UC Santa Barbara

July 8th – 11th, 2019


2018 Call for Best Practice Award Self-Nominations

The fourteenth annual Higher Education Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Best Practice Awards competition (at CHESC 2018) is being made possible by the Higher Education Energy Efficiency Partnership Programs, this competition is meant to:

  • Highlight the achievements that California campuses have made through innovative and effective energy efficiency projects and sustainable operations.
  • Showcase specific projects as models to be used by other campuses to achieve energy efficiency and sustainability goals.
  • Provide campus staff with a compendium of Best Practice projects that could be transferable to their campus.

Case studies detailing previous energy efficiency awardees for some award categories are available on the Green Building Research Center website.

Please see below for:

  • Timeline
  • Application/Nomination Instructions
  • Eligibility
  • Award Categories
  • Review Process
  • Alternative Instructions for the Sustainability Champion Awards
  • Requirements/Expectations of Selected Winners


Date Activity
3/21/2018 Deadline for CCC and Private Colleges to submit best practice award applications.  We are no longer accepting applications from UC or CSU campuses.
4/23/2018 Best practice award and speaker selection decisions made and invitations sent out.

Application/Nomination Instructions

Deadline: March 21st, 2018.  Deadline for CCC and Private Colleges to submit best practice award applications.  We are no longer accepting applications from UC or CSU campuses. 

You may apply directly through Proposal Space (our proposal management software) or you may download our application form to develop your answers for all categories other that the Sustainability Champion (see section below on alternative instructions for the Sustainability Champion awards).  Please note that all people who would speak on your best practice award if you are selected will also have to answer the speaker questions Those questions can be found on the application form or on this document highlighting only the questions co-speakers need to answer. If you are working in proposal space, you can save periodically to ensure your answers are kept if you cannot complete the application in one sitting. If you are concerned about technical difficulties or to be extra careful, you can always use the downloaded application form to draft answers and then copy and paste those into proposal space. Once you have drafted your answers, please go to our online form to enter your data.  Please note that due to word limits, if you try and enter in more words than is possible, the software will not allow for words beyond the limit to be included.  For example if the word limit is 150 and you copy and paste in 155 words, the last 5 words may not appear.  Please be attentive to this when you are entering in your data.   We ask that anyone who is able to, submit their proposal through Proposal Space.  Please do not email us a copy of your application unless you are having technical difficulties or have special needs.  In those cases, we will be happy to accept your application via email sent to

Please direct any questions to Katie Maynard  Emails are easier for us to respond to quickly than phone calls. If you need to reach us on the phone, please call 805-448-5111.  Please note that CHESC staff do not make decisions on award applications, we can give advice on crafting your nomination, but ultimately the best practice review committees will choose the award winners and we cannot predict what proposals will or will not be accepted until all applications/nominations are submitted and reviewed.


This year we are opening the award competition to private colleges and universities in California, California Community Colleges, California State University campuses, and University of California campuses.   Please note that for California Community Colleges, we are accepting nominations in all categories other than the Sustainability Champion.  For the CCC Sustainability Champion, we will be recognizing the Sustainability Champion selected by the CCC Board of Governors. 

In addition to CHESC’s Best Practice Awards program, the California Community College Chancellor’s Office will also still be conducting the Board of Governors Energy and Sustainability Awards program later this year.  

Awards (other than the Sustainability Champion award) will be granted to the campus (not to an individual person).  Companies, non-profits, and campuses outside of California are not eligible for awards though they may be listed as a co-speaker with a campus should the campus win the award and the campus winning chooses that option. All co-speakers must be listed on the application at the time that the application/nomination form is submitted and is subject to the review of the selection committee.

For most award categories, we will allow projects in this category that have been completed in the past two academic years. This includes projects built as early as 2016-2017.  Projects must be completed and have results/measurable data to report by the time of submitting the application for an award.  The one exception is the overall sustainable design (for new construction and major renovations) award category.  For overall sustainable design awards, we will allow projects in this category that have been completed in the past five academic years. This includes projects built as early as 2013-2014.  Projects must still be completed and have measurable post-occupancy data to report by the time of submitting the application for an award.

Award Categories

There are several new award categories this year. Please see below or on the award categories page for a full list. Please also note that descriptions of each award can be found on the award categories page.

  • Sustainable Food Service
  • Student Sustainability Leadership
  • Academics: Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics
  • Academics: Arts, Humanities, & Social Science
  • Academics: Interdisciplinary (New!)
  • Sustainable Transportation
  • Waste Reduction
  • Water Efficiency & Site Water Quality
  • Off-campus Partnerships & Engagement (New!)
  • Data-driven Communications Campaigns (New!)
  • Large-scale Planning (New!)
  • Social Equity and Justice (New!)
  • Energy Efficiency at the Building Level (New!)
  • Energy Efficiency at the Campus Level (New!)
  • Renewable Energy (New!)
  • Overall Sustainable Design (New Construction & Major Renovations)
  • Sustainability Innovations


Review Process

All proposals will be reviewed by best practice award selection committees of staff, faculty and students from colleges and universities in California as well as our utility partners. There are several best practice award selection committees divided by topic area. Proposals will generally be graded based on:

  • Quantifiable Sustainability Impact
  • Community Collaboration
  • Whether it is a Best Practice That is Readily Applicable to Other Campuses
  • Relevancy to the Award Category
  • Additional Criteria Specific to Each Award (for these we recommend, reading the descriptions of the award categories.  Additional considerations/criteria for evaluation are included in those descriptions for the specific awards.

One award winner from each system of higher education will be selected for each award category.

Alternative Instructions for Sustainability Champion Awards

The Sustainability Champion Award is the highest level and only individual level award given at the CA Higher Education Sustainability Conference within our Best Practice Awards Program. The Sustainability Champion award is given to an individual person who has been a role model to their peers around the state; has promoted sustainability throughout their campus; achieved results; and who truly embodies the term “leader”. Please refer to the Sustainability Champion website for more details and application instructions.

Please note that individuals can be nominated from private colleges, California State University campuses and University of California campuses.   For California Community Colleges, we will be recognizing the Sustainability Champion already selected by the CCC Board of Governors. 

Requirements/Expectations of Accepted Winners

Award winners are expected to speak at CHESC, July 9th-12th, 2018.  Presentations will be on either July 10th or July 11th. The award ceremony (which is separate from the speaking time slot) will be at lunch on July 10th (11:30am-2:00pm). Award winners are expected to be present for the award ceremony and will be invited on stage to receive their award. Up to two people can speak per award.  One of those people must be from the campus. All speakers must be listed on the application.