UCSB continues to excel as a leader in sustainability
through the collaborative efforts of
students, staff and faculty to keep ahead of
advances in green technology.
Since creating one of the nation’s first environmental
studies programs in 1970, UCSB
has made monumental progress implementing
waste diversion, sustainable energy, water
conservation and alternative transportation
programs. Continuing its sterling reputation
for sustainable efforts, UCSB has renovated
many campus buildings with modern energyefficient
initiatives such as solar panels and
pledges to generate 75 percent of its power
needs through renewable sources by 2030.
According to Grant Keefe, UCSB’s
sustainability coordinator and The Green
Initiative Fund grants manager, collective
efforts from members throughout the community
have helped UCSB along in its role as
a leader in university sustainability.
“Sustainability presents challenges that
are truly multidisciplinary, and our campus’
students, faculty and staff have demonstrated
their commitment to resolving these challenges
through their collaboration with one
another,” Keefe said.
Last spring, students approved a $3.4 million
Renewable Energy Initiative to achieve
zero net energy operation at UCSB’s Student
Affairs buildings by 2020. The studentapproved
referendum gives UCSB the highest
amount of student funding for onsite renewable
energy projects of any U.S. university.
For the most part, Geography Dept.
Executive Officer and UCSB Sustainability
member Mo Lovegreen said the campus’
largest sustainability projects are embodied in
its physical institutions.
In constructing and renovating facilities,
UCSB strongly adheres to the U.S. Green
Building Council’s Leadership in Energy
and Environmental Design portfolio program,
which has certified 25 of UCSB’s
buildings. In fact, UCSB requires all upcoming
construction to meet the standards of
LEED’s Gold certification. UCSB has also
implemented modern advances in renewable
energy and sustainability within various
buildings on campus, such as the University
Center, Recreation Center and all four dining
“[UCSB has] the most LEED certified
buildings in the UC system,” Keefe said. “We
achieved LEED [Existing Building] Gold
for our Marine Sciences Research Building
last month and the Bren School was the first
LEED Double-Platinum building in the
Furthermore, UCSB’s Rec Cen features
sustainable photovoltaic panels that provide
70 percent of the building’s energy.
The university plans to install solar water
systems in the Rec Cen that will supply
heated water to the pools while reducing
power and costs.
UCSB also recently signed a new waste
management contract with MarBorg
Industries, a company focused on recycling
and waste management. According to the
contract, UCSB expects to attain an 80 percent
recycling rate by 2015 and is required
to meet a “zero waste” target by 2020. The
new contract allowed for the distribution of
100 new co-mingled recycling bins around
campus, Keefe said.
The UCen recently instigated an extensive
recycling program which recycles used cooking
oil for biodiesel. Additionally, 80 percent
of coffee sold in the UCen must now be certified
Fair Trade or organic and seven percent
of produce must be locally grown and organic.
UCen restrooms also boast waterless urinals
and 100 percent recycled-content hand towels.
The dining commons also executed many
new sustainability procedures that led to a
large reduction in energy usage, waste and
necessary funds. The implementation of trayless
dining in the 2009-2010 year led to a 54
percent decrease in food waste, and all the
school’s dining commons also recycle plastics,
glass, cardboard, organic food waste, coffee
grounds, fryer oil, light bulbs, old equipment
and even metals. Other improved areas
include energy-efficient light
bulbs throughout campus and
a community garden located
near Harder Stadium where
herbs are grown with fertilizer
made with compost produced
at the De la Guerra
Dining Commons.
Faculty, administrators
and deans formed the
Chancellor’s Sustainability
Committee in 2008 to
address sustainability from
an administrative position.
“The CSC currently
advises campus administrators
and the Chancellor on
matters of campus sustainability,”
Keefe said. “[It]
makes recommendations for
campus sustainability projects,
helps prioritize sustainability
goals, monitors the
campus’ progress toward
meeting the goals of its sustainability
plan, makes recommendations
on allocations
of available funding resources
and provides guidance in the
creation and fostering of alliances.”
Keefe said having an
environmentally conscious
student body is another
main component of keeping
the university progressively
“The campus community
contributes to UCSB’s
sustainability efforts,” Keefe
said. “By switching off lights,
printing double-sided or
taking the extra moment to
recycle, individuals make the
everyday choices that drive
the success of the campus’
sustainability programs and
drastically reduce our impact
on the environment.”
Environmental Affairs
Board Co-Chair Andrew
Dunn, a fifth-year film and
media studies major, said the
student-run EAB is focused
on making UCSB an environmentally-
friendly community.
“One of EAB’s central
goals is to make UCSB more
efficient when it comes to
energy and resource consumption,”
Dunn said. “We
work with the campus organization
[Program for the
Assessment and Certification
for the Environment and
Sustainability] to train students
to conduct energy and
waste audits of buildings;
the data from these studies
will be used to find ways to
reduce energy usage, which
both benefits UCSB financially
and limits our campus’
negative impact on our environment.”
According to Dunn, EAB
has been a major contributor
to on-campus sustainability
renovations including the
trayless dining used in all
UCSB dining commons as
well as The Green Initiative
“EAB created The Green
Initiative Fund at UCSB,
which funds projects that
enhance the environment and
lower the impact of the campus,”
Dunn said. “With the
help of [California Student
Sustainability Coalition],
other California schools now
run TGIF programs.”