatic
conditions in mind. These actions would reduce both operating costs and
Encourage use of integrated energy systems.
Integrated energy systems are a promising method
for increasing the efficiency with which energy is used in commercial
and mixed use projects. This concept
encompasses a variety of systems. District heating and cooling systems
deliver hot water or steam to buildings from a central location. San
has three district heating systems serving the Civic Center and downtown
areas, two of which are owned by PG&E. These systems are presently
underused, despite considerable activity in new commercial office construction
downtown. A feasibility study on providing steam service to new projects
within or adjacent to the present steam distribution area should be
The present system could be operated more efficiently at lower unit cost
with additional customers.
Other integrated energy technologies, such as co-generation and waste
heat systems, use one fuel source to provide two or more end needs, thereby
reducing overall energy requirements. Such systems might present a feasible
and economically attractive energy supply option for new commercial office,
mixed use and industrial projects. Initial studies should be undertaken
to assess the potential application of these technologies on new development
INCREASE THE ENERGY EFFICIENCY OF TRANSPORTATION AND ENCOURAGE LAND USE
PATTERNS AND METHODS OF TRANSPORTATION WHICH USE LESS ENERGY.
Transportation activities consume more than a fifth of San Francisco's
total energy. Personal auto use accounts for more than half of total transportation
energy use locally, and more than half of this total is for work commuting.
The most obvious way to reduce this level of fuel consumption is to reduce
personal auto use for both work and non work travel. Where people still
must rely on autos, it is necessary to make more efficient use of them,
by increasing both passenger loads and fuel economy.
Providing efficient transportation services in metropolitan areas is
a complex problem. The best way to reduce transportation energy use is
to increase the overall efficiency of transportation systems. Policies
should be developed which take advantage of densities and location to
reduce the need to travel and increase access to transit. Significant
energy savings could result from construction of mixed use development
projects that integrate employment with residential and shopping uses.
The benefits of reduced transportation energy use are clear. It will
save money for both San Francisco's residents and business community while
conserving critical fuel resources. This will, in turn, reduce the city's
vulnerability to oil supply interruptions, with the added environmental
benefit of lessening pollution and congestion.
Increase the use of transportation alternatives to the automobile.
Transit remains one of the more energy efficient methods of accommodating
personal transportation needs, particularly the daily commute to and from
work. The City of San Francisco is fortunate to have an extensive transit
system that is used and supported by local residents. As such, its continuance
and expansion should be encouraged.
The system, however, is not without its problems. Local revenue sources
are declining in proportion to the rising costs of maintaining existing
service levels. The growth of commercial office development downtown,
while increasing the local tax base, also imposes pressure to expand the
existing service network in order to avoid both increased congestion and
a reduction in transit service levels. A financing partnership should
be established to maintain and enhance the city's energy efficient transportation
network. Financing mechanisms should be pursued to allocate the costs
associated with increased transit service demand. In addition, a variety
of transportation alternatives, including the provision of bicycle, jitney,
and pedestrian facilities, should be carried out through both public and
private transportation energy management programs.
Provide incentives to increase the energy efficiency of automobile travel.
Increasing the energy efficiency of automobile travel should be a major
local transportation energy policy. Incentives should be instituted to
increase the number of passengers per vehicle for local travel. Preferential
parking for carpools and van pools, restrictions on the availability of
long term parking for single occupant vehicles, and continuance of state
tax credits for employers who implement carpool and vanpool programs,
are some of the ways to encourage energy efficient high occupancy auto
travel. In addition, the city can promote use of fuel efficient vehicles
through implementation of preferential parking policies for smaller autos,
and reducing the size of off-street parking spaces.
Encourage an urban design pattern that will minimize travel requirements
among working, shopping, recreation, school and childcare areas.
An energy efficient transportation system is highly dependent on local
land use policies. San Francisco's high density, compact form lends itself
to the use of various transportation alternatives in order to satisfy
the daily needs of local residents. Recent developments, however, could
seriously alter this balance. New housing has not kept pace with the growth
in local employment, imposing pressure on existing housing and encouraging
housing growth outside the city. Commercial neighborhood districts are
under intense development pressure, forcing certain neighborhood services
to move outside the area. These trends increase distances, and thus energy
requirements, for personal travel.
The city should implement programs that reinforce San Francisco's present
urban design pattern. Housing conditions placed on new commercial office
development projects should emphasize the provision of housing at or near
employment centers. Neighborhood commercial policies should promote the
continued presence of diverse local service establishments. These policies
would enhance the city's existing urban character, while keeping personal
transportation energy requirements to a minimum.
Promote more efficient commercial freight delivery.
Better designed and more adequate space for freight loading in major
high rise commercial buildings will increase the energy efficiency of
the transportation system by minimizing traffic congestion. San Francisco
should aggressively enforce recently enacted off-street freight loading
and service vehicle space requirements. The City should also examine the
feasibility of establishing satellite freight centers to reduce truck
movement into the downtown.
Encourage consideration of energy use issues when making transportation
The development of new transportation facilities can either increase
total energy demand or encourage greater energy conservation. The funding
of highway and transit projects is complex and involves the agreement
of many government agencies. San Francisco should work with other local
governments and regional agencies to ensure that future transportation
plan development is consistent with its transportation and energy policies,
both of which emphasize energy conservation.
Promote alternative work arrangements which will contribute to more efficient
Currently, the work trip is the largest single component of personal
transportation needs, responsible for peak service loads and overcrowding
of the existing transportation system. Energy savings could be achieved
through more efficient utilization of the existing transit system. Alternate
work arrangements, such as flex-time or staggered work hours, have the
potential for increasing the efficiency of the existing transportation
system while reducing the need for system expansion.
PROMOTE THE USE OF RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES.
Renewable energy is a term applied to energy sources which do not rely
on finite reserves of fossil or nuclear fuels. These sources are directly
or indirectly due to the sun, with the exception of tidal energy, and
include such forms as solar, wind, biomass, and hydro. Renewable energy
sources are non-depletable; hence, their use reduces dependence on conventional
fossil fuels, particularly from foreign sources. They are relatively benign
to the natural environment. In addition, renewable energy sources tend
to be labor intensive, encouraging the growth of local enterprises and
jobs. For these reasons, their use should be actively encouraged.
All City agencies should give greater consideration to the potential
use of renewable energy systems. Land use and regulatory codes should
integrate renewable energy concerns. Solar access issues should be identified
and local approaches developed to facilitate the use of various systems
for space and water heating needs. Local government codes have, directly
or indirectly, encouraged greater energy use and discouraged investments
in renewable energy technologies. Changes in land use policies and regulatory
codes can significantly increase local reliance on renewable energy resources.
These programs include expediting permit applications, consumer protection,
information services, and special programs for low-income residents and
small commercial businesses. Local government should be committed to undertaking
this re-examination in order that it might better reflect a position of
leadership in support of renewable energy sources.
Develop land use policies that will encourage the use of renewable energy
Steps should be taken to protect areas offering high solar energy collection
potential, such as south facing slopes, from being shaded. Solar access
strategies will differ according to existing and proposed height and bulk
regulations. South wall and rooftop solar access may be achievable in
low density residential districts. Rooftop access should be possible in
medium to high density residential, commercial and mixed use districts.
If new development impairs the performance of existing systems, compensatory
or mitigation measures should be taken.
Remove obstacles to energy conservation and renewable energy systems in
zoning and building codes.
A detailed analysis of zoning and building codes should be performed,
particularly in terms of problems encountered by persons who have installed
or tried to install systems. The National Association of Building Officials
has anticipated many such problems and has developed a Uniform Solar Code
to facilitate installation of solar equipment. The California Energy Commission
has developed model solar access and wind legislation. These codes should
be reviewed for possible adoption in San Francisco. In addition, constraints
in existing local codes and permit procedures should be analyzed and modified,
if the modifications do not conflict with basic health and safety concerns.
Develop information resources to assist in the use of renewable energy.
Providing reliable information is an important activity in the marketing
of renewable energy. Such information can motivate individuals to install
energy conservation measures and renewable energy technologies. However,
a key part of a successful information service program involves developing
materials best suited to individual needs.
Local information services should not duplicate work proceeding at other
government and utility levels but, instead, focus on local concerns: system
performance in San Francisco, applicable planning and building codes,
solar orientation, system sizing and access criteria, consumer protection
programs, and technical assistance on solar and wind audits. A local renewable
resource information service should keep citizens informed of technology
developments, while acting as a clearing house on land use and code requirements.
Monitoring existing solar installations is necessary to develop reliable
information on expected performance. Such information is essential to
those making decisions involving the local use of renewable resources.
SUPPORT FEDERAL, STATE AND PG&E ENERGY PROGRAMS THAT ARE EQUITABLE,
AND ENCOURAGE CONSERVATION AND RENEWABLE ENERGY USE.
Local energy programs should be tied closely to existing Federal and
State laws. The complexity of energy supply and distribution systems,
in addition to social equity and economic considerations, require coordination
of government and utility energy plans. Local energy management efforts
should be designed to inform and support local residents and businesses
in using available Federal, State and utility energy assistance programs.
To carry out this objective, San Francisco should monitor energy legislation
at all government levels and maintain an open dialogue with public and
private agencies which have energy planning programs underway.
Support continuation of state and federal tax incentives and credits for
conservation and renewable energy technologies.
Conservation and renewable technologies are, for the most part, economical
methods to reduce utility operating costs. Their widespread use, however,
is dependent on the decisions of individuals and business firms to invest
in these technologies. The initial costs associated with conservation
and renewable energy systems dissuade individuals from investing in these
technologies, regardless of potential long term benefits in reduced operating
expenses. Federal, State and utility financing programs are necessary
to reduce, or defer the initial costs of investing in conservation or
renewable energy resources, in order to make the investment option attractive
to the individual. Tax credits, depreciation allowances, an low interest
loans are but a few examples of financing incentives currently in place
which, when combined with high energy bills, are convincing utility customers
to invest in conservation and renewable energy.
Financing incentives for small business and apartment building owners
are of particular importance. Small businesses typically lack the capital
to invest in energy technologies that would reduce long term operating
costs. Many small businesses are tenants and thus are not responsible
for making structural improvements and/or changes to the buildings they
occupy. Owners of apartment buildings face a different disincentive. Generally,
these owners either do not pay their tenants' utility bills, or pass on
the operating costs to tenants as part of rents. Investments will occur
only if building owners are offered financial incentives, e.g. tax credits,
to offset investment income.
Promote state energy building standards that are cost-effective and take
into account San Francisco's climate and density patterns.
The California Energy Commission has recently revised its energy standards
for new building construction. The new standards are intended to reduce
energy costs by relying on increased ceiling and wall insulation, thermostat
controls, fluorescent lighting, double and triple paned windows, passive
solar design and solar water heating systems. Although these energy standards
will increase initial building costs, they will, in the long run, provide
an economic benefit to consumers by reducing operating costs during the
life of the building.
Local governments have the opportunity to review energy standards for
their region and propose alternatives that can be demonstrated to be both
cost effective and save as much, or more energy, than the state standards.
San Francisco has a topography, density and climate pattern that is unique
in the state. It is in the city's interest to review the state energy
building standards to determine their cost-effectiveness for this area,
as well as the ease of implementation.
Encourage PG&E involvement in energy management programs for residential,
commercial and industrial users.
PG&&E is actively involved in customer-related
energy conservation activities. Examples of existing programs include
residential energy audits
and information referrals, low-interest loans, award and promotion programs
for energy efficient building design, street light conversion, and
and residential load management programs.
Load management offers great potential for holding
down the cost of electricity. It is a strategy to influence consumers'
use of electricity by time-differentiated
pricing - charging rates that reflect the cost of supplying a level of
demand by either time of day or season. In the PG&E service territory,
afternoons are a time of daily "peak" electricity demand, while
summer afternoons represent a period of system "peak" demand.
San Francisco is experiencing a rapid increase
in commercial office development activity. This activity is expected
to increase significantly both the
daily and seasonal "peak" electrical requirements of the local
service area, since commercial office energy use is primarily for air
conditioning, lighting and office equipment. Expansion of utility load
management programs into the downtown office district could relieve "peaking"
requirements by shifting electricity loads to times when base load generation
could be more effectively used. Commercial customers could lower their
operating costs, while reducing the need for PG&E to purchase expensive
oil and natural gas.
Evidence to date suggests a positive correlation between financial responsibility
for energy use and reduced levels of energy consumption. Commercial and
residential tenants who do not directly pay their utility bills will generally
consume larger amounts of energy than those held directly accountable.
Commercial and residential master metering practices should be examined
and alternatives encouraged which place direct responsibilities on tenants
for energy use.
DEVELOP FINANCING OPPORTUNITIES TO IMPLEMENT LOCAL ENERGY PROGRAMS
One of the major energy issues facing San Francisco is the unequal consequences
escalating prices have on different segments of the community. Three of
the groups most seriously affected by price increases are lower and fixed
income renter populations, energy-intensive small neighborhood businesses
such as restaurants and corner grocery stores, and certain industries
that require large quantities of heat for manufacturing.
While the implementation of low cost and no cost conservation measures
are a first step to reduce energy bills, over the long term, investments
in conservation measures and renewable energy will be needed. Fixed income
renter populations often use large amounts of gas for space heating, and
large amounts of electricity to operate relatively inefficient older appliances.
Over the long run, weatherization, more efficient HVAC systems, and the
use of solar systems to provide hot water will help alleviate increasing
utility costs for fixed income renters. Without such improvements, the
city's efforts to stabilize rent costs and protect the affordability of
housing will be compromised.
Access to loans or other financing options to install these measures
is critical. The City should investigate possibilities for acquiring funding
to assist or subsidize residential and private business improvements if
other sources of financing are not available. This effort should be targeted
to fixed and lower income populations, energy-intensive small businesses
such as restaurants and corner grocery stores, and local energy intensive
Promote government and private financing partnerships to carry out local
Creative use of State and Federal financial assistance programs should
be explored. A local revolving fund, through the issuance of revenue bonds,
might be established to undertake local energy conservation programs.
Tax-exempt leasing and lease-purchase arrangements offer another promising
method to implement energy conservation and renewable resource strategies.
A local non-profit energy corporation could provide a means to channel
financing resources to local conservation programs. Local governments
can assist in the formation of special assessment districts to undertake
energy projects. Such a district could be applied to certain industrial
and neighborhood areas for the production, sale and use of alternate energy
Government and utility involvement is particularly
appropriate in hardship and low income situations. San Francisco's
utility user tax (5% of PG&E
billings) may provide a funding source for an energy conservation loan
program geared to low-income residents. The City should encourage PG&E
to aggressively market its zero interest loan (ZIP) program to San Francisco's
low-income and elderly residents.
Encourage private financial institutions to offer energy loan programs
responsive to local market needs.
Local lending institutions are important sources for financing commercial
and residential conservation. A pioneering program involving solar "T-bills",
which are earmarked for solar system financing, has been successfully
developed in San Francisco. San Francisco lenders have also taken the
lead in supporting State legislation to create a secondary market for
solar loans. Continued innovation and more aggressive participation by
additional lenders is needed to service and promote a growing energy investment
Establish a self-supporting system for funding municipal energy cost reduction
The City should explore the feasibility of establishing a revolving loan
fund, using Hetch Hetchy revenues, to undertake municipal electrical conservation
programs. All electricity conserved from these investments not only will
reduce expenditures for electricity, but will also generate additional
revenues to Hetch Hetchy, since conserved electricity can be sold at rates
two to three times higher than the rate charged to City departments. These
additional revenues can be used to finance future energy-saving investments
in natural gas, which will, in turn, further reduce budgetary expenditures
and generate additional net revenue.
British Thermal Unit: (BTU) The amount of heat needed to raise
one pound of water (approximately 8.3 gallons) one degree Fahrenheit.
Both electricity (kilowatts) and natural gas (therms) can be converted
to BTUs. BBTU is a billion BTU.
Co-generation: Any of several processes which use either power
generation reject heat to satisfy process heat requirements, or process
waste heat for steam generation of electricity.
Cost-effective: Determination that a financial investment today in a given
technology or program will produce an adequate financial return in reduced
District Heating: A system which provides residential and commercial
space heating for a neighborhood or large complex of buildings from a
central heat source. District heating, which exists in San Francisco,
could also provide opportunities for co generation.
Energy Audit: The measurement of energy flow within a structure
for the purpose of measuring energy waste and potential savings. Subsequent
recommendations usually include operational improvements and retrofitting.
Energy efficiency: The degree to which energetic input yields
a desired output (e.g. work or space heating).
High Pressure Sodium Vapor: A high efficiency light-emitting electric
bulb; more efficient than standard mercury vapor street lights.
Kilowatt Hour: The basic unit of electrical energy, equal to one
kilowatt of power supplied to or taken from an electrical circuit for
one hour (l000 watts). One kilowatt hour is equal to 3,4l2 BTU.
Master Metering: A single utility company electric or gas meter
which serves on structure or building with multiple tenants. Tenants typically
are not directly billed for master metered services.
Natural Gas: A natural hydrocarbon gas composed typically of methane,
ethane, butane and propane. It comes from terrestrial wells with or without
accompanying crude oil and is generally much higher in heat content than
Non renewable energy resources: Energy resources that rely on
oil, gas, coal and/or nuclear sources.
Payback: In this document, the time it takes to recover a financial
investment in energy conservation or solar technology through reduced
payments for energy use.
Renewable energy technologies: Technologies using energy resources
that are sustainable over time or that have slow rates of depletion such
as solar, wind, biomass, solid waste, geothermal, co generation and hydropower.
Residential Conservation Service: (R.C.S.) A Federal mandate that
utility companies provide energy audits for residential customers.
Retrofit: Upgrading of an existing systems through subsequent addition
of new components. In terms of energy conservation, addition of materials
or devices to an existing building to achieve energy conservation (for
Solar access: Access which prevents solar energy collection (heat
absorbing) areas from being blocked or shadowed from direct sun exposure.
Therm: A unit of measurement for natural gas, equivalent to l00,000
Waste conversion: Recovery of energy
as an adjunct to waste disposal. It may involve pyrolysis (heating
to produce gas or oil); hydrogenation
(chemical reduction of materials to produce oil); or fermentation ("digestion")
of activated sewerage sludge to produce methane.
Weatherization: A set of measures such as insulation, caulking,
and weatherstripping, which reduce heat loss (infiltration) in buildings.
(This section was added by Resolution 13941 adopted on 8/17/1995)
The Tanner Act enacted by the State in 1986 requires California counties
to prepare Hazardous Waste Management Plans or have the State supersede
local government in terms of the siting authority for treatment, storage
and disposal facilities. A detailed Plan, responding to state hazardous
waste mandates was developed by the Office of San Francisco's Chief Administrative
Officer in conjunction with a citizens advisory group. The detailed Plan
including many management and educational programs was approved by the
Board of Supervisors in 1992 and by the State Environmental Protection
Agency in 1995. This section of the Environmental Protection Element condenses
and summarizes the more detailed document with emphasis on land use issues
for purposes of the General Plan.
In general, hazardous waste responsibilities
are divided among federal, state and local levels of government. Local
government takes the lead
for land use decisions related to hazardous waste facilities and for
emergency response programs. State government oversees "cradle to grave" management
of hazardous waste including all transport activities. This usually
involves manifests which are forms indicating types and amounts
of hazardous waste being transported on State highways and where such
waste is being taken. The State has delegated much of its enforcement
and inspection function for facilities and those entities using hazardous
materials and generating hazardous waste to the local Departments of
Health. The federal government has taken the lead in regulating and in
some cases funding the cleanup of past contamination which all levels
of government now seek to prevent.
San Francisco County is a moderate generator of hazardous wastes in California.
The management of hazardous wastes in San Francisco presents some unique
challenges. There is a diversity of hazardous waste sources and types.
There are a large number of businesses which are very small quantity generators.
San Francisco is characterized by high-intensity land use, and limited
land area which makes siting of a hazardous waste facility difficult.
Waste is generated by public agencies, the private sector, and individuals
in the City and County. The principal waste types in San Francisco are
oil, paint and solvents. The hazardous waste management system is operated
by private industry to collect, handle, transport, treat, store and dispose
of hazardous waste generated in San Francisco County and extends far beyond
the County's own boundaries for off-site disposal. The City and County
of San Francisco under the Chief Administrative Officer, Solid Waste Management
Program administers the local hazardous waste management process. Authorization
of the siting of hazardous waste facilities is a responsibility of the
Planning Department and Commission. This section contains guidance for
such siting decisions.
A transfer and storage facility (TSF) where San Francisco residents can
drop off hazardous waste from their homes free of charge is run by the
Sanitary Fill Company under contract with the City. In the future this
facility may evolve to serve additional business users and to treat some
of the wastes in order to facilitate reuse or recycling. The existing
facility is at the San Francisco Solid Waste Transfer and Recycling Center
on Tunnel Avenue on the City's southern border. The San Francisco Department
of Public Health has a major role in enforcement and monitoring of that
The City's ability to use an out of county landfill site at Altamont
in Alameda County for solid waste is dependent on the proper management
of hazardous waste and avoidance of its presence within solid waste loads
taken to the landfill site. The City's contract with Altamount requires
it to have a program to keep hazardous waste out of the landfill. The
City is responsible for substantial penalties if hazardous waste is found
within materials brought to the landfill site.
The Hazardous Materials Citizens Advisory Committee appointed by the
Board of Supervisors advises the San Francisco Health Department on numerous
practices encompassed by the hazardous waste management plan including
the storage and reuse of hazardous material and the implementation of
many state and local regulations.
The major goal of hazardous waste planning is to minimize or eliminate
harm to public health and the environment from hazardous wastes and prevent
hazardous waste being disposed into land or water or emitted into the
air. The County's detailed plan emphasized in order of priority: source
reduction, including chemical elimination as well as substitution; recycling
and reuse; treatment (on-site and off-site) and as a last resort, disposal
(off-site). In recycling and reuse, the minimization of air emissions
is especially important. The County Plan also provided the basis for siting
of hazardous waste facilities still required after serious efforts to
achieve source reduction.
PROMOTE SOURCE REDUCTION THROUGH REDUCED USE OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS AND
GENERATION OF HAZARDOUS WASTE.
In terms of environmental protection, the emphasis needs to shift from
the disposal of hazardous wastes to their prevention by not using hazardous
materials in the first place. In Addison to protecting the environment,
source reduction helps conserve chemical resources. It allows for significant
financial savings due to the elimination or reduction of costs associated
with management, transportation, treatment and disposal of hazardous waste.
Also eliminated are risks of human exposure and environmental release,
and liability which are exacerbated by San Francisco's high population
density. The need for expansion of treatment and disposal facilities is
Because of the importance and value of source reduction, it is at the
top of the waste reduction hierarchy. Barriers to source reduction include:
institutional inertia, overemphasis on disposal and need for assistance
by the public on understanding the availability of non-hazardous substitute
products. Source reduction is also essential in strengthening the position
of the County in negotiating potential intercounty agreements for provision
of off-site waste management.
Identify reduction opportunities through waste reduction audits.
A waste reduction audit examines existing production and hazardous materials
use practices within a plant or business and provides a roadmap for developing
a source reduction and waste reduction strategy. Waste reduction audits
should be performed for all firms using hazardous materials. Specific
recommendations of such audits can include: housekeeping changes such
as waste segregation and modification of cleaning and rinsing procedures;
modification of technical processes or equipment to produce the same product
but reduce the waste stream; substitution of raw materials or of the manufactured
products used in facility operations; and external reduction opportunities
such as a waste exchange. Audits could be a service and/or requirement
for users of the hazardous waste facility or for firms generating hazardous
Support public education related to lowered use or substitution of hazardous
chemicals and on the proper management of hazardous waste.
San Francisco's residents, businesses, work force and public officials
should be educated on source reduction including chemical elimination
as well as substitution and on the safe handling of hazardous waste generated
in their homes, workplaces, recreational facilities and public buildings.
Encourage City agencies to act as role models by establishing a Waste
A City government top management interdepartmental program should commit
to implementation of waste minimization efforts. A Waste Minimization
Pilot Program for City Departments can assist with strategies for choosing
alternatives to hazardous materials, reducing waste quantities and recycling.
This should include review of the purchase of hazardous products for safer
ENCOURAGE DEVELOPMENT OF FACILITIES NEEDED TO RECYCLE, TREAT, STORE, TRANSFER
AND DISPOSE OF HAZARDOUS WASTE.
Recycling and reuse are the next preferred approaches over source reduction.
Even after serious attention to source reduction, there will still be
a quantity of hazardous materials requiring appropriate facilities for
recyling, or storage and transfer out of San Francisco. Over time these
quantities should diminish. The City will need to evaluate expansion options
for the existing facility, whether to pursue curbside removal of used
oil and whether a collection at a number of decentralized locations is
appropriate. In considering these options, the potential for recycling
and reuse should be strongly emphasized, after all possible efforts at
hazardous chemical elimination or substitution have been pursued.
Through its solid waste management contractor, the Sanitary Fill Company,
the City operates a centralized household hazardous waste collection facility
at Beatty and Tunnel Avenues. The existing hazardous waste collection,
storage and transfer facility is part of a much larger complex which includes
recycling and refuse collection and transfer. The analysis of long term
trends in source reduction, as well as the use of this hazardous waste
facility and its pilot program for commercial very small quantity generators
is crucial to the evaluation of potential new facilities and services.
Ensure that siting and permitting authorization for proposed off-site
facilities or facilities expansion adequately protects the public health
and provides for effective hazardous waste management and economic efficiency.
An off-site facility involves the transfer of hazardous waste from the
site where it was generated to another location where it may be stored,
treated, transferred again. In some cases, disposal may be involved.
After extensive review of State criteria for location of hazardous waste
storage or treatment facilities, the County Hazardous Waste Management
Plan directed that such facilities should only be located in San Francisco's
Heavy Industrial (M-2) districts. However, not all parts of the heavy
industrial district which rings major portions of the shoreline in the
southeastern part of the City are equally suitable. Such attributes as
federal ownership, potential landslide hazards, liquefaction and/or
hazards as shown on Map -- reduce suitability for locations of a transfer,
storage or treatment facility (TSF). Other State and local criteria
considerations are summarized in the tables on the following pages.
disposal site for waste remaining after recycling or treatment is not
possible within San Francisco because of the State's extensive land
(50-300 acres plus a 2000 foot buffer from residences). San Francisco
therefore will need to continue exporting these residual wastes out
The need for the siting of any additional hazardous waste facilities
should be assessed against the State siting criteria and local considerations
as developed in the County Hazardous Waste Management Plan and summarized
here. State law also requires the appointment of a local advisory committee
to advise the City on terms and conditions by which a new facility or
a proposed expansion may be acceptable to the community.
Support San Francisco's participation in regional agreements on a fair
share allocation for future facilities.
In November, 1990 the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution endorsing
San Francisco's participation in a regional Hazardous Waste Management
Facility Allocation Committee. This committee convened by the Association
of Bay Area Governments is intended to refine the fair share concept,
limiting the number, types and size of hazardous waste facilities based
on regional needs of the nine Bay Area counties. No one county in the
region would be the recipient of all the needed facilities.
This concept is important because San Francisco clearly cannot manage
its hazardous waste in isolation from other counties as it does not have
areas meeting State criteria for disposal facilities. As of 1992, San
Francisco exported all its manifested hazardous waste to 16 or more other
counties. San Francisco is reliant on out of county disposal facilities.
Only transfer, storage and treatment facilities can be located in San
Map Showing Potential Sites in Heavy Industrial Districts
WASTE TRANSFER AND STORAGE FACILITY (TSF)
The TSF should be:
- close to the waste generators (75% of waste generators
who send waste off-site are located in the southeast area of
- near major transportation routes (major highways are
easily accessed from the southeast area of the City).
The TSF may be sited conditionally provided there is a risk
assessment, engineered design features, and/or buffer zone:
- in areas of potential flooding because of reservoir failure
- in areas with unstable soils
- in areas subject to subsidence (ground collapses) or liquefaction
(ground changes from granular material to a fluid state)
- in areas subject to tsunamis (tidal waves)
- in areas with high groundwater · in areas with permeable
strata and soils
- in an air quality "non-attainment" area
- near residences
- near immobile populations (e.g., schools, hospitals
- in recreational areas (e.g., Golden Gate National Recreation
Area, but only for low volume transfer and storage of wastes generated
there), and on State or Federal lands
The TSF may not be sited:
- on military land (e.g., Hunters Point Naval Shipyard);
- in wetland areas (areas determined by the Army Corps of Engineers
and the California Department of Fish and Game); and
- in critical habitat areas; there is no precise mapping of the
- of sensitive species in the southeast section of San Francisco;
field analysis may be required if and when facilities are proposed.
¹County Hazardous Waste
Management Plans are required to utilize criteria listed in California
Department of Health Services, Toxics Substances Control Division,
Guidelines for preparation of Hazardous Waste Management Plans,
CONSIDERATIONSFOR HAZARDOUS WASTE FACILITIES
- Identification of waste reduction techniques which can be employed
by users of the facility and what modification to the scope of
the project such waste reduction efforts require.
- Landscaping around the facility to enhance esthetics and reduce
- Limitation of hours of truck arrival or departure related to
peak traffic periods.
- Designation of special transportation routes for highly hazardous
materials or waste that are to be handled by a facility.
- Education of the users of the facility by the project sponsor
on waste reduction, waste handling, and transportation techniques.
- Assistance by the project sponsor in establishing milk runs
(to pick up hazardous wastes) where it is economically feasible.
Preserve the existing treatment and storage facilities at the site they
currently occupy, if feasible.
The only remaining hazardous waste treatment facility in San Francisco
at China Basin provides service for ship waste, oil and tank bottom wastes.
The recovered oil is sent to a rerefiner and the treated water is transported
by truck to the local waste water treatment facility after appropriate
testing. Without this treatment facility, sizable quantities of facility
of locally generated oil waste would have to be transported and managed
outside of San Francisco. This facility also is an important component
of San Francisco's regional fair share of hazardous waste facilities.
CONTROL ILLEGAL DISPOSAL AND ELIMINATE LAND DISPOSAL OF UNTREATED WASTE
Lack of awareness and lack of convenient low-cost disposal options are
probably the two major causes of illegal disposal of hazardous waste on
City streets and sidewalks, vacant lots, private property and into the
sewer system. Hazardous waste presents environmental problems when disposed
of in streets or sewers, or when combined with solid waste for disposal
in municipal waste land fills. The improper disposal of hazardous waste
can result in exposure and health risk to sewer and solid waste collection
employees and the public. The combined effect over time of many small
volumes of illegally disposed of hazardous waste can contaminate soil
Prevent illegal disposal.
A major continuing approach to preventing illegal disposal is the Waste
Acceptance Control Program which samples solid waste collected in San
Francisco by the local garbage haulers. This program is directed to preventing
hazardous waste from being delivered to the landfill. It consists of methods
for identifying and removing any prohibited wastes which are delivered
to the transfer station. When a prohibited waste is found, the Sanitary
Fill facility is equipped to safely hold it on a temporary basis until
the customer is contacted and is required to reclaim the waste. The most
common problem materials are paint and oils.
Strengthen enforcement efforts.
There should be a balance of education and enforcement to ensure that
the latter is used when, and only when, necessary. Enforcement programs
need to be coordinated with the identification of hazardous waste management
and disposal options. Generators of hazardous waste who fail to respond
to Department of Public Health notices are referred to the City Attorney's
Office and District Attorney's Office for legal action. Management information
system capability is critical to cross check, anticipate and evaluate
illegal disposal problems.
ENSURE EMERGENCY RESPONSE CAPABILITY.
Local, state and federal laws require emergency response planning and
training of hazardous waste materials users. Each business must develop
its own emergency response plan. Within local government, the San Francisco
Fire Department has a Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Team that
is on call 24 hours a day. There are four fire fighters on duty at any
one time on this ERT team. The ERT works closely with and receives technical
assistance from the San Francisco Department of Health. It is the only
such team in San Francisco. Better equipment and improved information
on hazardous materials locations based on disclosure provisions of the
San Francisco hazardous materials ordinance should be provided to this
Ensure proper emergency response preparation.
Improved on-the-scene data access is needed to help emergency response
teams in their analysis of the hazards at sites of emergencies. The latest
existing hazardous materials inventory, as required under the storage
ordinance, should be computerized and made available to responding emergency
authorities. The Fire Department needs improved equipment and additional
equipment to use at emergencies for evaluating the risk to fire fighters
and the public and for stabilizing the materials involved.
Coordinate and strengthen interagency response efforts.
Implementation of the emergency provisions of the local storage ordinance
should be integrated with the requirements of state and federal laws.
The Fire Department should continue to work in close coordination with
the Department of Public Health, the City Office of Emergency Services
and the Police Department. The Fire Department utilizes San Francisco
Health Department industrial hygienists when the substance(s) and its
properties and potential health effects are unknown. Actual clean up of
spills and similar contamination are generally conducted by a contractor
under Health Department supervision.
EMPHASIS OF THE CHARACTERISTIC PATTERN WHICH GIVES TO THE CITY AND ITS
NEIGHBORHOODS AN IMAGE, A SENSE OF PURPOSE, AND A MEANS OF ORIENTATION.
Recognize and protect major views in the city, with particular attention
to those of open space and water.
Recognize, protect and reinforce the existing street pattern, especially
as it is related to topography.
Protect and promote large-scale landscaping and open space that defines
districts and topography.
Recognize the natural boundaries of districts and promote connections
CONSERVATION OF RESOURCES WHICH PROVIDE A SENSE OF NATURE, COTINUITY WITH
THE PAST, AND FREEDOM FROM OVERCROWDING.
Preserve in their natural state the few remaining areas that have not
been developed by man.
Limit improvements in other open spaces having an established sense of
nature to those that are necessary, and unlikely to detract from the primary
values of open space.
Avoid encroachments on San Francisco Bay that would be inconsistent with
the Bay Plan or the needs of the city's residents.
Preserve notable landmarks and areas of historic, architectural or aesthetic
value, and promote the preservation of other buildings and features that
provide continuity with past development.
Recognize and protect outstanding and unique areas that contribute in
an extraordinary degree to San Francisco's visual form and character.
Maintain a strong presumption against the giving up of street areas for
private ownership or use, or for construction of public buildings.
IMPROVEMENT OF NEIGHBORHOOD ENVIRONMENT TO INCREASE PERSONAL SAFETY, COMFORT,
PRIDE AND OPPORTUNITY.
Protect residential areas from the noise, pollution and physical danger
of excessive traffic.
Provide buffering for residential properties when heavy traffic cannot
USE THE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM AS A MEANS FOR GUIDING DEVELOPMENT AND IMPROVING
Reduce pollution and noise.
Design and locate facilities to preserve the natural landscape and to
GIVE FIRST PRIORITY TO IMPROVING TRANSIT SERVICE THROUGHOUT THE CITY,
PROVIDING A CONVENIENT AND EFFICIENT SYSTEM AS A FEASIBLE ALTERNATIVE
TO AUTOMOBILE USE.
ESTABLISH A THOROUGHFARES SYSTEM IN WHICH THE FUNCTION AND DESIGN OF EACH
STREET ARE CONSISTENT WITH THE CHARACTER AND USE OF ADJACENT LAND.
Divert automobile and truck traffic from residential neighborhoods onto
major and secondary thoroughfares and limit major thoroughfares to nonresidential
streets wherever possible.
Design streets for a level of traffic that will not cause a detrimental
impact on adjacent land uses
Discourage nonrecreational and nonlocal travel in and around parks and
along the shoreline recreation areas.
DEVELOP AND MAINTAIN A DIVERSIFIED AND BALANCED CITYWIDE SYSTEM OF HIGH
QUALITY PUBLIC OPEN SPACE
Provide an adequate total quantity and equitable distribution of public
open spaces throughout the City.
Preserve existing public open space.
Gradually eliminate nonrecreational uses in parks and playgrounds and
reduce automobile traffic in and around public open spaces.
PROVIDE CONTINUOUS PUBLIC OPEN SPACE ALONG THE SHORELINE UNLESS PUBLIC
ACCESS CLEARLY CONFLICTS WITH MARITIME USES OR OTHER USES REQUIRING A
Assure that new development adjacent to the shoreline capitalizes on its
unique waterfront location, considers shoreline land use provisions, improves
visual and physical access to the water, and conforms with urban design
PROVIDE OPPORTUNIUES FOR RECREATION AND THE ENJOYMENT OF OPEN SPACE IN
EVERY SAN FRANCISCO NEIGHBORHOOD.
Acquire and develop new public open space in existing residential neighborhoods,
giving priority to areas which are most deficient in open space.
Assure the provision of adequate public open space to serve new residential
TO RETAIN THE EXISTING SUPPLY OF HOUSING COMMUNITIIES.
TO MAINTAIN AND IMPROVE THE PHYSICAL CONDITION OF HOUSING.
TO PROVIDE A QUALITY LIVING ENVIRONMENT.
ESTABLISH THE CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO AS A MODEL FOR ENERGY MANAGEMENT.
Investigate and implement techniques to reduce municipal energy requirements.
ENHANCE THE ENERGY EFFICIENCY OF HOUSING IN SAN FRANCISCO.
PROMOTE EFFECTIVE ENERGY MANAGEMENT PRACTICES TO MAINTAIN THE ECONOMIC
VITALITY OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY.
Encourage the use of integrated energy systems.
INCREASE THE ENERGY EFFICIENCY OF TRANSPORTATON AND ENCOURAGE LAND USE
PATTERNS AND METHODS OF TRANSPORT~ON WHICH USE LESS ENERGY.
PROMOTE THE USE OF RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES.