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UC San Diego Forges a Sustainable Future

Campus recognized as one of the most environmentally responsible by The Princeton Review

2012 Sustainablity Awards, Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

Being green is part of UC San Diego’s institutional DNA. From the campus’s commute solutions, to its emphasis on sustainable operations, energy efficiency and recycling­­––UC San Diego practices, teaches and supports environmentally responsible choices. The campus has been hailed for its commitment to sustainability and was recently recognized as one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. and Canada by The Princeton Review.

Campus Awarded First LEED Platinum Certification for Charles David Keeling Apartments

New housing at UC San Diego has students seeing green. The newly completed Charles David Keeling apartments at Revelle College have been Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certified––a first for any structure on campus, and a first for any residential housing building in the entire University of California system. Read More »

UC San Diego is featured in the second annual edition of “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition.” The education services company partnered with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to rate colleges and universities based on how they enhance sustainability through academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.

“This recognition is a testament to UC San Diego’s commitment to sustainability in our education and campus operations,” said Gary C. Matthews, vice chancellor for resource management and planning at UC San Diego. “One of the ways UC San Diego is leading the way in the movement toward a more sustainable future is our innovative use of alternative forms of energy. UC San Diego shows the future of electricity today.”

The university generates more than 90 percent of its electricity with an ultra-clean and efficient natural-gas-fired cogeneration plant, renewable energy fuel cell and solar photovoltaics.     “The impact of these energy initiatives is significant­­ and is an example of UC San Diego’s comprehensive approach to creating a sustainable campus,” said Dave Weil, UC San Diego director of building commissioning and sustainability.

In this video, the Rocky Mountain Institute traveled to UC San Diego to study and document what it considers one of the "best of class" examples of a 'microgrid' that promotes local control and yet is integrated with the larger electricity grid.

The campus is not only a leader in energy advancements, but is also a global leader in groundbreaking climate research. Modern climate change science began at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography with the Keeling Curve in 1958, which has become the scientific icon of global warming.

“UC San Diego has transformed itself into a living laboratory in which all campus facilities and operations are being redesigned to create a highly energy-efficient, carbon-neutral campus by 2025,” said Weil.

One way UC San Diego plans to reach its goal of carbon-neutrality is through its green building projects. Eleven buildings on UC San Diego’s campus are already LEED certified with several more actively being pursued.  Construction at UC San Diego must meet stringent energy and environmental design standards, and older buildings have been or are being retrofitted with more energy-efficient lighting, heating and air conditioning, and other improvements.

UC San Diego Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center Recognized for Dedication to Sustainability

The UC San Diego Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center is the first hospital-based project in the region to receive LEED Gold certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Representatives from the USGBC – San Diego Chapter recently presented a plaque to the building project and design team. Read More »

In addition, UC San Diego’s fleet is one of the greenest n the country. “As we retire older vehicles, we’re replacing many of them with electric, hybrid and compressed natural gas vehicles,” said Jim Ruby, UC San Diego fleet manager. The university has six electric vehicle charging stations installed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and will soon have several more charging stations available for public use.  To help make the fleet even more environmentally friendly, the campus also operates a CNG fueling station that is open to all members of the campus community, alumni, other public agencies and non-profit organizations. Compressed natural gas (CNG) is a cleaner-burning fuel than gasoline, costs less, and since it is found in North America in plentiful supplies, helps to reduce the nation’s dependency on fuels from overseas. And more than half of campus commuters use an alternative form of transportation, including campus shuttles, public transit, carpooling, vanpooling, walking and bicycling.

One of several videos developed by Housing, Dining and Hospitality (HDH) with the HDH EcoNauts. The EcoNauts have developed an educational and entertaining way to learn more about the awesome sustainable aspects of campus. To learn more about the HDH EcoNauts and how to get involved visit, hdh.ucsd.edu/majorplanet

UC San Diego has gained a reputation for its sustainable efforts. The university was listed third in Sierra Magazine’s 2011 “Coolest Schools” report and received an A- grade in the Sustainable Endowment Institute’s “Sustainability Report Card.” In addition, UC San Diego was named the first college in California to earn a “gold” sustainability performance rating in the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) survey.

As part of UC San Diego’s effort to be one of the greenest universities in the world over the next decades, energy advancements will continue to be a focus area as it impacts broad areas from national security to sustainable living while enabling a profound energy revolution.

For more information on sustainability at UC San Diego, please visit http://sustainability.ucsd.edu/.