San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

At a Glance


Energy or Utility

Project Type

Financial Evaluation and Planning




San Francisco, CA


Sam Irvine created a tool to help the SFPUC assess the triple bottom line impact of potential energy efficiency programs.


The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is the power utility that provides electrical service to municipal customers as well as some residential and commercial customers within the City and County of San Francisco. The SFPUC enlisted Sam Irvine and a team of 3 additional EDF Climate Corps fellows in the summer of 2015 to support the design of new utility-scale energy efficiency programs. The Energy Efficiency Services group had been making energy efficient upgrades to small, non-revenue generating customers and was looking for cost-effective opportunities to provide energy efficiency services to larger customers in the residential and commercial sectors.


After researching and analyzing existing energy efficiency programs across peer utilities in California, Irvine began developing a tool to help SFPUC assess the triple bottom line impact of four potential programs. This tool would quantify the net impact of these programs on the utility, its customers and the community, helping to highlight both environmental and financial considerations. The completed model compares programs across a variety of cost-efficiency metrics, including cost per kilowatt-hour saved, cost-benefit analysis and revenue loss from energy efficiency and can be used to optimize funding allocation to each of the four programs. Irvine then ran the model on a portfolio of projects and a $5 million budget to demonstrate how it works and the types of savings and benefits it could provide for the SFPUC and its customers.

Potential Impact

Although the SFPUC provides its customers with carbon dioxide free hydroelectric power, the new energy efficiency portfolio could save over 12,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over a five year period, if the San Francisco regional grid GHG factor was applied to the conserved kilowatt hour savings. The portfolio could also create an estimated 34 jobs and add significant economic value to the SFPUC service area. Irvine and the team of EDF fellows presented their findings to the SFPUC management team and program development began shortly thereafter. Armed with robust benchmarking research and the triple bottom line impact tool, the SFPUC should be able to maximize energy efficiency program benefits for the City and County of San Francisco.

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