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Celebrating BIG solar!

November 20th, 2015 @ 6:43 pm by Camille Kirk

What a beautiful, sunny day to celebrate and dedicate our South Campus Large Solar Power Plant! The 16.3 MW solar array is producing renewable energy and helping reduce our carbon footprint, as a result of a great partnership with SunPower.

California Energy Commissioner Andrew McAllister, SunPower Commercial Director Robert Redlinger, Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, VC-CFO Dave Lawlor, and Carbon Neutrality Student Fellow Naftali Moed each offered remarks that pointed out UC Davis’s leadership in sustainability and motivated the audience to work even harder to achieve carbon neutrality across the UC. It was especially wonderful to hear the student voice from Naftali; he offered us a powerful reminder that we are all working towards a desired future.

SunPower staff also showed off the cool robotic panel washer that was originally developed here in Davis. The washer uses much less water than conventional ways of cleaning panels, and keeping the panels clean increases production of the “green” electricity we want.

 

Thank you again to everyone who helped make this project a reality and this celebration so meaningful!

UC Davis Carbon Neutrality Student Fellow Naftali Moed finishes his remarks as Chancellor Katehi and VC-CFO Lawlor applaud.

Carbon Neutrality Student Fellow Naftali Moed finishes his remarks as Chancellor Katehi and VC-CFO Lawlor applaud.

SunPower technician explains how the robotic washer works to attendees.

SunPower technician explains how the robotic washer works to attendees.

 

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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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The Big Save: Inside the UC Davis Energy and Water Challenge

March 2nd, 2015 @ 3:25 pm by Camille Kirk

The last week of the Energy & Water Challenge is upon us. How low can the dorms go? The following guest post from Kiernan Salmon, Energy Analyst with the UC Davis Energy Conservation Office, shares a bit about this race to save the most:

Choose Not To Use! Energy & Water Challenge - 2015.

Choose Not To Use! Energy & Water Challenge – 2015.

This year, the Facilities Management Energy Conservation Office (ECO) has partnered with Student Housing to put on the Energy & Water Challenge! The challenge is a chance for residence hall students to see who can save the most energy and water over a three-week period. From February 16 to March 8, seven residence hall teams will be ranked on a leaderboard based on how much energy and water they are saving.

The seven teams will be formed from clusters of residence hall buildings, divided based on their electricity, steam and domestic water metering. ECO compares the current energy (made up of electricity and steam) and domestic water usage to the average usage between February 2 and February 15 (the baseline). The teams’ savings will be ranked against each other’s savings to determine who saves the most.

Last year, the Tercero Resident Hall Energy Challenge pilot project led to 10-15% energy savings. This year, we have added domestic water and extended the challenge to every residence hall on campus. With this expansion, we hope to increase the savings and impart to students the importance of saving energy and water. Everyone can follow the challenge on the interactive leaderboard.

2015_Challenge_Screenshot

The Energy & Water Challenge Leaderboard – follow along to see which dorm will prevail!

 

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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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UC Davis Rises to the Challenge Once Again

October 30th, 2014 @ 1:56 pm by Carol Shu

This post is written by Jean Kim, Waste Reduction and Recycling Staff Assistant.

Photo of Aggie Stadium

Aggie Stadium aims to be a zero waste stadium.
Photo credit: Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability

GameDay Challenge is an annual competition between colleges and universities to reduce or eliminate waste produced at football games. Schools track and report the amount of waste that is produced and how much is diverted from the landfill. Participants are then ranked to show which schools were the most successful.

UC Davis will rise up to the GameDay Challenge again this year! In previous years we were recognized for our sustainability practices and we were declared the Diversion Rate Champion in 2010 and 2011. This year we will do our best to regain that title.

We will be calculating the amount of waste diverted for the Parent and Family Weekend Game on November 1st!! Please come out to show some school pride and support for your UC Davis Football Team (Go Aggies!!).

In order to ensure that we have extremely positive results from this game, the Waste Reduction and Recycling Program (WRR) has taken several measures.   First and foremost, WRR has drastically reduced the amount of waste that is introduced into the stadium by prohibiting several items from both students and vendors. Second, any items that are brought in are required to be either recyclable or compostable. Finally, WRR strives to educate the public how to properly dispose of their trash. Volunteers and staff will readily provide information to anyone that is unsure of which category to place their trash, diverting as much waste as possible away from the landfill.Logo of GameDay Recycling Challenge

Keep in mind that every piece of waste diverted matters, so remind your fellow peers about what can and cannot go into the recycling or compost bins!

GameDay Challenge is a way to award collegiate stadiums for their zero waste efforts. However, our goal goes much further than just winning this challenge – we strive towards a more sustainable campus. Aggie Stadium’s success is an inspiration to actively promote and implement ways to become zero waste throughout campus, not just at the stadium!

Be on the lookout for more updates on GameDay Challenge!

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UC Regents: Listen to Your Community. Be True Climate Leaders.

September 10th, 2014 @ 1:11 pm by Camille Kirk

The Regents of the University of California are being asked to consider divestment from fossil fuels at the upcoming September meeting. In advance of that meeting, the Sustainable 2nd Century blog is hosting two guest posts this week about the fossil fuel divestment effort. This post is an excerpt of a longer essay about the Fossil Free UC movement written by UC Davis student Emili Abdel-Ghany, a Community and Regional Development senior, California Student Sustainability Coalition Field Organizer for the Fossil Freedom Solidarity Organizing Program and former Senior Field Organizer for the Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign.

Fossil Free UC rally at the May 2014 University of California Regents meeting in Sacramento, California. Photo credit: Becca Rast.

Fossil Free UC rally at the May 2014 University of California Regents meeting in Sacramento, California. Photo credit: Becca Rast.

Over the past three years I have seen communities rise up together across UC Davis, the entire UC, and reaching out into California and beyond, even reaching the front page of the Wall Street Journal’s Money and Investing segment. The campaign to divest our communities from the fossil fuel industry is one that resonates with folks from every part of society. I have had the opportunity to help shape the campaign on the local (Davis) level and statewide, coordinating multiple actions at the Sacramento UC Regents meetings and others. I have personally dedicated a majority of my undergraduate career to this campaign and to the education of the broader campus and California community (UC Davis and beyond). Faith communities, those fighting for racial or gender equity, scientific communities, campus departments, educators and countless students have thanked the campaign leaders for enlightening them about what UC investments are doing. I have seen how galvanizing the issue of unsustainable investments can be for students, faculty, staff, and the community. Almost every time I’ve told someone about this campaign their reaction is the same: They did not know that the UC invests donations in fossil fuel industries which constitutes a lack of transparency from the UC, and they do not want the UC to be investing in or even using fossil fuels. Further, they want to have a say in the process given that UC is a public institution of research and higher education, and are strongly opposed to the direction the UC is going in its relationship to the industry fueling climate change. Although the UC has just made significant strides to advance solar, it is a moral contradiction to invest in the companies driving the climate crisis while investing in those attempting to halt it.

Our movement for climate justice is reaching a tipping point this September, and here in California we must act to hold our flagship public institution accountable for financing climate chaos.  UC Regents on the Committee on Investments will be voting on fossil fuel divestment at their meeting September 17th meeting at the UCSF Mission Bay campus. We need as many voices from community, students, faculty, administration present. The Chief Investment Officer (CIO) recently altered his original recommendation to the Committee on Investments (COI), which would have advocated for a loose ESG (Environmental and Social Governance) framework for investing and explicitly stated recommending a “No” vote on divestment. In my opinion, this recommendation would completely disregard and even misconstrue the meaning of the work of students and the community, since it does not take immediate action to halt all new investments in the top 200 fossil fuel companies, drop the current holdings, and begin to reinvest in our communities. However, because of student and community pressure (by countless phone calls to the CIO) the Task Force recommended that the decision on Fossil Fuel Divestment be assigned to the COI, ending the Task Force. This minor concession is thanks to the people power generated by Fossil Free UC.

Any recommendation that the CIO makes to the Task Force will be taken very seriously by the Committee on Investments and voted on at their Friday September 12th meeting happening via teleconference in Oakland, LA, and Santa Barbara. If you would like to be involved in the momentum around this please email CSSC Field Organizer Jake Soiffer or Madeline Oliver. Most Regents will likely defend his position. We need to keep up the public pressure on decision makers. The Regents will likely still vote yes on whatever the CIO recommends to the COI. It will be incredibly important to have as many people at this meeting supporting our campaign as possible. If you are faculty we have a template letter that we would love for you sign onto/adapt and send you may contact CSSC Campaign Director, Emily Williams for this letter. Otherwise (for non-faculty), you can send your input to the UC Regents via email  regentsoffice@ucop.edu, mail: Office of the Secretary and Chief of Staff to the Regents 1111 Franklin St.,12th floor Oakland, CA 94607 with attention to the Committee on Investments. The regent who chairs this committee is Paul Wachter, it would be good to address concerns to him since the decision is in the hands of the COI as of now. If you will be sending a letter after Friday please email it to CSSC Field Organizer Alyssa Lee and she will circulate it appropriately.

The UC has to lead. We have to act now. The Regents have the opportunity of a lifetime to listen to the outcry of the people and divest NOW!

For more information follow:
www.fossilfreeuc.org
www.facebook.com/FossilFreeUC
www.sustainabilitycoalition.org
www.twitter.com/FossilFreeUC
To be added to list serves email Alyssa Lee.

Read Emili’s essay, from which this post was excerpted, to learn more about what has compelled her to become active in divestment efforts.

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It’s Time to Divest from Fossil Fuels

September 8th, 2014 @ 4:19 pm by Camille Kirk

The Regents of the University of California are being asked to consider divestment from fossil fuels at the upcoming September meeting. In advance of that meeting, the Sustainable 2nd Century blog is hosting two guest posts this week about the fossil fuel divestment effort. This post is written by Stephen M. Wheeler, Associate Professor, Department of Human Ecology.

Fossil fuel companies play a major role in promoting carbon-intensive societies. Should UC be investing in them? Photo and caption by Stephen M. Wheeler.

Photo of Valero refinery in Benicia, California. Fossil fuel companies play a major role in promoting carbon-intensive societies. Should UC be investing in them? Photo and caption by Stephen M. Wheeler.

At universities across the country the subject of fossil fuel divestment is in the news. Students, alumni, faculty, and staff are pressing trustees to drop schools’ investments in corporations threatening our future through global warming emissions. Already last spring Stanford gained a lead on the University of California by agreeing not to invest in coal stocks. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for UC to regain the moral lead by divesting from fossil fuels across the board?

Global warming is the largest sustainability challenge of our time. UC plays a positive role through research into climate change and renewable energy technologies, and through efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from UC campuses. However, an issue of this sort calls for moral leadership as well. California as a state has already adopted strong policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By divesting from fossil fuel stocks UC can take a stand as well, and further build its reputation as a worldwide leader on sustainability topics.

As a student I was active in the late-1970s and 1980s movement to get colleges to divest from corporations doing business in South Africa, at a time when South Africa rigidly separated blacks and whites and Nelson Mandela was in prison. The University of California took a lead in countering racism back then by divesting some $3 billion in South-African-related stocks. Mandela later credited UC’s action with significantly helping to abolish apartheid.

Please do whatever you can—as a student, faculty member, staff person, or alumni—to encourage the UC Regents to vote for divestiture during 2014-15. Regents will first take up the issue on September 17, but additional consideration is likely throughout the year.

Information about how to contact the Regents is at http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/contact/index.html. The best form of contact may be a written comment sent by email on “Divestment from fossil fuels” prior to any Regents meeting at which this topic is on the agenda. You can review agendas at http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/meetings/index.html.

Let’s see our University on the cutting edge of social change once more.

 

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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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