The nation’s research universities are at the vanguard of experimenting with how to use energy more efficiently in order to reduce their carbon footprint and save money. Because campuses are in essence small cities, with their own buildings, hospitals, transportation systems, electrical power generation and transmission facilities, and populations in the tens of thousands, they are ideal societal test beds for the green infrastructure revolution. Extending their mission as land-grant institutions, they can transfer best practices to society at large, speeding the ability of California and the nation to improve energy efficiency and meet carbon-reduction goals.
UC San Diego and UC Irvine have strong records in energy and water efficiency, reducing waste streams, and utilizing renewable energy sources. Calit2 is integrating the advances made by the facilities operators and planners with faculty, staff and student research. In addition, the institute is exploring the use of novel materials, new technologies and data-driven control systems to lower energy costs and reduce unnecessary use of water and other constrained resources. Calit2 will focus on three themes: reducing the energy intensity of campus IT and telecom equipment; improving energy efficiency through smart buildings and intelligent transportation; and reducing travel by using virtual/physical collaboration systems. Lessons learned in the institute’s two-campuses experimental urban setting can help drive society’s move to a lower-carbon economy.