Getting to Zero Emissions

Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategies

infrastructure wires with orange safety cone

The primary greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategy includes reducing resource use through energy efficiency and taking actions to save energy, using more renewable energy, and adpoting other programs that reduce carbon impacts. 

Energy Saving Initiatives

The Energy Office tracks, monitors, and manages energy usage campus-wide to reduce energy costs; improve design, performance, and operation of buildings; and provide feedback on energy usage to building occupants. It continuously monitors the operations and maintenance of campus facilities and will be in contact with Building Managers regarding their facilities’ operation and utility consumption.

The Energy Office also manages many types of energy efficiency projects including monitoring-based commissioning, new lighting, and HVAC system upgrades. Completed projects save the campus millions in energy costs each year. These projects support the UC system-wide goal of reducing campus energy use at least 2% each year. 

On-Site Renewable Energy

The campus added 1MW of on-site solar electricity.  This includes five rooftop installations on the main campus and one carport installation at University village.  The campus also has one on-site solar thermal systems on a residence hall.  Read more.

Purchasing Clean Power

In 2018, UC Berkeley moved eligible electricity accounts (6 million kWh annually) to the East Bay Community Energy Brilliant 100 program. This move was cost neutral and is saving 1,200 tons of carbon emissions a year.

Fuel Use Reduction Projects

Strategies also include programs focused on changing the way the campus community members commute, reducing air travel by using video and web conferencing, and creating less waste.

Berkeley is having particular success in reducing the fuel use from the campus fleet and from commuting.  The fleet has become smaller and greener over time, and the campus offers a comprehensive package of transportation options and financial incentives to support sustainable commutes. Over 80% of commuters now walk, bicycle, rideshare, or take public transit

Berkeley has invested in student housing in walking distance to campus and after leaving the residence halls many students choose to live near campus or a bus ride away.  Fuel use is down over 25% from the year 1990 much in part the result of these efforts.

Renewable Energy Credits and Offsets

CalCAP continues to explore what additional projects may be feasible while beginning to identify the types and availability of renewable energy credits (RECs) and carbon offsets in the event that reduction targets are not met through investment on-campus. CalCAP has developed Draft Guidelines for Renewable Energy Certificates & Carbon Offsets.

SEP Project Highlight

Life Valley Science Building UC Berkeley

The Strategic Energy Plan (SEP) completed three different projects in VLSB building this past year, which reduced electricity use by 2.5 million kWh – or 10% of the total reductions achieved across campus in the last seven years .  How did they do it?  Tuning up the building, retrofitting lighting, reducing air exchange rates, and cleaning coils – seemingly complex tasks that are the bread and butter of the SEP. 

Bike to Work

cyclist on bike to work day

Bike to Work Day promotes
zero carbon transportation among UC employees