Regents Review Report on UC's Implementation of Sustainable Practices

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The UC Board of Regents discussed a new report at their meeting Tuesday, highlighting systemwide efforts toward sustainability and green building practices.

The UC Annual Report on Sustainability Practices summarizes steps toward implementing the 2004 UC Policy on Sustainable Practices. The report includes efforts made during 2010 toward reducing landfill waste, increasing certified green buildings and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

At UC Berkeley, three campus buildings received new green building certification last year - part of the Clark Kerr Campus renovation, the Morgan Hall laboratory and the West Village of University Village in Albany.

This Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification is achieved through a point-based ranking system. The Morgan Hall and Clark Kerr renovations both received LEED gold ratings - the second highest ranking.

Judy Chess, assistant director for the campus Green Building Programs, said the LEED certification is the "accepted standard" for green buildings.

"It provides verification through a third party," she said.

According to the report, the UC system has 49 LEED certifications and received 14 in 2010. University Village received a certified ranking, the minimum certification under LEED.

Jonathan Winters, the facilities supervisor for University Village, said the West Village buildings used designs to maximize daylight and windows coated to minimize temperature differences between inside and outside air.

He added that every building also has at least one bicycle rack.

The annual report also charted the campus-by-campus municipal solid waste diversion rates - the amount of waste material that is recycled rather than routed to landfills. All campuses met the goal of diverting 50 percent of all municipal waste in 2010.

UC Berkeley had the highest rate of total waste diversion than any other campus, preventing 90 percent of campus waste from going to a landfill.

This figure, however, includes waste resulting from construction and demolition, which changes each year. Without including construction and demolition waste, the campus placed third from the bottom, recycling only 43 percent, though last year the campus recycled less than 40 percent.

"I don't think that anyone would argue that we don't still have more to do on the municipal waste side," said Lisa McNeilly, the director of sustainability at UC Berkeley. "We are slowly but surely moving (the recycling rate) up."

McNeilly said the campus had, however, reduced greenhouse gas emissions campuswide by 5 percent from 2008 to 2009. This is consistent with the systemwide policy goal of reducing total emissions to 2000 levels by 2014 and 1990 levels by 2020.

UC Berkeley has gone a step further with this goal, aiming to reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2014.

According to the UC Berkeley Sustainability website, the campus must further reduce its annual emissions by 45,000 metric tons of equivalent carbon dioxide.

The report stated that the systemwide cost savings from energy efficiency projects exceeds $21 million annually.

UC Berkeley has paid between $26 million and $29 million in utilities over the past few years, yet only receives around $20 million from the state to cover these expenses. Energy efficiency improvements could save the campus $3 million to $4 million per year.


Sara Johnson covers the environment. Contact her at [email protected]

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