Living Green/Sustainability

SF State's Residential Life and Dining departments encourage sustainable living throughout university housing.

Energy Conservation & Power Outages

We sometimes experience energy shortages statewide. If the campus experiences a rolling blackout, the university will remain open during business hours and an emergency alert may be sent to your e-mail, text message and registered telephone number.

In the Event of a Power Outage

  • Be prepared.
  • Make every effort to conserve energy at all times.
  • Take advantage of natural light during the day and reduce use of electric lighting.
  • Get a flashlight and have fresh batteries on hand or use light sticks
  • Have an alternative to an electric alarm clock.
  • Have a battery-operated radio with fresh batteries.
  • Turn off your computer during Stage Three Alerts.
  • Frequently save any work you are doing on your computer.
  • Only use the elevator if you must. The elevator will shut down and will stay where it is until the power is restored. The doors to the elevator will NOT automatically open if there is a blackout.
  • When the power goes off, there will be some emergency lighting in the hallways and stairwells from 20 minutes to two hours. Please be careful when using the stairs.
  • When the power goes off, there will be NO street lighting. Go places in groups and take a flashlight.
  • Be prepared to stay abreast of your academics without the use of electronic equipment.
  • Seek out the Residential Life Staff if you need some extra support during the black out.
  • Have games, cards, books on hand to pass the time.
  • Do not drink alcohol, use drugs, or have unprotected sex as a way to ward off boredom. These activities will increase your risk of compromised health and safety.

Information After Hours - Contact the RA on duty for your area. Call 911 for emergencies and University Police non-emergency line for other information at 415-338-7200.

Residence Community Conservation

Live a sustainable lifestyle and think green! In addition, with the high cost of electricity, gas, and water in mind, we are doing all we can to conserve energy. Our energy cost savings are directly related to your room and board costs. 
The following mechanical, and other, controls were installed in our buildings to help all of us meet our conservation responsibilities. If you can suggest other techniques or equipment, please let us know.

  • Toilets have been reduced to a three gallon flush.
  • Restrictors have been installed (in shower nozzles and sink faucets) to reduce the amount of water used without reducing water pressure.
  • Sink and shower water temperatures have been reduced to 120°-130° Fahrenheit.
  • Timers on the heating system are set and monitored to reduce energy use during the day hours when the buildings are quiet.
  • CFL’s (Compact Fluorescent lamps) have been installed a money-saving cogeneration system to supply partial power to the University.

General Conservation

Here are some things you can do to save resources and directly reduce future room rates:

  • Do not let water run continuously while shaving, washing, or brushing your teeth.
  • Close faucets tightly. Report leaky faucets by contacting The Service Desk at or (415) 405-0579 (press options 2 & 1). A leaky faucet can produce a loss of 430 gallons of water per month.
  • Reduce the length of showering to save water and the energy consumed in heating the water.
  • When possible, plan full loads before doing laundry. Use the cold water cycle whenever you can.
  • Regulate the use of window blinds to take full advantage of sunlight and contain heat in your room.

Recycling, Composting and Landfill collection:

Be earth friendly!  Many items can now be recycled or composted:

  • Recycle (blue bin): Paper, cardboard, glass bottles, aluminum/tin cans, and plastic bags & thin film plastics bundled in a single plastic bag.
  • Compost (green bin): Food scraps, soiled paper, and yard trimmings.
  • Landfill (black bin): Items that cannot be recycled and composted, such as ceramics, broken glass, dental floss, feminine hygiene products, potato chip bags, rubber bands, sponges and Styrofoam.

For a complete list of items that can be recycled and composted, and what should be sent to the landfill, please visit:

Battery Recycling:

Disposing of batteries in the landfill bins is hazardous.  All Resident Services desks accepts used batteries of all sizes for safe disposal.  For safety reasons, please tape the contact ends if you deposit the following types of batteries:

  • Lithium
  • Rechargeable
  • Larger than D size, such as lantern batteries.

Unused and Expired Medication

Unused and expired medicine is hazardous to the environment if disposed of improperly.  The City & County of San Francisco has established free unwanted medicine kiosks where you can safely dispose of unwanted medicine.

Disposal collection locations accepts: Medications in any dosage form, except for herbal remedies, vitamins, supplements, cosmetics, other personal care products, compressed cylinders, aerosols, inhalers, medical devices, sharps, illicit drugs and iodine-containing medications.

The nearest disposal kiosk is located at the Student Health Services Center during normal operating hours.

For more information and more disposal locations, please visit:


Please donate any items you no longer need. Many charitable organizations will be happy to take used books, clothing, furniture and electronics.  Donation bins are located around the residence communities.

Being Sustainable when Moving-In and Out

Moving-in and moving-out creates a lot of waste and cardboard.  We encourage all students to help reduce the impact on our landfill and recycling disposal.


  • Use reusable tubs with lids.
  • Collapse and save used cardboard boxes for moving-out.


  • Residential Life organizes an annual sustainable move-out event on the last few days of the academic year.  We collect the following items and donate to local charities:
    • Clothing, furniture items, electronics, and appliances.
    • Non-perishable food.
    • School supplies
    • Household cleaning supplies, personal care products, and laundry detergent (including partially used products).