Energy Goals

GOAL: By 2014, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels.

STATUS: Achieved

GOAL: Achieve climate neutrality from building and fleet use by 2025.

STATUS: On track


  • Campus greenhouse gas emissions have remained fairly stable over the last three years and are 4% below 1990 levels. Steam use has dropped for the fourth straight year, likely due to efficiency measures at the plant and reduced steam demands during the warmer/dryer winters.  The campus now uses a higher California Air Resources Board emissions factor for our purchased steam, to better align with cap and trade reporting.  Electricity use has also decreased since 2012 by over 4 million kWh, resulting from energy efficiency efforts.  Interestingly, the 2014 electricity emissions factor from PG&E increased, perhaps due to the drought and hydropower production
  • Over the last three years, the Energy Office has served as a catalyst and “one-stop-shop” for energy use reductions on campus. Applying a blended approach of engineering, analysis, and technical skills, the Office works across traditional organizational silos to achieve its goals.
  • Software that shows real-time energy use  for campus buildings has been installed in over 100 buildings. Ultimately the campus will have over 140 live dashboards, which help to visualize cumulative impact of individual energy savings.  Analytics also provide real-time feedback on building-level interval data, which helps with identification of anomalies and addressing large system malfunctions. 

Spotlight: Projects and Initiatives

Campus Opts into Cap and Trade Program

Berkeley made a strategic decision in 2014 to voluntarily opt into the state cap and trade program in order to secure the transition allowances being provided to UC campuses.  The transition allowances for Berkeley are for years 2015 through 2020 and are for both stationary combustion sources and the thermal output purchases for steam. Environment, Health & Safety is managing the annual regulatory reporting to the California Air Resources Board.

Climate Readiness Institute

The mission of the newly founded Climate Readiness Institute (CRI) is to develop the cutting-edge climate science, adaptation strategies, and mitigation tools needed to ensure a resilient, low carbon Bay Area and beyond.  The CRI brings together academics and practitioners to identify critical information gaps and policy challenges related to climate change, conduct scientific analyses of current and proposed adaptation strategies, and assess new mitigation strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Student Group Wins Sustainability Best Practice Awards

The PowerSave Campus student group was honored for its LED Microscope Retrofits Project (funded by a 2014 TGIF grant), which replaced metal halide lamps in the Molecular Imaging Center with more efficient LED-powered lamps. Read more.

 marketing and finance.  Read more.

Inaugural UC Carbon Slam Winner 

Alexis Shusterman won the University’s first Carbon Slam competition for her project BEACO2N: High-Resolution Carbon Monitoring, in the Climate Impact Live Pitch category.  The Carbon Slam is a system-wide event to bring together selected students from all ten University of California campuses. Students present their climate change science and solution research in 3-minute pitches and posters before a panel of esteemed judges and guests for a chance to win cash prizes.  The Carbon Slam highlights the important work that UC students and faculty are conducting to understand the impacts of climate change and to develop new innovations, practices, and policies for mitigating those impacts.

Energy Highlights

  • An energy management system that controls ventilation, temperature, lights, and operating hours is used in 70 buildings on the main campus.
  • UC Berkeley received a City of Berkeley Energy Benchmarking Award in November 2012.
  • The student-run Berkeley Energy Resources Collaborative  (BERC) hosts an annual energy symposium.
  • Residence hall competitions to reduce electricity consumption and CFL exchanges are held each semester.
  • The Cal Energy Corps is an undergraduate internship program created to engage students in the design, development, and delivery of sustainable energy and climate solutions around the world.

Energy Policy

The campus's Energy Use Policy, approved by the EMI Steering Committee in 2013, was developed to provide a local framework to support energy-efficient decisions. The policy outlines new energy conservation practices for heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, equipment, construction and renovation projects.

Click here for the text of the policy.

Who Works on This?

UC Berkeley's successful energy effeciency program is due to the innovative work of the Strategic Energy Plan and the Energy Office.

  • Strategic Energy ProgramThe SEP is an incentive-based partnership with our local utility, PG&E, and includes monitoring-based commissioning, new lighting, and HVAC system upgrades.

  • Energy Office: The Energy Office manages energy usage campus-wide to reduce energy costs, optimize building operation, and provide feedback on energy usage to building occupants. 

Research Spotlight

Check out Dan Kammen’s presentation: “How do we bring together new technologies with best policy practices to help electrify the developing world?”

Solar Power at Cal

UC Berkeley is now producing 1 MW of solar PV through recent installations at five locations on campus: the MLK Student Union, Eshleman Hall, the Recreational Sports Facility field house, the University Village carport solar system, and Jacobs Hall (shown below)  Read more about UC Berkeley's solar power here

Take Action!

Take Action

Want to learn more about UC Berkeley's energy usage and how you can help lower it? Check out these energy saving tips for creative ways to save energy in your lab, office, or residence hall.