UCI News

UCI honored by EPA for exemplary climate leadership

February 25, 2014

Irvine, Calif., Feb. 25, 2014 — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized UC Irvine with the 2014 Climate Leadership Award for Organizational Leadership for reducing carbon pollution and addressing climate change. The EPA announced the award in conjunction with the Association of Climate Change Officers, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, and The Climate Registry.

“We are especially honored to be receiving this prestigious award in light of University of California President Janet Napolitano’s recent announcement that UC will be carbon neutral by 2025. This award recognizes our campus’s long-standing commitment to reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Wendell Brase, vice chancellor for business and administrative services and chair of the University of California’s Climate Solutions Steering Group. “We began focusing on reducing our energy use, and thereby lowering our carbon footprint, more than two decades ago, and we will continue to focus on our campuswide energy policy, energy systems and energy management to improve efficiency and cut waste.”

UC Irvine was recognized by the EPA for its wide range of accomplishments, including its Smart Labs Initiative, which safely reduces energy use in new and retrofitted research laboratories by an average of 60 percent, the establishment of on-site renewable energy systems and current sustainable physical planning of the campus. UC Irvine has one of the most robust green building programs of any university in the U.S.  Eleven buildings on campus have earned a platinum rating through the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, while eight have achieved a gold rating.

The university also has embraced sustainability in its academic and student activities, with more than 200 faculty members conducting research and providing instruction that furthers understanding of the interconnectedness of social, economic and environmental issues. The campus offers a minor in global sustainability, and its Department of Earth System Science has earned a reputation as one of the most influential departments in the nation devoted to studying the Earth as a system.

“Our Climate Leadership Award winners have made great strides in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and are providing leadership nationwide in many sectors of our economy,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “Their innovative approaches and commitment to reducing carbon pollution demonstrate that efforts to address climate change are repaid by saving money and energy, while supporting more livable and resilient communities, and a healthier, better protected environment now and for future generations.”

The Climate Leadership Awards program annually recognizes and encourages corporate, organizational and individual leadership in reducing carbon pollution. A wide array of industries is represented by these organizations, including construction, finance, defense, transportation, retail, energy and technology. The 2014 Climate Leadership Award winners are being publicly recognized during the Climate Leadership Awards Dinner in San Diego Feb. 25, which occurs during the Climate Leadership Conference Feb. 24-26, 2014.

About the University of California, Irvine: Located in coastal Orange County, near a thriving employment hub in one of the nation’s safest cities, UC Irvine was founded in 1965. One of only 62 members of the Association of American Universities, it’s ranked first among U.S. universities under 50 years old by the London-based Times Higher Education. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UC Irvine has more than 28,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.3 billion annually to the local economy.

Media access: UC Irvine maintains an online directory of faculty available as experts to the media at http://communications.uci.edu/for-journalists/experts/. Radio programs/stations may, for a fee, use an on-campus ISDN line to interview UC Irvine faculty and experts, subject to availability and university approval. For more UC Irvine news, visit news.uci.edu. Additional resources for journalists may be found at communications.uci.edu/for-journalists.