This year, UC Riverside has made significant progress toward achieving the goals set forth in the systemwide Sustainable Practices Policy.

This included meeting two goals five years early:

  • A reduction in per capita waste generation to 0.74 pounds, well below the 2025 target of 1.04 pounds.
  • A reduction in per capita water use, to just over 45% from the baseline against the goal of 36% from the baseline by 2025. 

Overall, the campus saw a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of just over 13.5%, largely driven by a reduction in commute emissions by over 39% over the last four years and the work of the local public utility provider to find cleaner sources of energy. This year, solar generation provided close to 9% of UC Riverside’s total electricity usage, and plans are underway to add additional solar photovoltaics to campus rooftops in the coming year. This year also marked the start of construction on Riverside’s first all-electric building, the North District

UC Riverside’s campus food service efforts have continued to improve. In fiscal year 2019-20, about 6% of the campus’s food procurement was sustainable, a 1% increase over last year, and 20% of spend was on plant-based foods. Additionally, Dining Services on campus recovered 17,720 pounds of food for donations this year, with distribution to the R’Pantry, the campus food pantry, and to a local nonprofit.

The transportation sector has seen significant reductions due to initiatives like a vanpool program that recorded nearly 1.3 million miles driven, with an average of 4.7 passengers per trip. Another initiative, the U-PASS program with the Riverside Transit Agency, which allows students, staff and faculty to ride public transit for free, saw an increase of 18% over the past year, with a total of 626,699 boardings.


Woman in mask harvesting cauliflower in a garden at UC Riverside

From UC Riverside’s Garden to Students’ Tables

COVID-19 has left most of the campus closed, but the harvesting has continued at R’Garden, and fresh fruits and vegetables are going to students who have remained on campus. Anthony “Tony” Ruiz, a fourth-year student majoring in ethnic studies and one of two Green Campus Action Plan interns working at R’Garden, said he feels enormous […]


Line graph depicting emissions levels between 2009 and 2019, with projected goals through 2025, and split into two categories. Scopes 1+2 decreased from 95,675 metric tons CO₂e in 2009 to 72,115 metric tons CO₂e by 2019, with a goal of 0 emissions by 2025. Scopes 1+2+3 decreased from 166,552 metric tons CO₂e in 2009 to 90,662 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 (10,480 Mwh/year), Off-Campus Contracts (0 Mwh/year), Off-Campus Opt-in Utility Programs (0 Mwh/year), and Off-Campus UC Wholesale Power Program (0 Mwh/year). 



Line graph depicting energy use intensity (EUI) between 2013 and 2019, split into two categories: EUI Target and EUI Actual. EUI Actual remained under the EUI target goal until 2019, when it rose above EUI target slightly.

EUI (kBtu/Sqft)


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 four categories: Recycle, Organics, Allowable Residual Conversion, and Landfill. During this period, Landfill increased slightly, Allowable Residual Conversion decreased significantly, Recycling decreased slightly, and Organics decreased slightly.



Line graph depicting total waste diverted between 2013 and 2020, split into Diversion rate (no C&D) – Calculated and Calculated Diversion rate (MSW+C&D). Diversion rate (no C&D) in 2020 was 65%, and Calculated Diversion rate in 2019 was 68%, with a goal of 90%.

Riding a bike icon

of UCR employees are utilizing alternative commuting methods

Electric vehicle charing station icon

EV charging stations at this location for 2019-2020

Electric vehicle with charger icon

of light-duty vehicles acquired in 2020 were electric (zero-emission) and hybrid vehicles

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


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

Salad bar zoomed in on bowl of spinach image

total spend on food and beverages


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

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

Green building

UC Riverside’s total LEED certifications speak to its commitment to sustainability.

1 Platinum, 4 Gold, 1 Silver and 1 Certified

Total number of LEED Ccertifications
Sustainable Building & Laboratory Operations
Two laboratory beakers with stems with leaves coming out the top

total assessed research labs

UC Riverside has met the goal of assessing three labs.


UC Riverside was the proud recipient of an AASHE STARS Gold rating in 2020.

A full list of awards is here.