Irvine, Calif., Oct. 8, 2014 – UC Irvine’s commitment to sustainability won accolades both nationally and globally last week.
The campus’s energy efficiency efforts were recognized Wednesday, Oct. 1, with an international award from the 16,000-member Association of Energy Engineers. On Friday, Oct. 3, The Climate Registry and Southern California Edison presented UCI with a 2014 Cool Planet Award for “outstanding environmental leadership in energy and carbon management.”
“These awards reflect the University of California’s dedication to doing business in a manner consistent with a world-class research university in which climate action is valued,” said Wendell Brase, vice chancellor for administrative and business services and co-chair of University of California President Janet Napolitano’s Global Climate Leadership Council.
Achieving “deep” energy savings – those resulting from projects that reduce usage and related carbon emissions by half or more – is among the key strategies for realizing the UC’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2025.
The AEE lauded UCI for surpassing a goal established by President Barack Obama’s Better Buildings Challenge and participating in a comprehensive energy management program involving UC and California State University campuses and the investor-owned utilities that serve them.
UCI is the first educational institution in the nation to meet or exceed the Better Buildings Challenge goal of reducing campus energy usage by 20 percent by 2020. UCI consumed 23 percent less energy in 2013 than in 2008, the base year for its commitment.
The savings are largely attributable to projects completed through the UC-CSU-IOU Energy Efficiency Partnership. About 80 percent of the funding for UCI projects comes from 15-year, UC-issued revenue bonds (“energy bonds”) that are repaid through utility savings derived from the partnership.
The balance stems from incentives provided by California’s investor-owned utilities. To date, UCI has completed 150 projects, across every type of space on campus, investing more than $50 million in energy efficiency.
The Cool Planet Award also recognizes UCI’s participation in the Better Buildings Challenge and the Energy Efficiency Partnership and calls attention to the fact that since 2007, UCI has reduced emissions by 20,000 metric tons annually through energy efficiency projects, on-site renewable energy and green building practices.
About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is ranked first among U.S. universities under 50 years old by the London-based Times Higher Education and is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 28,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. Located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities, it’s Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.8 billion annually to the local economy.
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