UC awarded for leadership in sustainability
Global Green USA is honoring the University of California for the environmental commitment the university has demonstrated through its academic, research and sustainability practices.
By Harry Mok
Originally published in UCLAToday
Global Green's California Environmental Leadership Award recognizes the UC system for its 32 LEED green-certified buildings, more than any other university in the country, and its leadership in research and educational programs focused on climate change, clean energy and other sustainability issues.
UCLA has three LEED-certified buildings, including La Kretz Hall, home of the Institute of the Environment; the renovated Public Affairs Building; and the UCLA Police Station. UC policy requires all new buildings and major renovations to strive for a LEED-Silver rating, said Nurit Katz, UCLA sustainability coordinator, who noted that an additional 18 projects in the planning or construction phases are designed to gain certification.
UC President Mark Yudof said winning the award is a "tremendous honor" that recognizes students, faculty and researchers who are transforming UC into a national leader for sustainable development.
"We view the university as a living laboratory," Yudof said. "Not only are we generating the research into sustainable ways of living, we are finding culture-shaping ways to apply it."
Yudof is accepting the award on behalf of UC at Global Green's annual Millennium Awards ceremony on Saturday, June 12, at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica.
Global Green advocates for smart solutions to climate change. It is the American arm of Green Cross International, an organization former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev founded to foster a global value shift toward a sustainable and secure future.
"Inspired by their students, the UC system has demonstrated increasing leadership on climate change — as one manifestation of that growing commitment, the UC campuses have more certified green buildings than any other university in the country," said Global Green President Matt Petersen. "Constructing a green building is not enough — thankfully, the UC system has supported sustainability practices and academic initiatives on climate change and clean technology at each and every campus, becoming a significant part of student life, campus operations and extracurricular offerings."
UC's systemwide sustainability policy includes mandates on energy efficiency, use of renewable resources, recycling, waste reduction, environmentally friendly construction methods and campus foodservice guidelines.
UC is a leader in the sustainability movement in higher education. Along with its LEED buildings, UC is at the forefront of green practices such as using clean energy sources, cutting carbon emissions, trayless dining halls and composting programs that divert waste from landfills. UC campuses are routinely in the top of green university rankings by organizations such as the Sierra Club and Princeton Review. In 2009, UCLA placed among the top 10 greenest campuses, according to Sierra Magazine, a publication of the Sierra Club.
Research in areas such as developing biofuel made from algae, super energy-efficient LED lighting, next generation solar cells and other solutions that can mitigate climate change is being conducted on all UC campuses. At UCLA, scholars at the Luskin Center for Innovation are attacking the problem of environmental sustainability from all sides, with research on solar energy incentives, renewable energy, smart water systems, climate change and the clean tech industry in Los Angeles.
Hundreds of classes and academic programs at UC are training the next generation of sustainability experts. At UCLA, student interest in environmental sustainability is surging. The Environmental Science B.S. degree, offered by the Institute of the Environment (IoE), has become one of UCLA's fastest growing majors.
Published: Wednesday, June 16, 2010