Deep Energy Efficiency

California Advanced Solar Technologies Institute UC Merced

Already a leader in the shift to sustainable energy systems, in 2013 the University of California Carbon Neutrality Initiative made a commitment to re-doubling efforts toward climate stability. The goal is net zero greenhouse gas emissions from UC’s buildings and vehicle fleet by 2025.

Energy efficiency is a primary strategy for achieving carbon neutrality. Impressive energy efficiency retrofits over the last decade have already avoided at least 13% additional GHG emissions UC system-wide relative to 2015. There is potential to double or triple this progress, but the pace needs to quicken to meet imperatives for climate protection evident in the 2025 goal.

Read more about the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative.

With support from UC’s Global Climate Leadership Council and CITRIS, the project Deep Energy Efficiency seeks a path to achieve the full potential for energy efficiency within the urgent timeframe for greenhouse gas reduction.

Getting to Scale

Initial work by the multicampus team (UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Los Angeles, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, Berkeley Lab, UC Office of the President and ARC Alternatives) produced the report “Deep Energy Efficiency: Getting to Scale.” This effort focused on planning methodology and financing alternatives. Lighting is the end-use system studied in detail—to illustrate development of planning-level retrofit project designs from leading-edge reference projects.

The challenge of energy efficiency is in the multitude of energy using components that must be addressed in a variety of scenarios. For lighting in the UC system that manifests as over a million lighting fixtures to be considered as candidates for retrofit—usually with Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology and a variety of controls designed for a diversity of space types.

“Deep Energy Efficiency: Getting To Scale” (PDF)

TomKat Natural Gas Exit Strategies Working Group

The value of deep energy efficiency has been further explored with the TomKat UC Carbon Neutrality Project, through participation in the Natural Gas Exit Strategies Working Group. This 27-member team included researchers, students, energy operations staff, and administrators—representing five UC campuses, Berkeley Lab, and the UC Office of the President. The resulting report explores deep energy efficiency along with biogas and electrification in the context of comprehensive de-carbonization. The findings are applicable beyond the UC system, as an example of how large campuses can plan toward carbon neutrality.

Read more about the Working Group and access the report “Strategies for Replacing Natural Gas to Help Decarbonize the University of California”:

See our commentary in Nature Climate Change.