Southern California Edison welcomed UCSB into its Cool Planet Program in recognition of the campus’s numerous green initiatives.
The CPP promotes improved energy efficiency and environmental sustainability in businesses statewide to reduce carbon emissions to 2000 levels by 2014, 1990 emission levels by 2020 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The university spent $22 million on green renovation projects — including retrofitting its lighting and heating — since 2004, with support from SCE’s Strategic Energy Partnership and other environmental organizations to save an estimated $3 million annually.
Campus Sustainability Coordinator Jasmine Syed said administrators are collaborating with utility providers to restore and build infrastructure with greater efficiency.
“Southern California Edison and So-Cal Gas give incentives for us to make changes and we’ve formed a partnership in reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions,” Syed said.
According to Campus Manager for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Jordan Sager, some lighting renovations only required replacing outdated and inefficient bulbs and installing motion sensors in bathrooms and stairwells.
Sager said the reconstruction provides the campus with long-term savings.
“In some buildings we’ve had the same equipment from the 1960’s so replacing those can yield massive savings,” Sager said. “We’re actually using less electricity even though we’re building more buildings around campus.”
UCSB shed 3 percent of its overall energy consumption between 2010 and 2011, according to Sager.
Fourth-year global studies major Kiran Aulakh said fellow Gauchos share a responsibility to reduce environmental degradation from carbon emissions.
“It’s basically our social and ecological duty to aim for carbon neutrality,” Aulakh said. “I see all that money as an investment in sustainability.”