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Taking the Cool Campus Challenge up a notch; and prizes!

November 4th, 2015 @ 12:22 pm by Camille Kirk

Cool Campus Challenge StampIt’s week 5 of the 10-week Cool Campus Challenge, a competition for staff, faculty and students to reduce our carbon footprint and create a #UCool culture, and UC Davis has slipped to third place (!) behind UCLA and UC Irvine. Looking at the data, UC Davis has almost the lowest points earned per person (10th, just in front of UC Irvine and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab). And UC Irvine and UCLA both have many more people signed up. Help get us back in the lead!

Log in and keep earning points – verify your pledges with a short explanation (“story”) of what you do, add actions, nominate eco-heroes, attend sustainability events, invite your colleagues to participate, and add photos of your pledges in action. You say you’ve taken all the pledges you can and you have nothing left to do in the Cool Campus Challenge ? We say, hold up, we have some new UC Davis-specific pledges for you this week. Try these:

  • Action: Check out the Campus Energy Education Dashboard (CEED) and write up what you’ve learned about the campus’s energy usage.

Example pledge “story” language: Buildings are the biggest energy consumers on campus and also present the biggest opportunity we have to save energy and support the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative. I saw how different types of buildings use energy on the Campus Energy Education Dashboard! See for yourself at ceed.ucdavis.edu!

Example pledge “story” language: I invited a friend to join me to go see sustainability spots at UC Davis; we used the Explore Sustainability map, which we found at tinyurl.com/ExploreSustainability (PDF). We were amazed at all of the different ways our campus is working on meeting big sustainability goals.

  •  Action: Learn about sustainability as a goal of the Long Range Development Plan for the future of our campus.

 Example pledge “story” language: The campus is beginning to plan our next ten years, with a campus Long Range Development Plan, and I learned how sustainability is one of three goals for our future at campustomorrow.ucdavis.edu.

  •  Action: Attend an environment/sustainability-related event; find one in the campus event calendar by selecting the Environment and Sustainability category.

Example pledge “story” language: I attended a department talk on “Life-Cycle Perspectives to Help Us Build, Move and Eat Within Our Environmental Means” and learned about life-cycle modeling to estimate greenhouse gas emissions. I found this event at http://ucdavis.edu/calendar/ and am going to look for more sustainability talks to attend!

We’ll post some more ideas next week. Look for others before then and add your ideas and actions below in the comments.

Camille Kirk, from the Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability office, awards solar charger prize to Cool Campus Challenge winner Jessica Galvan. Next prize drawing on Monday, November 9.

Camille Kirk, from the Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability office, awards solar charger prize to Cool Campus Challenge winner Jessica Galvan. Next prize drawing on Monday, November 9.

On Monday, Nov. 9, we’ll announce the next two prize-winners from a random selection of UC Davis participants who have at least 5,000 points. Our first two winners (October 26) of the biweekly prize drawing were Jessica Galvan, with the Facilities Management Energy Conservation Office and Pheng Vongkhamchang, with the Library. We’ll give out prizes every other week until the competition ends, and we’ll recognize our campus teams.

On December 11, the campus with the most points for reducing carbon will hold the title of the Coolest UC. Let’s make UC Davis the Coolest UC! Join us at coolcampuschallenge.org.

 

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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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Carbon Neutrality Initiative Engagement Fellowships

February 13th, 2015 @ 1:29 pm by Camille Kirk

Please share the two following award opportunities for students (undergraduate and graduate) widely and as quickly as possible. Deadlines are very short: All applications are due next Friday, February 20, by 1:00pm, to sustainability@ucdavis.edu. Specific requirements for each type of fellowship are given in the linked files:

Carbon Neutrality Student Fellowship Program Application (PDF)

Carbon Neutrality Graduate Student Teaching Application (MS Word .docx file)

The UC Office of the President has made some money available for non-need based student awards to support the Carbon Neutrality Initiative, which aims to make UC the first major research university to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions from its activities, buildings and UC-controlled vehicle fleets by 2025. In specific, the monies are to be used to support student engagement and communication efforts for the Carbon Neutrality Initiative.

Learn more about the Carbon Neutrality Initiative, and the President’s Global Climate Leadership Council which advises on the achievement of the goal.

 

 

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Data and Sustainability

February 6th, 2015 @ 5:12 pm by Camille Kirk

This guest post comes from David Trombly, Data Management Engineer with the UC Davis Division of Utilities.

Building better campus data systems empowers users, operators, engineers, and sustainability professionals to do what they do best – save! Nearly all efforts to make the campus more sustainable rely on a foundation of accurate information about campus energy, water, waste, and chemical use. Developing more granular data streams opens the door to identify behaviors and processes that can be improved with reinforcing feedback loops. Managing these large data sets is a challenge. If we are to have a sustainable campus, we also need sustainable business processes for our data. Data must be properly collected, managed over time, run through quality checks, and periodically audited to keep it accurate and relevant.

In Utilities, we have been focusing on building more sustainable data management systems. Our metering and controls team has installed many new meters that measure campus buildings, wells, wastewater flow and treatment, and energy production and distribution. We are also working with Facilities Management to implement meter commissioning and calibration programs. Most of the real time meter data is now being automatically sent to a recently upgraded computer system which will allow operators, managers, researchers, students, and sustainability professionals to access the data from workstations and mobile devices as well as dashboards like the water dashboard and the Campus Energy Education Dashboard.

We are also building and automating database systems that track “meta data” – data around campus assets that provides context for real time data – such as process flow diagrams to help describe what exactly each meter is measuring. Much of this data will be combined with the real time data into one system and also displayed visually in collaboration with our GIS team, as seen here, where campus exterior lights are visualized for a section of main campus.

Here, campus exterior lights are visualized for a section of main campus.

Here, campus exterior lights are visualized for a section of main campus.

This data will ultimately be combined into efficiency metrics and analytics which will more quickly reveal inefficiencies and trigger notifications of problems.

There are many cool things that can be done with big data for the small city that we call UC Davis. We are currently working on automating the recognition of building occupant behavior at South Entry Parking Structure. This relies on the fact that each device at a building has a unique electricity use signature. In the example below, the tall thin spikes are the elevator and the tall spikes following by slow ramp downs are car chargers. Once the algorithm is completed, we hope that it will help save energy, track occupant behavior, and automate building maintenance work orders based on changes to the signal.

South Entry Parking Structure, electrical power demand graph

South Entry Parking Structure, electrical power demand graph

 

 

 

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Energy Challenge Pilot of the Campus Energy Feedback System

April 21st, 2014 @ 7:32 am by Camille Kirk

This guest post comes from Kiernan Salmon, Energy Analyst with the UC Davis Energy Conservation Office:

UC Davis Staff and Students! Are you aware of how much energy you use at work each day? What about how much it takes to keep UC Davis campus buildings running? The Energy Conservation Office (ECO) wants to provide you with this information!

The Student Staff from the ECO are in the process of creating a web-based system, called the Campus Energy Feedback System or CFES. This system will allow you to see how energy intensive your everyday activities are, learn what individual practices you can change to use less, compare current use with historical use and provide feedback to the ECO to make your work environment more sustainable.

A CEFS web page was piloted in the Tercero Residence Halls as part of the 2014 Go Zero Waste Dorm Energy Challenge. Challenge participants could log on to the CEFS web page to view their energy use, earn conservation badges, and track their building’s progress. This dorm energy web page is still viewable at http://eco.ucdavis.edu.

Screenshot of the Campus Energy Feedback System during the dorm energy challenge in February 2014.

Screenshot of the Campus Energy Feedback System during the dorm energy challenge in February 2014.

 

The Energy Conservation Office is expanding the CEFS web page to other buildings on campus. If you want to learn about your energy consumption, stay tuned for news on the Campus Energy Dashboard.

Any questions or comments? Send them to ucdaviseco@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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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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Endless Opportunities in the Environmental Field

August 13th, 2012 @ 9:18 am by Camille Kirk

Guest blogger Alicia Halpern, a UC Davis sophomore Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning major, shares an essay below that she wrote for the Enviance March Madness contest about green campuses:

Students work in D-Lab with Professor Kurt Kornbluth

What sets the environmental program at UC Davis apart from other schools is the breadth of opportunities available to undergraduate students. There are an incredible number of environmental majors to choose from. You can major in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning, Environmental Science and Management, Environmental Toxicology, Ecological Management and Restoration, Wildlife Conservation, Sustainable Agriculture and many more. Many fields are environmentally related. At Davis, whether you are interested in climate change, water, energy, wildlife conservation, agriculture, transportation, or a different environmental issue, there is a major that will allow you to study your passion in depth.

Even more exciting are the opportunities to learn from and work with faculty who are doing cutting-edge research on the environmental problems facing society. As an undergrad at UC Davis you have the chance to do research with faculty who are at the forefront of fields such as sustainable agriculture, energy efficiency, climate change, and more. More than half of all undergraduates at UC Davis participate in research while they are here. By getting involved in research you are able to apply what you learn in the classroom to help find real solutions to society’s greatest environmental challenges.

Another reason why Davis is a great place for students who are passionate about environmental issues is that sustainability is truly integrated into daily life. It is the norm for students to get to school and around town by walking, biking or taking the bus. There is a student farm and the campus takes things such as energy and water efficiency very seriously. All of this combines to mean that you can focus on whatever aspect of the environment you are most passionate about, both in the classroom and out. The opportunities within the environmental field are endless when you go to UC Davis.

– Alicia Halpern, student at University of California, Davis

Don’t miss the companion video that fellow student Phillip Tran made and posted on YouTube. The video shows that rain or shine, we bike! And, take the bus, compost, recycle…

 

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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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