UC Irvine was honored Wednesday, July 18, with the inaugural APPA Sustainability Award for Public Institutions. The university received top marks in seven areas of expertise, including maintenance and operations, planning and construction, energy and utilities, and leadership and administration.

“We’re very gratified that our efforts at green construction and responsible energy use have been recognized with APPA’s first accolade of this kind,” said Matt Gudorf, campus energy manager who accepted the award at APPA’s annual conference in Denver.

“We pride ourselves on being leaders in this area,” added Wendell Brase, vice chancellor of administrative & business services. “UC Irvine faculty and students in a variety of disciplines are researching alternative energies and the direct and indirect effects of climate change, and our facilities management team is equally dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and power costs.”

UCI’s energy management program dates back to the early 1980s and was strengthened in 1992 when the campus adopted the goal of exceeding California’s Title 24 energy-efficiency standards by 30 percent in new buildings. Despite shrinking budgets, the university has attained laboratory energy savings of more than 50 percent through its pioneering Smart Labs Program.

“Until recently, most attempts to improve laboratory energy efficiency had plateaued at about 25 percent better than code,” Brase said. “In order to make a major impact on our carbon footprint, UCI set a goal of 50 percent, which – if successful – would raise the bar for all laboratories. We also made a binding requirement that these energy savings could not be achieved at the expense of safety. And I’m proud to say we’ve succeeded.”

The Smart Labs program is the centerpiece of UCI’s participation in President Obama’s Better Buildings Challenge, which the university joined last year with a commitment to reduce electricity use on the main campus by 40 percent by 2020 – twice the President’s challenge.

Other institutions earning 2012 APPA Sustainability Awards were American University, Emory University, The University of British Columbia and the University of Prince Edward Island.

“APPA is pleased to present this award to the University of California, Irvine,” said Executive Vice President E. Lander Medlin. “The university and its facilities management organization together are demonstrating exemplary leadership and are setting the pace for sustainable practices in higher education.”

About APPA: APPA promotes leadership in educational facilities for professionals seeking to build their careers, transform their institutions, and elevate the value and recognition of facilities in education. It’s the association of choice for more than 7,500 educational facilities professionals throughout the United States, in Canada and abroad.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led byChancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with nearly 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,000 staff. Orange County’s second-largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.

News Radio: UCI maintains on campus an ISDN line for conducting interviews with its faculty and experts. Use of this line is available for a fee to radio news programs/stations that wish to interview UCI faculty and experts. Use of the ISDN line is subject to availability and approval by the university.