UC Santa Barbara

April 28th - May 1st, 2021: Climate Justice Symposium for Transforming Education; July 2021 CHESC

Host Campus

UCSB Sustainability

At the University of California, Santa Barbara our goals are to approach environmental issues head on and innovate solutions to improve the environment. We use the campus as a living lab and everyone has a role to play in making the campus sustainable. We foster a culture of sustainability through supporting campus-wide efforts, coordinating program development, and publicizing sustainability work by students, staff, and faculty. The environmental movement in the United States began on the coastline surrounding UCSB and we strive to train our students to engage in the processes to advance environmental stewardship not just on campus, but throughout their lives as they go into the workforce after graduation.



Much of the 2016/2017 academic year was spent working on Presidential Initiatives for Climate Neutrality and Food. UCSB also hosted the conference last year in June, which included participation from all 10 of the UC’s, the Office of the President, 23 of the CSU’s, the CSU Chancellor’s Office, many of the private Universities in California, as well as about one-third of the City Colleges within California. In addition, the Academic Senate Sustainability Working Group (SWG), completed its ninth year of work focusing on sustainability in academics and research, along with student funded initiatives, The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF), The Coastal Fund, and the Renewable Energy Initiative (REI).



  • UCSB KITP Residence received a LEED Platinum Certification, the highest possible rating for sustainable design under the category “LEED for Homes.” UCSB is the only campus in the system with any “LEED for Homes” certifications.
  • Gold Certified (Version 2.1 , Nov. 2016), Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS). Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
  • Gold Certified (2016), Bicycle Friendly University, League of American Bicyclists.


Energy and Climate

  • In the process of installing five new solar arrays which will bring UCSB’s on campus solar energy production up to 5.3 megawatts-AC and yield about 10 percent of the campus’ current total electricity use.
  • Won 2017 Best Practice Award in Lighting Design and Retrofits for the Student Affairs and Administrative Services Building Advanced Lighting and Controls Project.
  • Created a public facing Energy Dashboard to provide the UCSB community with real time energy consumption information and building energy use comparisons throughout campus
  • UCSB reduced its per square foot electricity use by 39 percent since 1998
  • Completed a comprehensive Climate Action plan that included growth and emissions projections along with emissions reduction strategies that will get us closer to the 2025 Carbon neutrality goal

MissionAchieve a climate neutral campus through energy efficiency, conservation, onsite generation, and strategic procurement of clean and renewable energy.



  • In 2016/2017, 41% of food purchases by the UCen were sustainable and 33% of food purchases by HDAE were sustainable.
  • The UCEN developed a food recovery pilot program in conjunction with the Food Security Taskforce’s Food Recovery Coordinator for ready-made prepared foods. HRAE is also working on several projects including recipes to reduce food waste and properly portioning menu options offered in the dining commons.
  • Established a guideline for what healthy and nutritious food is. The Food, Nutrition, and Basic Skills program collaborated with its partners to develop a set of guidelines to use for FNBS workshops moving forward.  This set of guidelines was built from past work of Student Health, HDAE, and Health and Wellness.
  • Developed a UCSB Food Security Action Plan.
  • Developed a survey mechanism to collect annual data on food insecurity of UCSB students, institutionalizing the initial survey done in 2014- 2015.
  • UCen will begin piloting CalFresh at the largest convenience store on campus (the Arbor) in 2017/2018 academic year. This and the GCFM pilot will pave the way for future expansions of CalFresh on campus.
  • The Edible Campus Program (ECP) has planted 7 citrus trees as part of the Urban Orchard; installed two hydroponic vertical gardens; and has identified a location for a campus farm. The ECP also integrated students from the Graduate School of Education into gardening and farming projects on campus.
  • Secured a multi-campus research grant to explore issues related to obtaining food from our oceans.

MissionOur campus will be a community with equitable access to healthy food to nourish and sustain themselves and their families. Students, staff, and faculty will have a direct connection to their food system and we will work toward regional self-sufficiency.  The campus will also actively support such practices in the neighboring and global communities through our food choices, policies, operations, and academic programs.


Landscape and Biotic Environment

  • Switched from using petro-chemical oils in small equipment to the use of environmentally friendly and safety enhanced bio-oil.
  • Mapped all stormwater features on campus – e.g., bioswales, outfalls, CDS (Continuous Deflection System) units, and rain gardens (could be a sustainability intern project), including an assessment of filtration methodology.
  • Last year a weed management plan was formally reviewed and adopted by campus.
  • CCBER is working with local band of Coastal Chumash and Barbareno people on integrating traditional land management practices such as grassland burning and hand digging bulbs as well as appropriate interpretive signage as part of the NCOS project. CCBER and Grounds support the Ethnobotany living garden by SSRB in conjunction with local members of Native American tribes.

MissionTo increase biodiversity of the campus flora, maintain it as a living collection, enhance the utility of the campus as a classroom, and raise awareness about sustainable practices and self-sustaining systems, while reducing dependency on fossil fuels, extracted minerals, pesticides, and potable water.



  • 312 excess chemicals have been shared through a collaborative program built by Environmental Health and Safety and LabRATS
  • UCSB exceeds the UC requirement of using a minimum of 30% recycled content in all office copy paper, with 35% of all paper purchases in FY 2015/16 being over 70% recycled, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Mix certified, or FSC Recycled certified.[1]
  • Over 50% of all applicable electronic purchases on campus meet the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) Gold registration level, certifying that these products meet the highest environmental criteria for electronics across their complete product lifecycle from design to recycling.
  • Green certified products (FSC, Green Seal, UL ECOLOGO, and U.S. EPA Safer Choice) accounted for 64% ($391,855.81 of the total $614,804.50) of all janitorial cleaning products in fiscal year 2015/16.
  • In 2016, Procurement collaborated with Facilities Management and Residential Services to develop a module within the Pest Management RFP that ensures sustainable bee capturing in lieu of extermination.



  • Added MTD bus line 28 (8/17).
  • Contracted and hosted a Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle from 9/27/16-10/25/16 for faculty and staff to test drive.
  • In partnership with the City of Santa Barbara, the County of Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Waterfront, the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce, The Audacious Foundation, Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara City College Foundation, MTD, Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, the Community Environmental Council, and the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition, completed crafting the South Coast Bike Share Feasibility Report (5/17)
  • With this same partnership group, completed the Request for Information (RFI) call and are currently finalizing the selection process for a bike share vendor.
  • Hosted Ojo scooter demo’s for students to test for one week (5/17).
  • Designed an out-of-the-box approach to travel that could significantly reduce campus Scope 3 GHG emissions from travel and commuting with minimal capital investment. The pilot will provide one folding electric bike for faculty and staff to check out and use on University travel (providing a multimodal option while in transit) and will be a working partnership with Campus Sustainability, AS Bike Shop, Risk Management, and Transportation & Parking Services.
  • 93% of our students commute to and from the campus using alternative transportation methods.
  • The campus currently has 28 electric charging stations.
  • Outsourced vanpool fleet to vRide/Enterprise.
  • 10% of our fleet is now ZEV/LEV.
  • 5 of our 6 recent purchases have been EV – our fleet mix is current 41% alternative fuel.
  • 84% of our light duty trucks are alternative fuel and/or ultra-efficient vehicles.

MissionBe a leader and catalyst in our region and the State in terms of human mobility options and alternatives to travel, advancing alternative fuels, and carbon neutral vehicle deployment.



  • Received a TGIF grant for the installation of over 20 hand dryers in high use restrooms.
  • Residential Operations introduced composting to select residences and are evaluating the program for further expansion.
  • January 2017 marked the launch of the UC system wide Zero Waste Communications Campaign, #MyLastTrash. The goal of the #MyLastTrash campaign is to change the campus community’s behavior around how they handle and reduce waste. UCSB has already planned several events around monthly themes including electronic waste, compost, waste reduction, and upcycling.

MissionTo make UCSB a Zero Waste university by ensuring waste management programs and practices effectively promote the reuse, reduction, recycling, composting, and repurposing of materials, as well as encouraging the rebuying of recycled material.



  • Water consumption for the 2016/17 academic year dropped 17% below UCSB’s three-year baseline (FY2005/06, FY2007/08).
  • When finished in 2017, two new 6-story Tenaya Towers at San Joaquin Apartments will be dual-plumbed with a recycled water system. This is estimated to save over 600,000 gallons of potable water per year.
  • San Joaquin and Pauley Track and have been approved as new locations for recycled water use.
  • Our Campus is now utilizing EnergyCAP for tracking water use tracking and reporting.

MissionTo assist in protecting and conserving water resources, with an emphasis on reducing potable consumption through conservation, efficiency practices, and behavior change.