CACS Sustainability Innovation Grants

The annual CACS Sustainability Innovation Grants program enables members of the UC Berkeley campus community to undertake projects that will create a greener, more environmentally sustainable campus -- while saving resources and money in the process. Funding is given on a competitive basis, and many projects are proposed based on the opportunities identified in the 2013 Campus Sustainability Report and 2009 Climate Action Plan.

The new Innovation Grant program combines the Green Fund Grant and the CACS Internship programs, giving recipients greater flexibility to implement innovative projects or research, either on campus or to the benefit of the broader campus community.  For more information on the program and on how to apply, please click here.

2015 Innovation Grant Recipients

ESW-Berkeley 2016 National Conference Kickoff Project- In 2016, the Engineers for a Sustainable World National Conference will be hosted here at UC Berkeley.  Grant will support sending a team of students to the conference to give them firsthand experience of an ESW conference, both as attendees and as volunteers helping to organize daily events, in order to bring back knowledge and expertise for planning.

Emerging Sustainability Issues: Student Internships- The Office of Sustainability and Energy will hire two student interns to conduct research on emerging sustainability issues, working with relevant partners, and documenting their work.   To stay at the forefront and to continue to advance our programs and achieve our vision, we need to be looking forward and identifying and understanding the most promising new opportunities and issues.  

Student Run Harvest Days at Gill Tract Community Farm- CACS funding for Harvest Days will increase the partnership’s ability to engage food insecure students and the broader student body in innovating a peer-to-peer fresh produce security model.  Harvest Days educate students on a wide range of topics from nutrition to systemic issues driving food insecurity; provide hands-on learning in sustainable urban agriculture; distribute free produce to the UC Berkeley Food Pantry; and encourage critical thinking for innovative food system solutions.

Water-Saving Autoclave- The Environmental Engineering laboratories in O’Brien Hall are planning to purchase a new autoclave for routine sterilization of media, materials, and waste that must be disinfected before disposal. Autoclaves are notorious for their water use – depending on usage and operation, old autoclaves can use up to 1 million gallons of water per year.  In light of this, funds will be used to purchase an autoclave that includes water-saving add-ons that can reduce water consumption by 90%.

Solar Spring Break 2015- Solar Spring Break is a program that gives college students the ability to spend their spring break installing solar panels on homes in underserved communities. Although the students themselves are responsible for raising a portion of the funds necessary to carry out the installation, the project is overseen by an non-profit called GRID Alternatives.  Grant funds will go toward the participation costs of 12 Berkeley students in 2015.  (Contingent on entire $5k being raised.)

Developing sustainable soil remediation methods:  A young ecological professional training program- The project will train one session of young ecological professionals in developing and implementing methods for sustainable soil remediation and restoration.   The funds will continue and refine an existing, highly successful training program (the Restorative Ecology Training Program) that has already trained 28 undergraduates. Students participate in empirical research on in situ soil remediation, using a fern, Pteris vittata, to remove arsenic from contaminated soils.

 Tiny House In My Backyard (THIMBY)- The THIMBY project is an interdisciplinary collaboration of UC Berkeley students designing and building a zero net energy tiny (<400 ft 2 ) house for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) Tiny House Competition.  The grant will cover a portion of the costs to build a zero-net-energy, zero-net-waste tiny house and use it as a model to advocate the widespread adoption of efficient, environmental living.  Once the Tiny Home is completed it will be transported to SMUD for the 2016 Tiny House competition.