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The dashboard shows real-time, building-specific electricity use throughout campus.
An overview of energy conservation projects on campus.
UC Davis departments can get rebates for replacing or retiring inefficient appliances.
Energy archives for the Egghead Blog.
Learn what you can do to conserve energy at UC Davis and elsewhere.
- 5.16.13 — Student Community Center earns LEED Platinum, UC Davis’ fifth
- 4.26.13 — Good to be green: Accolades add to UC Davis’ environmental reputation
- 3.15.13 — New $58.5 million veterinary medicine research facility opens
- 2.1.13 — A year later: Progress at UC Davis West Village
- 1.25.13 — Campus turns waste water vapor to heat for Tercero 3
Campus Progress: Energy
Where we are
Improving energy systems at an institution as large as UC Davis requires examining conservation efforts, energy sources and new production technologies.
Conservation efforts at UC Davis include a wide palette of strategies, including facility retrofits, equipment exchanges and efficient new designs. Campaigns to help individuals conserve energy in offices and classrooms have also yielded considerable energy savings.
In 2006-08, campus completed 35 infrastructure projects for an annual savings of 8.5 million kilowatt-hours per year and 2.8 million therms of natural gas. Cost savings for these projects are estimated at $3 million per year. The renovations have included air conditioning, monitoring systems, steam traps, central chilling plant conversion and lighting upgrades.
The Strategic Energy Partnership with PG&E is helping continue these upgrades in 2009-11, with more than 160 projects throughout campus. The costs will be partially paid for with PG&E funding and energy-cost savings. Combined, the projects are expected to save more than 35 million kwh, 2.2 million therms and $5.1 million annually.
Most of campus electricity is purchased from utility companies, which in 2008 included a mix of 45 percent natural gas, 17 percent coal, 15 percent nuclear, 13 percent hydro, 4 percent geothermal, 2 percent biomass, 2 percent wind and 1 percent solar. For heating and cooling, the campus uses large boilers in a central plant, with about 92 percent of heating energy derived from natural gas, and 4 percent from biomass.
UC Davis supplies a small amount of its own electricity and heating with renewable resources. In campus cooperative housing, solar photovoltaic cells supply power, while solar heating is used in several other buildings. Methane captured from the campus landfill is used to power the boiler of a nearby research center. Work is under way to install additional solar cells on campus, and funding has been secured to create an on-site waste-to-energy system for UC Davis West Village.
Keeping an eye on the ‘Dashboard’
To help enable conservation by campus energy users, UC Davis Facilities Management has created the Utilities Consumption Dashboard website to quantify campus energy use in real time.
Users can see a particular building's daily electrical use by the hour. That data can be compared side by side with the previous week's average or with another building's energy use on campus. Because electrical load can vary seasonally, statistics are also available by month since 2007. Campus-wide electrical use is also available on the site.
By analyzing spikes in energy use, the campus can isolate peak times or diagnose inefficient equipment, such as old freezers and refrigerators that need to be replaced.
Saving energy with smarter lighting
In 2010, UC Davis announced it will reduce energy use related to campus lighting by 60 percent over five years. Between 2007 and 2010, campus reduced lighting energy use by 10 percent.
Meeting this goal is a joint venture with the California Lighting Technology Center, a campus research unit that demonstrates new lighting technologies aimed at wide-scale, commercial use. Using new lighting technologies on campus not only saves energy costs, but allows UC Davis to serve as a model for the rest of California by demonstrating effective new technologies in a real-world setting.
With help from the center, parking structures on campus have been retrofitted with either efficient LED or induction lighting equipped with bi-level motion sensors. The system's motion sensors dim the LED lights by half when people are not present. As a car or pedestrian moves through the parking structure, motion sensors signal the lights to brighten. The LED lights alone provide an estimated 50 percent energy savings compared to energy used by conventional lights. When lights are dimmed by the motion sensors, cost savings are closer to 80 percent. Retrofits like these in the West Entry Parking Structure save 1.36 million kwh per year. Parking lots on campus are also being equipped with these more efficient lighting systems.
The campus is using motion sensors to save energy indoors, too. In residence hall bathrooms, for example, vanity mirror lights make use of motion-sensor technology to turn off when residents are absent. The new systems eliminate three to four hours of lighting each day.
- 2010. Sierra Magazine's Cool Schools College Rankings, UC Davis survey response
- 2008. Energy Conservation Newsletter, UC Davis Office of Administration
- 2010. College Sustainability Report Card, UC Davis survey response
- 2009. UC Davis Sustainability Initiatives presentation at Landscape Architecture Lunchbag Lecture Series
- 2009. New 'Smart' Lighting Makes Parking Greener and Safer
- 2007. University of California, Davis Bathroom Vanity Lighting Retrofit
- 2010. Climate Action Plan (Appendix 3)