Carbon Neutrality

Carbon Neutral Berkeley by 2025

Solar Panels at the RSF Complex

In 2013 the UC system announced the Carbon Neutrality Initiative (CNI) and pledged to be carbon neutral by 2025 from scope 1 and 2 carbon emission sources. 

For Berkeley to get to carbon neutrality, or zero-net carbon emissions from building and fleet energy use, the campus is aiming to reduce emissions by about 150,000 tons. This reduction represents 80% of Berkeley’s carbon emissions. The remaining 20% of Berkeley’s emissions outside of the 2025 goal are associated with the campus commute, business air travel, waste, and water. A neutrality date for these other scope 3 emissions is currently 2050.

UC Berkeley has taken the first steps toward neutrality by reducing emissions to 1990 levels, faster than required by California and UC guidelines.  In 2016 Berkeley's 2025 Carbon Neutrality Planning Framework was published providing a high-level course of action and strategies to meet the target including:

  • Expanding the use of low and non-carbon energy supply for power and thermal needs including directed biogas, green power options from utilities, on-site solar photovoltaics and other natural gas use alternatives.

  • Reducing energy use through building level energy efficiency projects and energy saving actions by facility occupants.

  • Curbing growth-related emissions through electrication, green building practices and improved space utilization.

  • Increasing the efficiency and using less carbon intensive fuel in the vehicle fleet.

  • Considering carbon offset mechanisms to get to neutrality in the near term.

The campus is also looking to upgrades and new options for the main campus energy plant and delivery system. This major capital improvement has the opportunity to significantly reduce operational carbon emissions. Thinking beyond 2025 is also necessary, as carbon neutrality needs to be sustainable in the years following the target date. Expanded consideration of campus renewable energy options, emerging technologies, creative financing mechanisms, and more are part of the longer-term strategy.

Your role in carbon neutrality

Reaching zero emissions is more than technical solutions, it is also about transforming our culture around how we use energy and resources. No matter if you are a student, faculty, or staff member your actions can make a big difference in saving energy and carbon. Find out your own carbon footprint and actionable ways to reduce it with this carbon calculator. See what you can do on campus to engage.

Learn more about the CNI

Learn more about the systemwide UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative and how research is paving the way to scalable solutions to help UC, California, and the world bend the curve on climate change.

 

Cool Campus Challenge stamp

The Challenge is coming again in April 2019! In 2015 UC Berkeley participated in the first ever UC-wide Cool Campus Challenge- a friendly competition between all 10 campuses over 10 weeks to help the University of California achieve carbon neutrality by 2025. Read more about the CCC results and get ready for the upcoming challenge.