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UC Davis Releases Drought Response Action Plan

April 17th, 2014 @ 1:38 pm by Camille Kirk

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Earlier this year, Governor Brown declared a drought state of emergency and called on Californians to reduce their water use by 20 percent. UC Davis is taking this call to action seriously. Here is what the campus is doing and how you can take action, too.

First, you may be interested to learn that while UC Davis enrollment has nearly tripled since 1969, our campus is using the same amount of water as it did in the 1970s. That is because we have worked hard, often in response to previous droughts, to reduce water consumption throughout our operations.

Current campus water-saving measures

Our current Drought Response Action Plan outlines additional actions to strive for a further 20 percent reduction in water use. These measures include:

  • Reducing irrigation schedules and fine-tuning watering systems.
  • Continuing the replacement of decorative turf grass with drought-resistant ground covers.
  • Expanding conservation practices in dining services.
  • Recycling the water used in the Central Heating and Cooling Plant more often.

    Pumps and pipes that convey potable water to campus buildings. Meters connected to these pumps help reveal how much water is being used across the campus at any given time. Photo credit: David Phillips, UC Davis.

    Pumps and pipes that convey potable water to campus buildings. Meters connected to these pumps help reveal how much water is being used across the campus at any given time. Photo credit: David Phillips, UC Davis.

  • Washing fleet vehicles less frequently.
  • Investigating opportunities to achieve water savings in agricultural and research water use.
  • Communicating water conservation practices to campus residents and summer conference guests.

To share UC Davis work in water research and policy advising, the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences is organizing a Drought Science, Policy and Management Summit to be held April 25th in Sacramento.

Your role in saving water

All members of the campus community can contribute to water savings in several ways:

  • Lab and office managers should consult the sustainability website for a list of water-wise lab practices.
  • In restrooms, break rooms and labs, turn off water when you are not directly using it.
  • Report water leaks, broken fixtures and irrigation spray heads, and other water waste to Facilities Management by phone (530-752-1655), online (om-as.ucdavis.edu/WebWO) or by email, facilities@ucdavis.edu.

The California Department of Water Resources hosts an excellent website, Save Our Water, with more resources for water savings, and our own UC Davis Arboretum offers numerous resources for water-wise home landscaping. These and many other drought-related resources can be found at drought.ucdavis.edu, where you can also learn more about UC Davis research, outreach and policy work.

Thank you for your stewardship efforts to save water as California and UC Davis face this drought together. If you have any questions or suggestions, please send them to savewater@ucdavis.edu.

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Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery Building Wins Best Practice Award!

April 9th, 2014 @ 4:00 pm by Camille Kirk

We are very excited to share the following guest post, which is contributed by Gary Dahl, Director of Project Management-Capital Projects, UC Davis Design and Construction Management:

The award-winning Jess Jackson Sustainable Winery Building, looking east. Photo credit: UC Davis.

The award-winning Jess Jackson Sustainable Winery Building, looking east.

UC Vice President Patrick Lenz announced last week that the UC Davis Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery Building has won Best Overall Sustainable Design in UC’s tenth annual Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Design Awards program.

Employing thermal mass and a high performance cladding system, the building does not have a traditional heating and air conditioning system and is completely heated and cooled by passive strategies including night time ventilation and an underground thermal rock bed. Lighting and plug load requirements are met by photovoltaic panels on the roof and the building is pursuing net-zero energy certification from the Living Building Challenge. The building also captures and stores rain water from the roof. The Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery building will serve as a test bed facility for faculty currently collaborating with industry partners to develop innovative new systems to demonstrate net-zero water and net-zero energy in the commercial production of wine. You can read more project details in the building brochure (PDF file).

Congratulations to Project Manager & Assistant Director Julie Nola and all the DCM folks in project coordination, contracts, engineering, commissioning and inspection who contributed to this achievement!

- Gary Dahl

All of us at the Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability office join Gary in congratulating Julie Nola and our other colleagues at Design and Construction Management who built this project!

 

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Big Water Savings in Chemistry

April 1st, 2014 @ 2:12 pm by Camille Kirk

icons_map_dropSustainable 2nd Century and the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability will blog about water use, water conservation and the drought throughout 2014, with a special emphasis on these topics during spring quarter.

For our first water-focused post, we’re going to share something that the Chemistry Department at UC Davis has done to conserve water.

Research instrumentation often generates a lot of heat, thus needing water cooling. The UC Davis Chemistry Department is on the road to converting all of its water cooling from single-pass, domestic water use, to cooling by the campus chilled water loop. In 2010, machine shop engineer Michael Sisto realized that a chilled water pipe was in close proximity to two x-ray diffractometers, each using about 8-10 liters per minute, twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week. For under $1,000 in expense to the department, he was able to tie into the chilled water loop, saving close to two million gallons per year of drinking water.

Future cooling water upgrades will be more expensive and will require a substantial commitment from the department, dean and provost. Chemistry plans to spend close to $100,000 in converting a stand-alone cooling loop for the building, and then connecting other instruments that are still on single pass cooling. A double benefit from this “process cooling” will be a helium recovery system that will recycle 80-90% of the super-cooling gas needed for cryochemistry. The 2013 helium bill in Chemistry was more than $60,000. Similar recycling systems are already working for the benefit of principal investigators and the campus in the Physics Department.

Other departments with process cooling loads are encouraged to follow Chemistry’s example. Bravo, UC Davis Chemistry!

If you have a story of water conservation that you would like to tell, or a leak or water-saving idea you would like to report, write to savewater@ucdavis.edu.

 

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Entering the 2015 Solar Decathlon!

December 3rd, 2013 @ 11:02 am by Camille Kirk

This guest post comes from William Abernathy, a staff writer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. UC Davis is applying to enter the Solar Decathlon, a prestigious competition. We hope you will help us successfully enter! Read more about the competition application and how to get involved:

The UC Davis community has set in motion an effort to enter the 2015 Solar Decathlon, the US Department of Energy’s ZNE_One_Solar_Decintercollegiate challenge to design and build a zero-net-energy home. We’ve had our first meeting and are madly scrambling to get our application together in time. Though time is short and the odds are long, we have an amazing entry: a marketable zero-net-energy residence for migrant laborers. We hope that the Davis entry will form the basis for more sustainable housing to contribute to the Domes site, and that our experiments with green living will contribute to new opportunities, both for interdisciplinary study and for product commercialization.

To get there, we need people with an interest and expertise in design, engineering, market analysis, agricultural economics, social justice and migrant issues, and project management. A good attitude and a willingness to do good work will be a big help as well.

To join us, students should fill out the student participation form (a Google form), which tells us who you are, what you can do, and how we can reach you. Faculty or staff should fill out the faculty/staff participation form (also a Google form).

Thanks very much to all who wish to contribute!

- William Abernathy (wabernat@ucdavis.edu)

 

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UC Davis Farmers Market returned for fall

October 4th, 2013 @ 8:55 am by Camille Kirk

The following is a guest post from Jordan Galerkin, UC Davis Farmers Market Student Marketing Assistant, and junior year Community and Regional Development major:

 

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The UC Davis Farmers Market returned for fall on Wednesday, October 2nd. The market will run Wednesdays from 11:00am-1:30pm on the Silo Union Patio during the academic fall quarter. The market continues to provide fresh and healthy food options to a busy campus community.

Of course, there will be plenty of fresh produce, including a variety of fruits and vegetables, nuts, olive oil, honey, and more! This fall’s Farmers Market vendors include Cabral Family Orchards, Fruit Factory, Mt. Moriah Farms, Shoup Farms, Williamson Farms, UC Davis Student Farm, Toledo Farms, and Bullfrog Farms.

There will also be food vendors at the market with various lunch offerings. The ASUCD Coffee House will have a booth offering ‘CoHomemade’ pastries and coffee for just $1 each. Shah’s Halal Food Truck offers gyros and rice dishes, and Star Ginger Food Truck offers banh mi sandwiches and noodles. In addition, the Silo Union has several restaurant offerings.

Since 2007, the market has been a symbol of UC Davis’ commitment to sustainability and healthy lifestyles. It’s a zero-waste event, so don’t forget your reusable bag! Students can also become zero-waste volunteers at the market. Sponsors of the market include UC Dining Services, UC Davis Campus Recreations and Unions, the Davis Farmers Market Association, the Davis Food Co-op, UC Davis Student Health and Counseling Services, ASUCD Coffee House, UC Davis Stores, UC Davis Fire Department, and UC Davis Student Housing.

The UC Davis Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability – Waste Reduction team, Campus Center for the Environment, Environmental Policy and Planning Commission (EPPC), Health Education and Promotion, KDVS, Occupational Health Services, UC Davis Staff Assembly and UC Davis Student Nutrition Association are friends and supporters of the market.

To join the UC Davis Farmers Market email list for weekly reminders, specials, and updates about the market, sign up at http://eepurl.com/p0jFH.

Hope to see you at the Market next Wednesday!

 

 

 

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Cool Davis Festival: Getting Cooler all the Time!

October 1st, 2013 @ 10:14 am by Camille Kirk

The following is a guest post from Lynne Nittler, a member of the City of Davis citizen climate action team, Cool Davis.

A solar photovoltaic vendor talks to an attendee at the 2012 Cool Davis Festival.

A solar photovoltaic vendor talks to an attendee at the 2012 Cool Davis Festival.

 

The 4th Annual Cool Davis Festival is Saturday, October 12th from 8:00-1:00 alongside the Farmers Market in Central Park. Enjoy entertainment, family activities, interactive exhibits, climate action opportunities and above all, information about reducing your carbon footprint at the food demonstrations, bike circus, EV-car show, and the Cool Solutions tent. Bike, or ride Unitrans for free all day. To volunteer, go to http://www.cooldavis.org/take-action/volunteer/ For details, go to http://www.cooldavis.org/2013/09/14/cool-davis-festival-getting-cooler-all-the-time/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Bike Safety Video Released (no more ’80s hairdos…)

September 27th, 2013 @ 12:13 pm by Camille Kirk

The following is a guest post from Leslie Mancebo, the goClub coordinator at UC Davis Transportation and Parking Services:

Two bicyclists on path along campus and Russell Boulevard in Davis, California. Note the bicyclist wearing a helmet -- smart, safe thinking!

Two bicyclists on path along campus and Russell Boulevard in Davis, California. Note the bicyclist wearing a helmet — smart thinking for safer riding!

Over the years UC Davis has received honors on a national scale for its bike friendliness. These accolades have been well-deserved, especially when you consider that each fall thousands of new students arrive at UC Davis, many of whom haven’t ridden a bicycle since childhood, if ever. There is no time that this transition is more apparent than during the first few weeks of Fall Quarter.  Those who have been on campus for a number of years are familiar with the sight of new students trying to navigate bike paths and roundabouts for the first time which sometimes leads more seasoned riders to avoid busier bike paths during the first few weeks of Fall Quarter.

In 2010, the results of the annual Campus Travel Survey showed that the presence of some cyclists who, knowingly or unknowingly, do not obey traffic laws resulted in others choosing to not ride a bicycle on campus. As a result, UC Davis Transportation and Parking Services and the UC Police Department collaborated to create the Bicycle Education and Enforcement Program (BEEP).

As we find ourselves at the beginning of another school year, the bike paths will be filling up with students, staff and faculty new and old and we are reminded that bicycle safety is a crucial component in maintaining the bike friendly lifestyle at UC Davis. As part of our ongoing bicycle safety efforts we are pleased to announce the release of a new bicycle safety video that will not only replace the old video as part of the BEEP bike safety course, but is also available for anyone to watch as a refresher course highlighting the importance of bike safety at UC Davis. The 19-minute video is available online at https://vimeo.com/75059452 and the complete bike safety course is available at http://bikesafety.ucdavis.edu.

Post-script: We just heard from Leslie that the video has broken 3,000 views since it was posted a week ago!

 

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Turning waste to energy: California Bioresources Alliance Symposium

September 17th, 2013 @ 8:32 am by Camille Kirk

Register Today for the California Bioresources Alliance Symposium

 

UC Davis Extension is proud to present the eighth annual California Bioresources Alliance Symposium: A Call to Action, which takes place Sept. 18-19 at the Cal/EPA Building in Sacramento. The symposium will focus on recent California legislation addressing bioresources and the Bioenergy Action Plan, ways to address biogas challenges faced by dairies, wastewater plants, and forestry products residuals handlers, facility siting issues, and use of bioresources for mine reclamation.

Conference attendees will also tour the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District’s Biosolids Recycling Facility. Each year, the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant processes 26,000 dry tons of biosolids, 30 percent of which is beneficially recycled at the BRF. The site visit will highlight how the BRF fits into California’s regulatory history, and will also feature a tour of the fats, oils and grease subsystem.

  • Sept. 18-19, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • California EPA, 1001 I St., Sacramento, CA
  • $175 fee includes morning refreshments, lunch on the first day, evening networking reception and field trip
  • Discounted fee of $100 available for public sector employees, $35 for full-time students with valid ID

Who should attend?

Intended for all those involved with organic residuals, the symposium brings together industry professionals, municipalities, regulators, legislators, state and federal agencies, researchers, financers and other stakeholders.

2013 Planning Committee Members

U.S. EPA Region 9, California Air Resources Board, State Water Resources Control Board, CalRecycle, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, California Energy Commission, UC Davis Extension, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, California Association of Sanitation Agencies, Western United Dairymen, Dolphin Group and Teru Talk

2013 Sponsors

BioCycle, Harvest Power, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Material Convert, Synagro, InSinkErator

 

Check the UC Davis Extension website for updates!

 

 

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Have fun; divert waste; eat well; and get a free tee-shirt!

September 9th, 2013 @ 2:22 pm by Camille Kirk

The following post comes from Jenni Porter, the Sustainability Coordinator for UC Davis Student Housing:

Part of Fall 2012 Move-in recycling team readies to collect foam and cardboard.

Part of Fall 2012 Move-in recycling team readies to collect foam and cardboard.

Housing is looking for student volunteers to help with the cardboard & polystyrene recycling for opening weekend. Duties will include assisting new residents in recycling, breaking down boxes, collecting polystyrene (packing foam), educating new residents on waste diversion, making sure waste gets into the proper bins, being silly and building cardboard forts, art pieces, etc. and showing the incoming freshmen that UC Davis is serious about sustainability – in a fun way, of course! :)

We need help on Saturday & Sunday (9/21 & 6/22) any time between the hours of 8am-5pm.  All volunteers working a full day get a cool “Recycling Crew” T-shirt and a free lunch at the DC!

If you are interested, please email me at jeporter@ucdavis.edu with your contact info, days/hours you are available, and a T-shirt size.

Thank you!
Jenni Porter, LEED® AP
Sustainability Coordinator | UC Davis Student Housing
housing.ucdavis.edu/sustainability | 530.752.2759

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An Insider’s Look at Becoming the First College or University Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business…

May 13th, 2013 @ 8:24 am by Camille Kirk

We thought it would be interesting to invite David Takemoto-Weerts, the UC Davis Bicycle Program Coordinator, to share his perspective on applying for and winning Platinum-level recognition of the campus as a Bicycle Friendly Business. Here are his words about the achievement:

BFB platinum_newWhen UC Davis was awarded the highest (“Platinum”) level award by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) as a Bicycle Friendly Business on Earth Day, April 22, I was a bit surprised, but also very pleased. As one of only eight businesses nationwide to receive Platinum recognition (out of 545 awards presented since 2008), and the first college or university so honored, we are understandably proud.

I had not given much thought to applying for this award until mid-December when LAB’s Executive Director, Andy Clarke, on a visit to UC Davis, suggested that we should and that doing so might improve our chances of moving up from Gold to Platinum the next time we apply for the award. With only four weeks (including two weeks of winter break!) to complete and submit the lengthy application, I was grateful that there was at least some overlap between the questions on the new form and our previous Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) application form. [UC Davis was awarded Gold recognition as a BFU in 2011.]

Perhaps most staff, faculty and students don’t think of the University as a “business”, but the fact is that we have thousands of employees and we provide a wide range of services, usually for a fee, to a broad constituency. Filling out the BFB application forces one to think about what we do in many different ways.

I was asked what the most challenging question was to answer. It was probably this one: “What has been the business’s most significant investment for bicycling?”

I could think of many possible responses, but I went with this:

In the 1960s, Chancellor Emil Mrak made two major policy decisions that were instrumental in making UC Davis so welcoming to bicyclists: 1) all campus buildings and other destinations would have sufficient bike parking for all cyclists and the parking areas would be located as near to major building entrances as possible. 2) in 1967, the campus “core area”, formerly accessible by motor vehicles with no restrictions, was closed to all motor vehicles except for emergency, service and delivery vehicles. By doing so, the core area streets essentially became wide, safe and convenient bike paths overnight. The “bicycle only” campus core area has expanded over the years and, in fact, will expand significantly in 2013 when unauthorized motor vehicles are restricted from even more roadways on the west and southeast sides of campus.

The other challenging part of the application was trying to remember and include all of the programs, policies, procedures and infrastructure that contribute to the overall “bike friendliness” of UC Davis. It’s not like any one department has control or authority over the creation, implementation or management of all these elements, and I’d guess we might have missed a couple.

Even though we earned the top award, we know there is always room for improvement. We should soon be getting feedback from the League that will describe areas in which they feel we could improve. We received similar follow-up when we received the Gold BFU recognition in March 2011. As a result, we instituted a number of improvements that we believe will elevate us to Platinum status when we reapply for the BFU award in July.

To everyone who helped with both applications, especially all those who responded to the League’s survey questionnaire which is an integral part of the review process, TAPS would like to extend a huge “Thank You”! It’s the many campus individuals and departments who do so much to encourage bicycling here at UC Davis that really put us in the top echelon of “bicycle friendship” in the U.S.

So, now that you know a little of the behind-the-scenes story, go out and celebrate May is Bike Month by riding around our Platinum-level bike friendly infrastructure. Bike safe and have fun!

 

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