UC Davis has earned two best practice awards for sustainability efforts in higher education: for the campus’s smart, outdoors lighting, and for the “Cool School” awareness campaign.
The Higher Education Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Best Practice Awards are presented in conjunction with the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, held annually. This year’s is scheduled for next week, June 23-27, at UC Santa Barbara.
UC Davis won the following awards:
• Lighting Design-Retrofit — Recognizing Design and Construction Management, Utilities, Facilities Management, the California Lighting Technology Center, and the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability, for an institutional-level adaptive control system for exterior lighting. News release and video.
Part of the UC Davis Smart Lighting Initiative, the new network is saving the university an estimated 1 million kilowatt hours and $100,000 per year.
Individual lights have motion detectors, so, when no one is around, the lights shine less brightly. The network system allows facilities managers to change lighting schedules, make real-time adjustments and tailor lighting for different campus events.
The network is a model for university and corporate campuses, as well as cities and municipalities. In California, the UC Davis demonstration helped inform new state standards for exterior lighting in new construction and retrofit projects.
• Communicating Sustainability — Recognizing the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability, and Strategic Communications (formerly University Communications) for their “No. 1 Cool School” program, which also spread the word about UC Davis’ long-standing commitment to sustainability.
The communication category, added this year, recognizes projects that have done “an exemplary job in communicating sustainability across departments and disciplines on campus and to the broader community.”
The best-practice campaign stemmed from Sierra magazine’s publication last August of “America’s Coolest Schools,” in which the environmental magazine ranked UC Davis at the top, in recognition of the university’s efforts to address climate change and operate sustainably. See news release and video.
The sustainability and communications team developed a “No. 1 Cool School” brand, then put it on banners, fliers and stickers, campus sustainability maps and the university’s main website. The Cool School brand also turned up on cookies and UC Davis merchandise, and in electronic displays on athletics scoreboards.
The campaign included “Cool Facts,” displayed on the campus home page and used in a sustainability trivia quiz night at a local pub.
UC Davis hosted last year’s California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, which drew about 1,000 people representing 88 colleges and universities, primarily from California.