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UC Davis 2015 Sustainability Report Released

October 14th, 2015 @ 2:09 pm by Camille Kirk

UC Davis releases the 2015 Sustainability Report, documenting the university's progress towards key sustainability performance goals.

UC Davis releases the 2015 Sustainability Report, documenting the university’s progress towards key sustainability performance goals.

We’ve released the UC Davis 2015 annual sustainability report – check out our university’s progress toward meeting some of higher education’s most aggressive sustainability goals. There’s good reason why we are considered one of Sierra Club’s “Cool Schools” – with 17 LEED certified buildings on campus, $15.5 million saved from energy efficiency upgrades and more than 180 courses per year with emphasis on sustainability. These are just a few of the ways that UC Davis is leading sustainability standards that advance best practices in higher education and beyond. Join us in celebrating our achievements and building a more sustainable UC Davis!

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UC Davis Water Usage Snapshot, Fall 2014

October 21st, 2014 @ 1:00 pm by Camille Kirk

The following report is provided by David Phillips (director of utilities) and Camille Kirk (assistant director of sustainability):

icons_map_dropAs of September 30, 2014, UC Davis is not on track to meet the goal set in January to reduce total campus water use by 20%. Metering records show that the campus has used 2% more water year-to-date in 2014 than for the same period in 2013. Despite this poor overall result, the detailed monthly data show excellent progress in several areas where specific actions have been undertaken. The data also suggest where additional, prioritized study and action are necessary to reduce water use. Campus performance is expected to improve as additional measures are implemented. This recent focus on metrics and analyzing metered water use data in response to the drought is a very positive step forward for campus water management.

The April 2014 UC Davis Drought Response Action Plan described the campus water systems. The pie chart below shows the relative proportions of the four categories of water use on the Davis campus, and is helpful in understanding how performance in the different categories of water use affects total use.

The pie chart illustrates the 2013 proportions of Davis campus water uses.

The pie chart illustrates the 2013 proportions of Davis campus water uses.

Irrigation (Utility) Water (reduced consumption)

Changes made in landscape irrigation schedules have been very effective and metered water use has dropped by 21%, which equates to a savings totaling 63 million gallons. The irrigation water supply is mainly groundwater pumped from intermediate aquifers. The 21% drop accounts for the additional 18 million gallons of Solano Project water intentionally sent into the Arboretum Waterway to prevent wildlife and plant collection deaths. Solano Project water is the surface water that UC Davis has access to under an accord permitting beneficial use of water stored in Lake Berryessa. This year’s use of Solano Project water in the Arboretum Waterway is planned to be a one-time action. The campus expects to receive regulatory approval in 2015 to use tertiary-treated wastewater as the dry-weather supply for the Waterway.

Fisheries Water (reduced consumption)

Overall, water used for campus fisheries research has dropped by 10%, with year-to-date reductions totaling 30 million gallons. Changes completed in June 2014 to control the well that provides the majority of the campus aquaculture research water reduced pumping from this facility by 20-25%. The changes included restoring a float to proper operation so that the well pump discharge was reduced when the water was not needed for research.

Domestic Water (increased consumption)

The domestic water supply is currently entirely groundwater pumped from a deep aquifer. Total domestic water use has increased by 4% year-to-date. Total use is measured by summing up all of the well pumping records. Only about half of the domestic water used on campus is metered at the building level. Metered water use has remained about the same as in 2013, despite the addition of several new buildings in 2014. Changes made during the summer in operating large cooling towers has resulted in a net reduction of central plant domestic water use by 12%, or 10 million gallons.

Interestingly, the water attributed to un-metered facilities increased by 12% this year. Leaks and water used for fire hydrant flushing are both un-metered uses. The meter data highlight the importance of campus efforts to find and promptly repair all water leaks. Report leaks, broken fixtures and irrigation spray heads, and other water waste to Facilities Management by calling (530) 752-1655 during typical business hours, filing a work order (the online work order requires a UC Davis login), or emailing om-customers@ad3.ucdavis.edu.

Agriculture Water (increased consumption)

The agriculture water supply is a mix of both pumped groundwater from the shallow/intermediate aquifers and surface water supply from the Solano Project. Water used for field teaching and research increased by 24% in 2014. The 119 million gallon increase in this category more than offset the savings in all other areas. Twenty-four million gallons of the increase is attributed to a large leak near the main reservoir for this system that occurred early 2014. Given the size and age of the leaking pipe, the repair was very complex and several weeks were needed to complete the work. Water use trends varied across the campus’ agricultural lands, with some parcels using less water and some using more. Additional outreach with stakeholders is necessary to identify opportunities for future reductions.

In addition, it preliminarily appears that the campus took considerably more water from Solano Project than can be accounted for in the metered use on campus. These results may be due to errors in metering, but they also suggest that the 20-mile main pipeline may be leaking. Efforts are underway to research this possibility.

If you have questions about this interim update on water conservation, you can email savewater@ucdavis.edu. And, please visit Take Action: Save Water to read more about ways you can help reduce campus water use.

 

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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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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:

 

UCDFMLogo

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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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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Bioresources Symposium: Turning Organic Wastes into Renewable Energy

August 20th, 2012 @ 7:46 am by Camille Kirk

Photograph of digester tanks and piping

Right now, figuring out how to get renewable energy from organic materials is hot, hot, hot!

At UC Davis, we have a pilot biodigester, using technology developed by Professor Ruihong Zhang, which has resulted in a spin-off company, Clean World Partners (CWP). CWP has developed a scalable system for biodigesters, and UC Davis is working with CWP on a biodigester which would allow us to transform some of our “waste” into energy.

We are not the only ones interested in this technology: To that end, UC Davis Extension is presenting the 7th Annual California Bioresources Alliance Symposium on September 11-12, 2012, 8:30am-5:00pm, at the California EPA Building on I Street in Sacramento.

This conference will focus on how to evaluate which waste conversion systems are most effective, and where organic waste conversion can be best integrated for production of biogas from biosolids, food processing residuals, and other wastes.

Session topics include:

  • Bioresources policy and institutional issues
  • Economics of digesters
  • Evaluating the alternatives for the future
  • Evaluating alternatives for today
  • Urban residuals to power and fuel
  • Forestry products and fire ravaged lands reclamation

On the second afternoon, attendees will tour facilities operated by Clean World Partners, and see biodigesters convert organic waste to renewable energy, soil amendments, and other useful byproducts.

Registration is open through UC Davis Extension, and is $175, which includes morning refreshments, lunch on Tuesday, September 11 and the field trip on Wednesday, September 12. Student enrollment is $35 (valid student ID is required at check-in).

 

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Super Cool!

August 14th, 2012 @ 4:18 pm by Camille Kirk

#1 Cool School UC DavisToday, Sierra magazine released their 2012 Cool Schools results, and UC Davis ranked #1! So, we are the Coolest School. Officially.

Wow! That’s fun! This is a nice honor in our field.

We are really proud of our campus for achieving this ranking. Thank you to everyone—students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends—who’ve made decisions and taken actions that helped our campus to get to this point.

This year, the sixth time Sierra has run this survey, they changed their methodology to use the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System. STARS asks many questions about dozens of sustainability metrics; it’s an extensive survey and probably the most comprehensive one we’ve ever completed. Participating in Cool Schools this year has given us a chance to perform one of the most complete assessments of our work in sustainability to date.

Winning the #1 ranking is great—it really is—but it is even better to be able to look at the progress we’ve made, identify areas for further work, and plan for next steps.

Let’s celebrate this year and keep moving forward. Here’s to yet more innovation and implementation!

Read more about our award and watch a fun “video postcard” from Sierra‘s student correspondent about why UC Davis is the Coolest School in 2012.

 

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2012 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, by the numbers!

August 10th, 2012 @ 12:46 pm by Camille Kirk

Dr. Mitchell Thomashow gives the keynote address at the 2012 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, Monday, June 18

In homage to Harper’s Index, here are some fun facts about the 2012 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, hosted at UC Davis, June 18-22:

Whew!

UC Davis is so honored to have had the chance to share our campus and host our colleagues for the 2012 conference. Conference attendees enjoyed five jam-packed days of sharing sustainability best practices, going on field trips, eating delicious meals, hearing an inspirational keynote, and meeting new people. Our weather cooperated nicely, and we celebrated colleagues who accomplished award-winning projects during a reception and dinner at the beautiful Shields Oak Grove in the Arboretum.

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make this conference a blazing success!

Special thanks go to UC Davis Custodial Services and Building Maintenance Services for all of their incredible help that far exceeded our expectations, Arboretum and Grounds for their gracious work with us, Dining and Catering Services for the beautiful, healthy and delicious food that made everyone so happy, and Conference and Event Services for their phenomenal work above and beyond the ordinary conference planning.

-UC Davis Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability

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Excited for the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference!

June 18th, 2012 @ 4:52 pm by Camille Kirk

We are thrilled to welcome nearly a thousand of our higher education colleagues who are advancing sustainability on their campuses. Higher education is providing leadership in showing how we the world can integrate more sustainable practices into our own daily lives.

The California Higher Education Sustainability Conference is an important communication channel to keep all of us in the forefront, and we are so proud to be hosting it this year.

As hosts, we are excited to show off all the sustainability work that we’ve been doing at UC Davis. Here are sneak peeks at a campus sustainability self-guided tour map and Global Leadership in Sustainability brochure that we’ve made for the event.

See you at the conference!

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California Higher Education Sustainability Conference Call for Proposals

December 9th, 2011 @ 2:40 pm by Camille Kirk

Call for Proposals
California Higher Education Sustainability Conference
Hosted by UC Davis

June 18th-22nd, 2012
Submissions Due: January 20th, 2012
http://cahigheredusustainability.org/program/callforproposals/

The California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC) highlights cutting-edge case studies as well as research, curriculum development, and community partnerships. This unique event is jointly organized by independent/private colleges, California Community Colleges, California State Universities, and the University of California creating the opportunity for dialogue across institutions.

The CHESC seeks speakers who have crossed silos within their institutions to create sustainable change, infuse concepts of sustainability into curriculum, and/or to pursue research questions related to sustainability (especially where the research has or could be applied to campus sustainability). We are especially excited about proposals where a connection has been made across academic and operational departments. In the words of Fritjof Capra:

“The more we study the major problems of our time, the more we come to realize that they cannot be viewed in isolation. They are systemic problems, which means that they are interconnected and interdependent.”

Campus staff, faculty, students, and administrators are encouraged to submit proposals on case studies, pilot programs, and replicable best practices. We are equally interested in projects where a key lesson was learned and projects that were successful in the traditional sense.

This year potential speakers will be asked to submit proposals that highlight or create a link between at least two of our core topic areas (click the titles below for more information on each):

a. Climate Action Planning
b. Curriculum
c. Energy
d. Food Systems
e. Green Building
f. Healthcare
g. Institutionalizing Sustainability
h. Local (Regional Case Studies)
i. Procurement and Business Services
j. Research
l. Social Equity
m. Student Affairs and Auxiliaries
n. Transportation
o. Waste Reduction and Recycling
p. Water and Landscape

During this call for proposals process, we will also be accepting proposals for:

Poster Show
Throughout the conference, we will highlight posters that describe research, creative activities, and best practices related to sustainability. This is an opportunity for students, faculty, campus staff, and administrators to present and communicate their work from the past academic year to a diverse audience.

Student Convergence
The convergence is a post-conference, half-day workshop on Thursday, June 21st, 2012. It will highlight new student campaigns, upcoming projects, and skill sharing workshops. Students will also have a chance to network with other student leaders from California Community Colleges, California State University, University of California, and Private campuses throughout the state collectively as well as with students from their own systems. The convergence is free, and students can attend it without attending the main conference.

For more information, please visit our Call for Proposals website.

Please share this announcement with your colleagues and contact Katie Maynard, Event Manager, if you have any questions: 805-448-5111; kmaynard@geog.ucsb.edu.

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