UCSF Launches Sustainability Website

By Lisa Cisneros on October 20, 2010

UCSF Chancellor Sue Desmond-Hellmann often takes public transportation to get where she needs to go.

UCSF has launched a new website focusing on the latest news and information about the University’s ongoing efforts toward environmental sustainability.

The UCSF Sustainability website is the product of the input of many across the campus and the medical center and its development was led by Gail Lee, sustainability manager at UCSF.

“We urge the UCSF community to get involved, stay informed, and take the pledge to support our goals to reduce our emissions, waste, and water and become more resource efficient,” Lee says.  “We hope that everyone can be a part of the global climate solution!”

The website features a story on UCSF Chancellor Sue Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, who speaks about the importance of sustainability and puts those words into practice as she often takes public transportation instead of hopping in a car.

“I think it is really important for a health sciences campus to not just focus on the short term and the patient in front of you, but to also think about our own habits and lifestyle,” Desmond-Hellmann says. “The upside of commuting by public transit is that it can improve your quality of life and provide the opportunity to interact with people in a different way.”

An avid biker who got her first taste of commuting by public transportation when she was working at Genentech, Desmond-Hellmann is passionate about public transportation and praises its benefits. “While I give up some control, I enjoy not driving and I enjoy reading. I can use the time to throttle down and relax after work.” Read more here.

UC Commitment to Sustainability

The University of California system, of which UCSF is a part, is committed to minimizing its impact on the environment.

In fact, the University of California has been recognized as a leader in its sustainability practices, gaining momentum and national recognition by expanding its sustainability policy, which was first adopted in July 2003.

UC’s Policy on Sustainable Practices includes guidelines and commitments in eight areas – operations and maintenance, purchasing, climate protection, energy procurement and generation, transportation, waste reduction, food systems, and green building design – making it one of the most ambitious and comprehensive institutional sustainability commitments in the nation.

For its part, UCSF’s sustainability efforts began as a staff initiative in 2004. Today, sustainability at UCSF has evolved into a program drawing in representatives from the campus and UCSF Medical Center.

Efforts are now led by the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability, which is charged to examine UCSF’s effect on the environment from a comprehensive perspective; to evaluate existing UCSF policies, procedures and programs that affect the environment; to serve as a coordinating body for groups or individuals concerned with sustainability issues at UCSF; and to recommend to the chancellor changes that will increase sustainability at UCSF.

At UCSF, sustainability and green building efforts are expected to reach new heights as the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay project targets LEED gold certification. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Created and administered by the nonprofit US Green Building Council, LEED has emerged as the national standard for high-performance green buildings.

In developing a new hospital complex for women, children and cancer patients at Mission Bay, UCSF seeks to innovate and maximize sustainable and eco-effective design and operations within the project funding available and in accordance with the UC Policy on Sustainable Practices.

Next week, UCSF will celebrate the groundbreaking for UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay. The design, construction, operations and purchasing strategies for the new medical center, expected to open in 2014, will integrate the best green practices available and incorporate leading-edge discoveries in evidence-based design, a body of knowledge that demonstrates a built environment can positively affect healing, health, safety and well-being.

Photo by Susan Merrell

Related Links:


UCSF Sustainability website

Advisory Committee on Sustainability

Sustainability and Green Design, UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay

UC Policy on Sustainable Practices [PDF]