The University of California, Davis credits its collection of energy-use data to reduce the campus’ carbon footprint. But the school’s facilities management team also told EdScoop the data collection gives students the ability to study it in real time and help reduce energy consumption over the longer term.
UC Davis, along with the rest of the University of California system, pledged in 2013 to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions from its physical plant and vehicle fleet to zero by 2025, with the goal of replacing the system’s use of fossil fuels with renewable energy sources. Joshua Morejohn, UC Davis’s energy manager, told EdScoop that monitoring the energy data has allowed him and his team to adjust and improve the energy efficiency of campus buildings to stay on track with the pledge.
“Essentially it means that we’re not going to use any more [energy] than we produce,” he said.
The university uses fossil fuels for several on-campus operations, like its vehicle fleet and heating and cooling in buildings, Morejohn said. It also buys electricity from California’s grid, which is largely powered by natural gas.
But the emissions produced by that consumption have been offset by switching some campus operations to rely on renewable sources like biogas — a fuel produced from the breakdown of organic waste — and purchasing credits from emissions-free sources like wind farms.
“So the basic strategy is minimize your usage of carbon, minimize how much you’re producing,” Morejohn said.