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How green is your campus?

June 18, 2009 |  1:21 pm


Colleges across the nation don't just compete on academics and sports. They vie over who is greenest and how to become more sustainable.

On Sunday, June 21, representatives from 70 campuses of the University of California, California State University and California Community Colleges systems will gather for four days of workshops and speeches in Santa Barbara at the 8th annual California Campus Sustainability Conference.

Anyone can watch the live webcast online by signing up for free Web registration and choosing among the sessions, which cover such topics as energy efficiency for medical centers and labs, sustainable food programs, and initiatives to reach carbon neutrality and zero waste.

In addition, videos can be watched online about two weeks after the conference through the home page at

The conference, titled "Working Our Way to Zero," will honor standout programs in building retrofits and operations, efficient lighting, and environmentally friendly design.

The sessions include:

Monday, June 22, 10 a.m.: UC Davis' new Brewery Winery and Food Processing building would be the world's first wine-production to be fully solar-powered at peak load, equipped to sequester all carbon dioxide from fermentations, and operating on captured rainwater for cleaning.

Monday, June 22, 10-11:30 a.m. Labs and data centers are notorious energy hogs. Here's how Lawrence Berkeley National Labs used innovative technologies to slash energy use.

Tuesday, June 23: 10:30-11:45 a.m.: Three different approaches to institutionalizing sustainability from UC Merced, UC San Diego and Pomona College, with an emphasis on food, energy and water systems.

Tuesday, June 23: 1-2 p.m. How new technology can save as much as $4 per square foot on campuses, while improving the indoor environment.

With 225,000 students and 180,000 faculty and staff on 10 campuses and five medical centers, the UC system is widely recognized as a leader in environmental initiatives. Statewide, it has 23 buildings certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.

UC has also set a goal of "zero-waste" by 2020, to recycle or compost 100% of its solid waste.

-- Margot Roosevelt

Photo: Solar panels over a parking lot at East Los Angeles College. Credit: Karen Tapia-Andersen / Los Angeles Times