UC Merced has made significant progress toward achieving its sustainability goals as outlined in the systemwide Sustainable Practices Policy and the campus’s Sustainability Strategic Plan.

Most notably, the campus achieved carbon neutrality 7 years ahead of the UC system’s 2025 goal. The portfolio of solutions for this achievement includes a campus solar array system that mitigates carbon emissions, an additional on-site solar installation and reductions in the carbon intensity associated with green power purchases. The portfolio also includes the purchase of offsets. (Because this data was independently verified late in 2020, UC Merced’s climate data does not reflect this achievement.)

UC Merced has a total of 24 LEED certified buildings under New Construction and Existing Building Operation & Maintenance. The last certification was the Sustainability Research and Engineering (SRE) building, which earned a Platinum rating in new construction. This is one of 13 buildings from the the Merced 2020 project project that will achieve a Platinum rating. 

To combat food insecurity and reduce food waste, UC Merced has implemented the successful No Food Left Behind (NFLB) program. NFLB is a text messaging service open to all UC students, staff and faculty to ensure catered food left over from events is not wasted and instead feeds the UC Merced community. Members of the campus community who opt into the texting service receive a text usually 24 hours before an NFLB event. The leftover food either must be stored properly or consumed immediately, and participants have only 15 minutes after the scheduled event to collect leftovers.


Beets growing in a small garden on campus

The Pop-Up People’s Pantry: Feeding Merced’s Community in Need and Reducing Food Waste

For the last three years, a UC Merced staff member has worked with the regional food bank to rescue food from the local farmers market each week to get items to those in need. When the coronavirus pandemic first hit, the farmers market was forced to move locations and UC Merced’s partnership with the food […]

Students in masks stand in front of donated food in a parking lot at UC Merced

Saving the Food and Feeding Essential Workers and the Community

Through the Bobcat Eats Food Waste Awareness and Prevention Program, student staff, career staff and volunteers pick up surplus food and take it to those in need at various shelters, pantries, migrant camps and other sites. A great deal of this food went to the D St. Shelter, a 24-hour homeless shelter. In early summer, […]


Line graph depicting emissions levels between 2009 and 2019, with projected goals through 2025, and split into two categories. Scopes 1+2 increased from 8,709 metric tons CO₂e in 2009 to 9,184 metric tons CO₂e by 2019, with a goal of 0 emissions by 2025. Scopes 1+2+3 increased from 14,988 metric tons CO₂e in 2009 to 17,137 metric tons CO₂e by 2019, with a goal of 0 emissions by 2050.

Metric tons CO₂e in Thousands


Bar graph depicting Renewable Electricity Generation levels, split into four categories: On-Campus Systems (10,769.3 Mwh/year), Off-Campus Contracts (0 Mwh/year), Off-Campus Opt-in Utility Programs (0 Mwh/year), and Off-Campus UC Wholesale Power Program (12,438 Mwh/year).



Line graph depicting energy use intensity (EUI) between 2012 and 2019, split into two categories: EUI Target and EUI Actual. EUI Actual dipped under the target significantly in 2013 and rose again in 2014. From there, it fluctuated above and below the target and ended slightly above the EUI Target in 2019.

EUI (kBtu/Sqft)

UC Merced continued to make strides in its efforts to use alternative transportation methods and support the use of electric vehicles in 2020.

Riding a bike icon

of UCM employees are utilizing alternative commuting methods

Electric vehicle charging station icon

EV charging stations at this location for 2019-2020


Stacked bar graph depicting average water usage for FY 2019-2020. The water usage reduction goal for 2025 has already been met in 2020.

Thousands of gallons per capita


Bar graph depicting waste generated between 2016 and 2020, split between three categories: Recycle, Organics, and Landfill. During this period, all three categories decreased significantly, and 2020 levels are below the 2030 target.



Line graph depicting total waste diverted between 2014 and 2020, split into Diversion rate (no C&D) – Calculated and Calculated Diversion rate (MSW+C&D). Diversion rates in 2020 were 44% and 75% respectively, with a goal of 90%.

Salad bar zoomed in on bowl of spinach image

total spend on food and beverages


percentage of food and beverage purchases that met sustainability criteria in fiscal year 2019-20

UC Merced continues to set ambitious goals, with a goal for 2030 of 25% spend on sustainable food and beverages.

Desk Chair icon

green spend on indoor office furniture

Cleaning supplies in a bucket with a leaf

green spend
on cleaning supplies

Desktop computer and smart phone icon

green spend on electronics

UC Merced’s goals for procurement include 25% green spend on electronics and indoor office furniture, and 75% green spend on cleaning supplies.

Green building

UC Merced received 2 Platinum LEED certifications in 2020.

12 Platinum, 10 Gold and 2 Silver

Total number of LEED certifications

Sustainable Building & Laboratory Operations
Two laboratory beakers with stems with leaves coming out the top

total assessed research labs

UC Merced has met the goal of assessing three labs.


UC Merced was the proud recipient of several sustainability awards in 2020.

A full list of awards is here.