UCLA ahead of schedule on sustainability goals
UCLA on the path to meeting UC's sustainable policy goals six years ahead of schedule
“If we teach students how to live more sustainably, those students will teach other students, and we will get many more people living environmentally friendly,
By James Barragan
Originally published in Daily Bruin
UCLA is on course to meet the University of California’s sustainability policy goals of reaching 1990 greenhouse gas levels by 2014 – six years earlier than planned.
Since 2005, UCLA has taken a number of actions to make the campus more environmentally friendly.
These efforts include making buildings more sustainable, switching to more energy efficient technology, and educating students about how to be more sustainable, according to a UCLA Housing and Hospitality Services document on sustainability.
UCLA Assistant Vice Chancellor Pete Angelis said one way the university is reaching the UC’s target is by housing more students on campus, which can reduce the number of trips students take to and from campus.
Reducing trips to campus decreases carbon monoxide emissions from vehicles, which in turn helps decrease the total amount of greenhouse gases that are released both in the UCLA community and in the general L.A. area, Angelis said.
Robert Gilbert, sustainability manager for Housing and Hospitality services, said all the new buildings will be certified by the United States Green Building Council, to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards. These standards are set by the USGBC to ensure that buildings improve water efficiency, decrease carbon monoxide emissions and increase savings.
UCLA Housing and Hospitality services is in the process of retrofitting 26 buildings on campus to improve their heating, venting and air conditioning to make them more energy efficient. These buildings include lecture halls and residence halls.
Gilbert said all the buildings being constructed and renovated are required to be LEED-silver, a ranking in the LEED rating system.
An additional change has been switching to organic and more local foods, which has helped decrease UCLA’s greenhouse gas emissions, said Nurit Katz, UCLA sustainability coordinator.
As opposed to regular farming, organic farming uses fewer petroleum-based products in the production of their foods, Katz said. By switching to organic food, UCLA has lessened the use of petroleum and other chemicals that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
Katz also said UCLA’s use of more local food providers reduces greenhouse gas emissions by cutting the long trips that would have to be made to deliver those products to the university.
The prices of organic and local foods vary depending on the product, but may be more expensive because they come from local farms that can not compete on the same scale as larger food producers, Gilbert said. He added that at times the local and organic products can cost the same or even less because they are produced closer to home and do not have to be transported.
While all of these changes on campus have contributed to the reduction of greenhouse gases, Katz highlighted UCLA Sustainability’s education of students as one of the main things that allowed for the emission reductions.
“We want to educate our students to think environmentally because that creates a ripple effect,” Katz said.
“If we teach students how to live more sustainably, those students will teach other students, and we will get many more people living environmentally friendly.”
Published: Friday, November 05, 2010