University’s annual energy savings total more than $32 million, report says

Faith Buchanan/Staff
Durant Hall is one of several LEED certified buildings on campus.

Energy efficiency projects adopted by the University of California are resulting in more than $32 million in annual savings, according to a report presented last week to the UC Board of Regents.

The UC Annual Report on Sustainable Practices, which was discussed at the Jan. 18 board meeting at UC Riverside, states that the university added 38 green-certified facilities during 2011, bringing the UC’s total to 87 — the most of any university in the nation.

The university’s annual energy savings are up from $21 million in 2010 and are in part thanks to an energy efficiency partnership with the California State University, California Community Colleges and the state’s investor-owned utility companies.

In the years since the 2004 partnership began, the UC has received $47.5 million in grants, along with more than $150 million in campus contributions and external financing to fund energy efficiency projects.

The green-certified buildings constructed at the university were certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, which uses a multistep approach to construction considering factors such as site location, water savings, energy efficiency and choice of building materials.

At UC Berkeley, the campus has been using more local resources during construction in order to make buildings more environmentally friendly, according to Christine Shaff, communications director for the campus facilities services department.

“We have been trying to use local goods and services from less than a 100-mile radius for construction projects,” Shaff said. “In doing so, we are able to waste less and stimulate the local economy.”

Several campus buildings have been LEED certified, including Durant Hall, which received its certification last year. In the future, all new buildings on campus will be built to LEED specifications, Shaff said.

Other sustainability measures detailed in the UC report include systemwide efforts to divert waste and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Nine UC campuses have met the goal of diverting at least 50 percent of waste from landfill, while  four campuses have achieved a 65 percent diversion rate, according to the report. Eight campuses reduced their greenhouse gas emissions in 2010, and overall, the university’s 2010 emissions levels decreased by about 42,000 metric tons compared to 2009, the report states.