Rethinking Energy

Making Smart Choices

person at computer with constructed geometric forms behind her

Rethinking our energy is about saving it, making smart choices about how and when we use and store it, and supplying our needs with renewable sources. It  also means positioning ourselves to be open and ready to incorporate new technology when the time is right and finding creative ways to finance it. The energy landscape is changing rapidly and we are learning to be nimble and strategic about adapting to it.

Opportunities for rethinking:

  • As the main campus cogeneration plant and system is aging, there is a time-sensitive need to identify new opportunities for Berkeley to improve the energy delivery system and consider alternative fuel sources for the main campus. Studies are underway.
  • The UC system renewable energy programs for electricity and biogas are being realized; Berkeley is thus gaining greater access to affordable carbon-free energy provided.
  • By finding strategic ways to improve existing space use, Berkeley has reduced need for new building over the next decade, thereby increasing options for zero-net energy growth.
  • Berkeley’s compact and urban setting offers ways for the campus to collaborate with the city and region on issues of mutual concern like vehicle electrification networks and community choice electricity procurement programs. 
  • The campus will have opportunity in the next decade to replace up to 80% of our aging fleet vehicles with more efficient, electric, and alternative fuel models. 35% to 50% of the fleet carbon emissions could be reduced and diesel combustion eliminated.
  • The campus is building much needed student and faculty housing. This investment in housing near the campus will reduce fuel from commutes and make walking and biking the preferred way to get to campus.
  • As the campus embarks on a new Long Range Development Plan, 21st century energy infrastructure planning will be integrated.  

Energy Policy Drives Change

The UC Policy on Sustainable Practices helps to direct and enable change.

  • Recent additions to the policy to support clean energy call for campuses to reduce energy-use intensity (energy per square foot per year) by 2 percent year over year through more efficient measures.
  • By 2025 UC campuses are required to procure 100% carbon-free electricity.
  • No new UC buildings or major renovations, except in special circumstances, will use on-site fossil fuel combustion, such as natural gas, for space and water heating.

The campus's Energy Use Policy provides a local framework to support energy-efficient decisions. The policy outlines energy conservation practices for heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, equipment, construction and renovation projects.

Learn more about Berkeley energy

See our Energy Goals and Performance 

Meeting carbon neutrality is all about rethinking energy.  Find out more about our Carbon Reduction Performance  and our Zero Carbon strategies.

Engage to change how you use energy in our offices, classrooms, labs, and residence halls.

Understand our real-time electricity use and solar production on the campus Energy Dashboards.

Updated September 2018

Climate Consciousness

map of carbon emissions by Bay Area neighborhood

An interactive map demonstrates the carbon emissions in the Bay Area, neighborhood by neighborhood. What is your carbon footprint(link is external)?

Graphic credit: UC Berkeley News

Rethinking Lighting

strategic lighting at the law school cafe

Strategically thinking about how we light spaces saves energy on campus and beyond 

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

 Jacobs Hall

Solar Array at Jacobs Hall