UC goes green with environmetal policy

    The UC Board of Regents recently approved a policy that calls for the design of “”green”” buildings and a standard for using “”clean energy”” on July 17. The Green Building Policy and Clean Energy Standard is one of the first policies of its kind, providing systemwide guidelines allowing the UC to adopt principles of energy efficiency and sustainability for all of its capital projects.

    “”The UC has always been interested in environmental sustainability,”” said Hanan Einsenman, a representative from the University of California Office of the President. “”There is a responsibility to be environmentally sustainable in how the buildings are designed, it as a good example for students, and the UC benefits financially.””

    The policy also calls for the reduction of usage of non-renewable energy, consistent with budgetary constraints and requirements, by purchasing green power from electrical grid, promoting energy efficiency and creating local renewable resources.

    Implementation guidelines for the pol cy are still being finalized. One recommendation will include an internal certification process that will be similar to the industry standard for rating the environmental sustainability of a building, also known as LEED. The process will allow for the UC to design and build new buildings to the minimum standard equivalent to the LEED certified rating of “”silver”” or higher.

    “”In reducing and creating renewable energy, we feel that this is a beneficial policy. Itís the right thing to do and weíre very pleased with it,”” Einsenman said.

    The Clean Energy Standard will allow for the UC to purchase grid-provided electricity from renewable sources similar to the Stateís Renewable Standard. In doing so, the UC is setting a goal for itself of acquiring 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2017. According to another recommendation, the UC also plans to provide up to 10 megawatts of local renewable power by 2014.

    According to Assistant Vice Chancellor of Auxiliary & Plant Services Gary Matthews, the UCSD campus has been working to meet all the required standards for energy conservation.

    “”Our newer buildings ó 10 years or younger ó are very energy-efficient from a construction point of view,”” Matthews said. “”But we desperately need the support and assistance of all on campus to ensure that we do not waste resources needlessly.””

    Evaluation of the policy began in December 2002, when the UC Board of Regents requested for the president to conduct a feasibility study stating the financial impacts on such a standard. A committee was also set up in order to help with the policy process. Committee members range from officials from the California Energy Commission and the State Consumer Services Agency, faculty members with the expertise in the issue and administrators from each UC campus.

    Student representatives from all campuses, who helped to pass referenda requesting the UC to create guidelines for building and purchasing that would promote environmental sustainability, were also able to meet with the committee. The California Student Sustainability Coalition was one group that lobbied for the UC to adopt policies that are practical while at the same time, energy-efficient.

    “”The campaign came together from many angles,”” CSSC President Mark Zabala said. “”Students worked at many levels to get the Regentsí attention, which was admittedly pretty hard.””

    The CSSC, along with student groups from all nine campuses, was able to pass out and have over 10,000 postcards signed and sent to the UC Regents. According to Zabala, the different student groups proposed and negotiated with the board.

    “”It’s less than what we asked for but it’s still very significant,”” Zabala said. “”It’s sort of a groundbreaking policy that will set a roadmap for other schools to follow.””

    The UCOP is yet to finalize a draft of recommendations for implementation. An annual report to be submitted to the Regents will also follow the policy’s progress.

    “”I think that ultimately the University will be held responsible for implementing the policy,”” Zabala said. “”Students will continue to work in campuses with chancellors, staff and faculty to make sure that the plan will be implemented correctly and is cost-efficient.””

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