CACS Sustainability Innovation Grants
Grants are not currently being offered. Please check back to see when the next round of grants will occur.
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.
Past Grant Recipients
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.
2014 Green Fund Grant Recipients
“Student Organic Gardening Association,” Jorge Vargas and Kate Kaplan – The Student Organic Garden Association (SOGA) is a democratic student organization that provides the campus community with hands-on experience in sustainable agriculture. Through student-taught DeCals and community workshops, SOGA teaches hundreds of students how to grow produce and to consider the production processes of their own food. The CACS Grant will support SOGA’s 2014-2015 goals, including that of establishing a maintenance plan for efficient management throughout the year.
“Reduce Runoff, Restore the Creek”, Manon von Kaenel – This project will develop more efficient ways of managing campus runoff to improve water quality and habitat in Strawberry Creek. By helping restore the creek habitat, this project also expects to improve the overall watershed’s health, provide education tools for students and the public, and emphasize the importance of conservation efforts and sustainability for the University. The project will be incorporated into Manon’s Environmental Science capstone senior thesis, which aims to look at the challenges and benefits of runoff management and urban drainage systems.
The third Green Fund Grant is being given in memory of Steve Maranzana, a long-time CACS member and a beloved member of campus. As a staff member with the Campus Office of Environment, Health & Safety, Steve worked for nearly a decade on the protection of the environment and specifically as the primary caretaker of UC Berkeley’s part of the Strawberry Creek watershed. Before that, as a student at Cal, his studies focused on the functioning of ecosystems and healthy habitats and he spent much of his time as an undergraduate measuring, observing, and writing about the creek that runs the length of campus. Environment, Health, and Safety will use this grant to install native plants as part of the Strawberry Creek Confluence Check-Dam Restoration Project.
2013 Green Fund Recipients
“Spring Cleaning in Campus Closets” - Ron Holmstrom, Space Management and Capital Programs. This project will improve the utilization of space on campus through a “Campus Sustainable Cleanup” effort. This outreach program will help departments free up underutilized space and repurpose it by coordinating the recycling and reuse of un-used materials that are taking up space.
“Sigma Pi L.E.D.’s the Way to Energy Savings” - Garrett Vogel, a second year student in Conservation and Resource Studies. This initiative will reduce water and electricity use in the fraternity house by installing energy-efficient devices and materials. Sigma Pi aims to reduce water consumption by 15% and will install over 30 LED lightbulbs and insulation in their basement.
“’Swag’ Bags for Bicyclists” - Greg Haet, Associate Director, Environmental Protection and Chair, Campus Bicycle Committee. This program will provide sustainable promotional and safety items to hundreds of cyclists at the two campus Energizer Stations during this year’s Bay Area-wide Bike-to-Work Day on May 9th.
“Fitting Plant to Place: Site-Specific Restoration Planning on Strawberry Creek” - Dylan Chapple, PhD student in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. This grant will fund the work of two undergraduate students to perform site preparation, collect planting data, acquire native plants from local nurseries, and propagate plants in the Strawberry Creek Native Plant Nursery as part of the campus effort to restore the watershed.
2012 Green Fund Grant Recipients
"Weed 'Em and Reap: Replacing Invasive Plants along Strawberry Creek" - Nathan Bickart, an undergraduate in Conservation and Resource Studies, and Restoration Coordinator for the Strawberry Creek Restoration Program, will identify and plant native species that can resist re-invasion by ivy and periwinkle, and contribute other benefits to this valuable ecosystem.
"To-Go or Not To-Go? Which Take-Out Food Container is Best?" - Monica Harnoto, an undergraduate in Environmental Sciences, and Cal Dining Sustainability Intern will conduct a study to determine the costs and benefits of reusable and biodegradable food containers, and to test the feasibility of a reusable food container program in Cal Dining.
"A ReUSE Job for Superman" - Claire Porter an undergraduate in Environmental Sciences, and Co-Manager of the campus ReUSE Program will renovate the ReUSE station in Barrows Hall, to give a much-needed facelift to the program's flagship station, nestled in an abandoned phone booth.
"Get Bin Smart" - Julie Brown a Staff Assistant with Campus Recycling and Refuse Services will work to educate the campus community about recycling and composting, especially about what is compostable and recyclable, and where to dispose of each type of waste.
"You are What You Read: Learn While You Shop" - Carli Baker, an undergraduate in Anthropology and Conservation & Resource Studies, and a member of the Student Food Collective will improve the collective's educational programs by developing in-store displays and posters, and expanding its speaker series by and about local green businesses.
"Which Way to the Water Fountain?" - Allyson Beach, an undergraduate in Political Science and Conservation & Resource Studies, and Take Back the Tap Campus Coordinator will develop signage to improve tap water visibility, and a campaign to educate students about the benefits of drinking tap water versus bottled water.
2011 Green Fund Grant Recipients
"Water Doesn't Grow on Trees" - Christopher Carmichael, UC Botanical Garden. Updating sprinkler heads will reduce the amount of water used for irrigation and, consequently, decrease runoff into Strawberry Creek.
"Follow the Leader: A Greener Durant Hall" - Josh Mandel, College of Letters & Science. Durant Hall will take the first steps in providing a full-range of composting as well as glass and plastic recycling, setting a good example for the rest of the college.
"My Little Green Primers" - Elizabeth Chan - Energy and Resources Class 190. Every incoming student in campus housing will receive information on how they can reduce waste, conserve water, and purchase green.
"Boosting Composting" - Annie Gorden and Parijat Chakrabarti, UC Berkeley Compost Alliance. A team of students will work with campus stakeholders to audit waste streams, expand composting to more buildings, and increase awareness about waste reduction options.
"Recycling Can-Do" - Frank Yu, UC Residence Hall Assembly. A pilot program will place recycling bins in student rooms to encourage can, bottle, and paper recycling, and better understand the impact of in-room recycling bins.
2010 Green Fund Grant Recipients
"Green-Lighting McCone Hall" - Morwenna Rowe, Green Campus. Lighting retrofit to improve technology and motivate occupants.
"Harnessing People Power" - Maha Haji and the Human Power Generation Team. Development of a prototype exercise machine to generate usable electricity.
"Counting Bikes on Campus" - William Riggs, Transportation Planner. Purchase two pedestrian and bike counters to improve data on bicycle and pedestrian routing and safety.
"Rags to Riches" - Kimberly Lam, ReUSE. Purchase of canvas bins to expand program that collects and resells used clothing from residence halls.
"Lights, Camera, Action" - Kathleen Kelly, Capital Projects. Partial funding of a portable videoconference system to reduce business travel emissions.
"Strawberry Fields Forever" - Theron Klos, Grounds Department. Expanding an existing water-saving/native plant project to include educational signage and a larger garden.
See 2010 Grant Project Posters displayed at the annual 2010 Sustainability Summit.
2009 Green Fund Grant Recipients
"Strawberry Fields Forever" (or conversion of a lawn to an educational native plant landscape) - Theron Klos, Operations Manager, Grounds Service, PP-CS. The converted site will not only yield a colorful native landscape, but demonstrate that UC Berkeley is increasing the sustainability of its landscapes.
"It’s a Green Campus After All" (or expansion of Green Campus projects) - Christa Lim, Green Campus Program Coordinator, 3rd year student in Environmental Economics and Policy. For six years, the Green Campus team has educated the UC Berkeley community about energy conservation, and this project will continue their good work.
"Is it Just Hot Air or Time to Throw in the Towel?" - Terence Cadigan, Building and Grounds Manager, Lawrence Hall of Science. The project will evaluate hot air versus paper towel hand drying in high-volume public restrooms.
"You Gotta Carry that Weight" (or improved compaction of chemical waste) - Patrick Goff, Associate Director-Hazardous Materials and Radiation Safety, EH&S. This project will replace an unreliable, inefficient pneumatic trash compactor used for laboratory debris with a better drum compactor currently located in an inconvenient place.
"Taking Out the Recycling" - Stephen Pree, Grounds Supervisor, Housing Operations Maintenance and Environment, Residential and Student Services Programs. To improve the amount of recycling by residents of University Village and Smyth-Fernwald, this project will provide totes to allow easier separation of recyclables from non-recyclables, and will create graphic and multilingual signs at each recycling collection location.
See 2009 Grant Project Posters displayed at the annual 2009 Sustainability Summit.
2008 Green Fund Grant Recipients
"Office of the Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S): Electric Delivery Vehicle" - Patrick Goff, Associate Director-Hazardous Materials and Radiation Safety, EH&S. This project proposed to purchase an electric vehicle from the Campus Surplus Overstock Den for EH&S' pickup and delivery needs. Besides the obvious benefit of less greenhouse gas emissions, acquiring the vehicle from the Campus Surplus Overstock Den promoted commodity reuse. The vehicle was also outfitted with billboard postings promoting sustainability.
"Etcheverry Hall: Waterless Urinals" - Trey Cauley and Professor Albert Pisano. This grant proposed to replace several urinals in Etcheverry Hall with waterless urinals and upgrade 40+ water faucets with ultra low flow rate water filters. These upgrades resulted in significant water savings and was projected to pay for itself within 1 to 3 years, depending on usage.
"University Hall: Sun Mirrors" - Jeremy White. This project consisted of illuminating exterior and interior space using experimental sun tracking mirror technology called Heliostats in the University Hall annex. During daylight hours, redirecting sunlight using a Heliostat is a very inexpensive way to illuminate low-light space with full spectrum light. Once installed, the Heliostat was to help illuminate the north-facing exterior and interior space on the basement and 1st floor levels, which houses the Public Health Library and administrative office space.
"Green Campus Program" - Kameron Kitajima & Green Camus Team. The Berkeley Green Campus team sought to educate students, staff, faculty, and the local community about the importance of energy conservation and achieve substantial energy savings.
"University Hall - Task Lighting and Education" - Rebecca Jones. Together, the occupants of University Hall started an initiative to Go Green! with LEED - Existing Building certification as the end goal. This project fits in with that overarching goal, contributing towards LEED credits in optimizing energy performance. Specifically, the goals of this project were:
- Purchasing task lights with compact fluorescent bulbs for office distribution
- Educating occupants on the importance of using task lighting vs. overhead lighting (energy savings and improvement in ergonomic factors) via presentations, conversation, a "green message" printed on the task light and sustainability pledges
- Educating occupants on using daylighting, if they have offices with windows
- Educating occupants on recycling procedures for compact fluorescent bulb
"Weather Station to regulate Irrigation" - Gary Imazumi. This project sout to purchase, install and program a WeatherCon weather station system from SeaCom on the existing Motorola (ICC) Irrigation Central Control System. More than 90% of the UC, Berkeley main campus irrigation is centrally controlled. By programmatically integrating weather system data into the base irrigation cycle routines, the system is automatically adjusted to increase time and cycles when weather extends towards extended dry periods and automatically reduces usage when periods of lower temperature, cloud cover, or rain are prevalent.
"Mulch Training for Groundskeepers" - Theron Klos. This program sought to demonstrate how to sheet mulch and the benefits of sheet mulching. Every weekend in March (7, 14, 21) for two hours each weekend, volunteers will learn how to sheet mulch through a hands-on approach. The benefits of sheet mulching are: suppression of weed growth without using chemicals, labor reduction and maintenance costs, weeds are composted in place, improved nutrient and water retention in the soil (thus reduction in water usage), encourages favorable soil microbial activity and worms, enhance soil structure, improve plant vigor and health which often leads to improved resistance to pests and diseases.
"Workshop for Architecture / Design Students" - Merrian Fuller. This grant will bring Rick Chitwood, one of the most experienced and highly regarded building energy performance experts, to campus to conduct a daylong educational workshop for architecture and design students in Fall 2008 on campus. This workshop will be run by S-Club, the organization for design and architecture students interested in sustainability issues. Participants will receive learning materials (handouts, booklets, etc.) to compliment the training. The workshop will be based on a course Rick gives at the Pacific Energy Center entitled "Green Home Energy Retrofits for Architects and Designers," but will be tailored to current students.
See 2008 Grant Project Posters displayed at the annual 2009 Sustainability Summit.
2007 Green Fund Grant Recipients
Text taken from the Berkeleyan article: Sharing of the green: a baker's dozen newly funded projects, By Wendy Edelstein, Public Affairs | 02 May 2007
For 2007, 13 projects that will receive funding through the Chancellor's Campus Green Fund, established to create a greener, more environmentally sustainable campus. Grants ranged from $2,500 to $10,000. CACS annually solicits proposals from students, faculty, and staff.
"Campus Energy-Saving Feasibility Study" - $5,000 to Chris Jones, staff research associate at the Berkeley Institute of the Environment, to conduct a study to identify the most effective combination of energy-incentive initiatives that can be implemented to enable the campus to meet the target set by the Cal Climate Action Partnership (CalCAP).
"Research-Space Energy Conservation" - $4,700 to Alice Agogino, professor of mechanical engineering, to potentially cut in half the amount of electricity used in her faculty research space.
"Green Campus Program" - $4,000 to Desirae Early, an undergraduate student majoring in environmental economics and policy, to continue the highly successful campus energy-conservation program.
"Greening Research@Berkeley Initiative" - $3,500 to Justin Remais, staff assistant researcher in the environmental health sciences department, to start the Greening Research@Berkeley (GR@B) Initiative by developing a comprehensive set of tools that researchers can use to minimize the impact - or reduce the "footprint" - of their research activities on the local and global environment, starting with a set of core sustainability principles and a website with a comprehensive list of existing resources on the Berkeley campus and tips on how to "Green Your Lab" and "Offset Research Travel."
"Design Students for a Sustainable Future" - $2,000 to Sam Borgeson, a graduate student in architecture, working with Design Students for a Sustainable Future under the guidance of faculty advisers Cris Benton and Gail Brager, to create sustainable practices in Wurster Hall's design studios, which produce tomorrow's architects, planners, and landscape architects.
"Energy-Efficient Electricity" - $2,000 to Alex Mastrangeli, MSO staff manager of the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, to replace the existing 181 incandescent light bulbs in the lobby of Zellerbach Playhouse with low-energy-consumption compact-flourescent light bulbs.
"Engaging Eco-Conscious Alumni" - $2,000 to Greg Haet, Associate Director, Environmental Protection, Office of Environment, Health & Safety, to work with the Berkeley Environmental Alumni Network (BEAN) in developing an ongoing support base among environmentally-minded alumni.
"Rooftop Plant-and-Soil Cover:" - $1,800 to Kirsten Weeks, a graduate student (double masters) in architecture (building science) and landscape architecture, to cultivate a 100- square-foot green plant/soil cover on the roof of a campus building.
"Electrically Efficient Buildings" - $1,500 to Anna Harvey, an undergraduate student with an intended major in environmental engineering science (and an events technician at International House), to pilot an electricity- efficient model at I-House for student residential settings, which can be thereafter used by the Greek housing system and other student residences.
"Outdoor Classrooms" - $1,000 to Pepper Black, director of the Family Student Housing Program in the Residential and Student Service Programs, to be used for garden-border boxes, supplies, and tools, composting bins, and installation of an irrigation system to create an outdoor classroom with border gardens at University Village, which houses more than 820 students and their families in Albany.
"Earth Week 2008 Programming and Publicity" - $1,000 to Christina Oatfield, an undergraduate planning to major in environmental sciences, in her role as chair of the Earth Week Committee of the UC Berkeley Student Union Sustainability Team, to cover the cost of screening environmental films and printing posters, ads, and fliers to promote participation in the upcoming Earth Week 2008.
"Campus Farmer's Market" - $500 to Maren Poitras, an undergraduate majoring in conservation and resource studies (sustainable food systems), to work with the Food Systems Committee of the UC Berkeley Student Union Sustainability Team to operate cooperatively the weekly student-run produce stand ("The Local") at Kroeber Fountain, which provides fresh, local, organic produce from the farmers market to the campus and surrounding community.
"Dorm-Room Recycling" - $1,000 to Vivek Rao, an undergraduate majoring in mechanical engineering, as part of the student-led interdisciplinary design organization Berkeley Innovation (BI), to create and produce an innovative prototype individual trash receptacle with subdivided compartments for use by students within their dorm room to separate different types of recyclables.
See Grant Project Posters displayed at the annual Sustainability Summit.
2006 Green Fund Grant Recipients
"Strawberry Creek Grinnell Natural Area Restoration" - For purchase of native plants.
"Berkeley Energy Alliance for Renewables (BEAR Biodiesel)" - Project (to convert used vegetable oil from campus dining halls into biodiesel for campus vehicles.
"ASUC Sustainability Team (STeam)" - To support its student-intern program.
"Student Organic Gardening Association (SOGA)" - Project to propagate more than 5,000 plants a year for local school and community-garden projects) Expansion of the Green Room Project (a trio of demonstration areas is envisioned in residence halls).
See Grant Project Posters displayed at the annual Sustainability Summit