PG&E Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2017

Buildings and Facilities

Our focus on responsible practices at PG&E extends to our buildings and facilities, where we are working to reduce our environmental footprint through reduced water and energy usage and increased diversion of waste from landfills. Our efforts rely on the engagement and participation of all employees, including a network of employee volunteers who develop environmental expertise, share it with their colleagues and demonstrate the positive impact employees can have at work.

Our Approach

Energy, Water and Waste Reduction

We continue to execute a multifaceted strategy to invest in key facility improvements, engage employees and incorporate sustainability principles and continuous improvement into our real estate management. In 2016, we worked to achieve annual targets for reducing energy, water and landfill waste in our office facilities and service yards. We also continued toward our goal to achieve top-decile performance in facility energy and water reduction among industry peers by 2020, adopted as part of PG&E’s climate pledge under the federal American Business Act on Climate initiative.

We powered all our service centers—nearly 100 facilities in Northern and Central California—with 100 percent solar energy through PG&E’s Solar Choice program.

We also continue to pursue Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for new buildings and large remodel projects, guided by a set of healthy building standards and practices to help us improve indoor air quality, generate less waste and increase operational efficiency over the lifespan of our facilities. We targeted LEED Silver certification for all major projects started in 2016.

Hazardous and Other Waste

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

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

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

2016 Milestones

Highlights of our efforts at office facilities and service yards include:

  • Reduced energy use by 1.2 percent compared to 2015, below our 2.0 percent target. We achieved reductions through energy efficiency upgrades, such as installing interior and exterior LED lighting, and by adopting energy efficient designs during major remodel projects. PG&E’s Step Up and Power Down initiative, an employee behavior-driven energy savings campaign, also contributed to our gains. However, the results were impacted by increases in project activity and our operational footprint, as well as new equipment at high-usage sites.
  • Reached an 80 percent waste-diversion rate, meeting our target. Key strategies included optimizing diversion at high-volume sites, right-sizing waste bins and enhancing pick-up frequency. We also hosted our annual zero-waste competition at two major offices to engage employees and keep more waste out of the landfill.
  • Conserved water but fell short of our 3.5 percent target. We remained focused on identifying, reporting and repairing leaks quickly; managing our irrigation systems; installing low-flow plumbing fixtures and replacing landscaping with drought-resistant approaches. However, unexpected leaks proved challenging and impacted our performance, resulting in water usage comparable to the prior year.
  • Continued to achieve LEED certification. Our work in this area continued, with more than 10 LEED-certification projects in progress, including seven major remodel and new construction projects. Once complete, approximately 43 percent of PG&E’s total portfolio square footage will be LEED certified.

Measuring Progress

Progress Toward PG&E’s Energy, Water And Waste Reduction Goals
Composite Total
Energy Reduction Footnote 1 16.4% 2.0% 1.2% Footnote 3a
Water Reduction Footnote 2 30.4% 3.5% 0% Footnote 3b
Waste Diversion Rate Footnote 4 81% 80% 80% 80%
  • 1. The energy reduction goal is measured in thousand BTUs (MBtus) and is shown as a percentage reduction in MBtus. The metric included between 156 and 171 sites from 2010 to 2015 and 180 sites in 2016.
  • 2. The water reduction goal is measured in gallons. The metric included between 91 and 135 sites from 2010 to 2015 and 133 sites in 2016.
  • 3. In 2017, PG&E is establishing new longer-term goals for reducing the environmental impact of our internal operations. 3a, 3b
  • 4. The waste diversion rate measures the rate for diverting waste from landfills in the final quarter of each year for all non-hazardous waste at 115 sites covered by the California Mandatory Recycling regulation.

For 2017, our goal is to maintain our overall waste diversion rate of 80 percent and to enhance our overall strategy for reducing energy and water consumption, in alignment with new longer-term sustainability goals.

Energy Consumption Statistics

These figures represent electricity and natural gas usage at 180 facilities managed by our Corporate Real Estate Strategy and Services department.

Energy Consumed Footnote 1
2014 2015 2016
Electricity Consumed (Gigawatt hours) 73 89 90
Natural Gas Consumed (Million cubic feet) 101 100 113
Energy Intensity (Million BTUs per square foot) Footnote 2 58 59 58
  • 1. The data reflects the 12-month period from December to November and is normalized for weather. Data for 2015 was updated with the 12 additional sites also reported for 2016.
  • 2. Figures are reported in the industry standard of BTU per square foot, which incorporates all of the energy used in a facility into one comparative number.

Water Use Statistics

In 2016, we tracked and reported on water use throughout the year. Please see the Water section for statistics on PG&E’s water usage.

Waste Generation Statistics

Waste Diversion at Facilities Footnote 1
Total Waste Generated (tons) 26,041
Total Waste Diverted (tons) 20,896
Waste Diversion Rate Footnote 2 80%
  • 1. The tonnage data reflects all of the non-hazardous municipal waste at 115 sites managed by PG&E’s Corporate Real Estate Strategy and Services department for the 12 months from October 2015 to September 2016.
  • 2. The percentage reflects the diversion rate measured in the final quarter of the calendar year.

PG&E strives to minimize the overall amount of waste we generate, while composting organic waste and recycling non-hazardous materials such as glass, paper and certain metals. These figures represent the total waste diverted from the landfill at 115 sites managed by our Corporate Real Estate Strategy and Services department.

Other waste reduction efforts included:

  • Recycling more than 28 million pounds of scrap iron, aluminum and copper from conductors, meters and miscellaneous material. We also recycled nearly 1.4 million pounds of recovered meters, 17.6 million pounds of transformers and nearly 368,000 pounds of plastic, including pipes and hard hats.
  • Recycling nearly 340 tons of e-waste, including consumer electronic devices, CPUs, monitors, servers, printers and other equipment.
  • Recycling approximately 309,000 pounds of steel, copper and lead from Humboldt Bay Power Plant and Diablo Canyon Power Plant.

Hazardous and Other Waste

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

Hazardous and Other Waste
2014 2015 2016
Total Hazardous Waste (tons) 28,164 78,750 67,645
RCRA Footnote 1 Hazardous Waste 1,391 1,747 1,329
TSCA Footnote 2 Hazardous Waste 885 1,082 557
California Regulated Hazardous Waste 25,888 75,921 Footnote 3 65,759
Federal Regulated Hazardous Waste (TSCA)—PCB Waste ≥ 50 ppm PCB (tons)
Total 885 1,082 557
Incineration 250 205 58
Landfill 504 804 348
Recycled 131 73 152
% Recycled 14.8% 6.7% 27.3%
California Regulated Hazardous Waste (Non-RCRA) Footnote 4 (tons)
Total 25,888 75,921 65,759
Disposed 17,860 64,254 58,157
Recycled 8,028 11,667 7,602
% Recycled 31.0% 15.4% 11.6%
Other Waste
Universal Waste (tons)
Total 268 488 86
Recycled 268 488 86
% Recycled 100% 100% 100%
Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposed (cubic feet)
Diablo Canyon Power Plant 810 947 631
Humboldt Bay Power Plant 18,966 60,814 241,213 Footnote 5
Radioactively Cleared Waste Disposed (pounds)
Diablo Canyon Power Plant 291,728 169,577 138,169
Humboldt Bay Power Plant 12,586,215 27,846,637 23,228,666
Recycled Materials from Power Plants (pounds)
Diablo Canyon Power Plant
Steel 18,167 0 1,700
Copper 0 12,404 6,125
Lead 3,007 0 0
Humboldt Bay Power Plant
Steel 129,940 160,820 301,430
Copper 0 0 0
Lead 17,305 35,100 0
  • 1. Refers to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
  • 2. Refers to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
  • 3. The increase in hazardous waste was largely driven by PG&E’s remediation at some larger-scale remediation sites.
  • 4. These figures include polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) waste < 50 ppm PCB.
  • 5. The cubic feet of low-level radioactive waste disposed increased as the site’s remaining bulk commodities, such as buildings and other structures, continued to be removed in 2016.

Air Emissions

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

Air Emissions Footnote 1
2014 2015 2016
Total NOX Emissions (tons) 141 160 141
Humboldt Bay Generating Station 25 30 31
Gateway Generating Station 80 79 68
Colusa Generating Station 36 50 42
NOX Emissions Rates (lbs/MWh)
Humboldt Bay Generating Station 0.15 0.15 0.17
Gateway Generating Station 0.05 0.05 0.06
Colusa Generating Station 0.03 0.03 0.03
Fossil Plants Footnote 2 0.05 0.04 0.05
All Plants Footnote 3 0.01 0.01 0.01
Total SO2 Emissions (tons) 14 17 13
Humboldt Bay Generating Station 1 1 1
Gateway Generating Station 8 8 6
Colusa Generating Station 5 8 6
SO2 Emissions Rates (lbs/MWh)
Humboldt Bay Generating Station 0.004 0.005 0.005
Gateway Generating Station 0.005 0.005 0.005
Colusa Generating Station 0.004 0.004 0.004
Fossil Plants 0.005 0.005 0.005
All Plants 0.001 0.001 0.001
Total Particulate Matter Emissions (tons) 92 108 90
Humboldt Bay Generating Station 45 49 44
Gateway Generating Station 23 23 17
Colusa Generating Station 25 35 29
Total CO Emissions (tons) 39 48 59
Humboldt Bay Generating Station 20 29 32
Gateway Generating Station 9 7 11
Colusa Generating Station 10 12 16
Total VOC Emissions (tons) 53 61 53
Humboldt Bay Generating Station 40 46 42
Gateway Generating Station 8 8 6
Colusa Generating Station 5 6 5
  • 1. Due to rounding conventions, some data above sum to an amount greater or less than the totals provided. Additionally, there were no reportable mercury air emissions from PG&E’s facilities during 2014 to 2016.
  • 2. Collective emission rates for Humboldt Bay, Gateway, and Colusa Generating Stations.
  • 3. Includes all PG&E-owned generation sources, including fossil fuels, nuclear, hydroelectric and renewable energy.

Looking Ahead

To achieve our top decile goals for 2020, we will continue to enhance sustainability program initiatives that support energy, water and waste reduction and embrace industry best practices—incorporating green building technologies and stepping up efforts to engage our workforce.