CalPERS Green Initiatives Save Water and Energy
April 14, 2015
Robert Udall Glazier, Deputy Executive Officer
Brad Pacheco, Chief, Office of Public Affairs
Contact: Bill Madison, Information Officer
SACRAMENTO, CA - Amid California's fourth year of a devastating drought and a governor's mandate for a greater reduction in statewide water usage, CalPERS is showing that it not only talks-the-talk about water conservation, it walks the walk.
Staff for the California Public Employees' Retirement System today reported that the giant pension system's green initiatives implemented to meet state-mandated water restrictions and improve its energy efficiency have dramatically decreased water and energy usage and increased its conservation and recycling efforts.
"The governor set aggressive sustainability standards for state buildings a couple of years ago, and CalPERS has gone above and beyond in exceeding them, especially in our water reduction efforts," said Anne Stausboll, CalPERS Chief Executive Officer. "Our staff has combined best practices with innovative ideas to keep us on the road to sustainable operations and lead the way for other state agencies."
In the area of water conservation, CalPERS instituted measures that reduced its water usage in 2014 by 30 percent compared to 2013, which is ahead of the recently announced 2015 requirement for a 25 percent reduction. That translated to more than nine million gallons of water saved. Actions included installing low flow plumbing fixtures and using drip irrigation for plants and trees. CalPERS also stopped watering the surrounding turf and installed small amounts of artificial turf on the campus. There are plans to further change the current landscaping with the use of sustainable materials for walking paths and the addition of drought tolerant plants.
"The water savings is especially significant during this long drought," said Douglas Hoffner, CalPERS' Deputy Executive Officer for Operations and Technology. "The drought tolerant landscaping alone will lead to more water savings in 2015. Our water usage has normally been close to 1.5 million gallons a year, and we now anticipate using only about 700,000 gallons a year with that landscaping replacing much of our turf areas."
CalPERS has also reduced its energy usage per square foot by 35 percent since 2003, even though its square footage grew by 65 percent during that same period. In addition, CalPERS partnered with Greenwise and Atlas Waste in 2014 to implement a food waste diversion program, collecting organic waste from eateries on the campus to convert to an alternative fuel product for the city of Sacramento. CalPERS diverted more than 26 tons of food waste from landfills as of December 2014.
CalPERS' had other "green" achievements in the past year. It added seven electrical vehicle charging stations at its 500 R Street garage, and plans to add 13 new stations in its Lincoln Plaza buildings by May. It exceeded the state 2013-14 goal of having at least 50 percent of its purchases include recycled content for paper (80 percent), for metal (100 percent) and plastic (81 percent) products.
CalPERS' campus buildings have been designated high-performance green buildings by the U.S Green Building Council and Green Building Certification Institute. They have received the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum and Gold certifications.
For more than eight decades, CalPERS has built retirement and health security for State, school, and public agency members who invest their lifework in public service. Our pension fund serves more than 1.7 million members in the CalPERS retirement system and administers benefits for more than 1.4 million members and their families in our health program, making us the largest defined-benefit public pension in the U.S. CalPERS' total fund market value currently stands at approximately $303 billion. For more information, visit www.calpers.ca.gov.