The UC Davis Fossil Fuel-Free Pathway Plan, the first of its kind at UC, was released in draft form in June 2023. The Campus Advisory Committee on Sustainability hosted a series of town halls to collect community input.
Sustainability fellows’ projects embodied the aim of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 13 — to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts — focusing on climate resilience, climate and environmental justice, and advancing zero emissions goals. Campus operations worked to secure a fossil-free future by completing the first phase of the Big Shift, launching service of the first electric bus fleet on campus and extending the Causeway Connection free ride program.
Read More about Sustainability at UC Davis
UC Davis achieved a third Gold STARS rating and Custodial Services earned a certification for its sustainable cleaning program. In an effort to reduce single-use items, campus Dining piloted a reusable linens program and partnered with Sustainability on a reusable utensils campaign. Students utilized campus as a living lab by completing LEED documentation standards on six credits for new construction, helping the campus earn three additional LEED certifications and adapting the campus tree canopy to be climate-ready.
In the aftermath of recent tragic events in Davis, the Davis Day of Reflection provided an opportunity for the campus community to pause and mourn at scenic locations, strengthening the important link between mental health and sustainability.
Marking a significant transition in UC Davis’s sustainability journey, the campus said farewell to Camille Kirk, director of sustainability and leader in UC Davis sustainability planning for 18 years.
Unitrans, a partnership between the Associated Students of UC Davis and the City of Davis, is doing its part to carry UC Davis closer to its fossil fuel-free goals. With the completion of phase one of Unitrans’ electrification program, six electric buses are now in service, a significant first step in its commitment to ultimately replace all 48 vehicles in the fleet with electric buses.
In 2023, UC Davis solicited comment on the campus Fossil Fuel-Free Pathway Plan, which identifies opportunities and solutions for eliminating fossil fuel use. The Campus Advisory Committee on Sustainability was charged by Chancellor Gary S. May to create the plan in response to a petition for a fossil fuel-free UC Davis initiated by a group of students, faculty and staff.
CLIMATE PROTECTION – EMISSIONS
* Interim goals for 2030, 2035 and 2040 to be developed through fossil-free planning that is underway at each location
** 90% direct reduction of total emissions from 2019 levels with residual emissions negated by carbon removal
As the campus returned to more in-person activity, behavior-based emissions rose to closer to pre-pandemic levels, although commuting and air travel emissions remain considerably lower than pre-pandemic. In addition, the campus purchased or swapped fewer renewable energy certificates than in recent years, contributing to an increase in scope 2 emissions. The campus drafted a Fossil Fuel-Free Pathway Plan, which demonstrates a path to eliminating most fossil fuel use in operations and offers policy ideas for tackling behavior-based emissions related to commuting and business travel.
ENERGY – RENEWABLE Energy Use
ENERGY USE INTENSITY (EUI)
UC Davis saw a slight decrease in its EUI in 2022.
of food and beverage purchases met sustainability criteria ($1.6M)
of food and beverage purchases were plant-based ($6.7M)
UC Davis’s total food and beverage spend increased by $6.3 million over the previous year due to a spike in in-person activities on campus, cost of goods and frequency of events catered by on-campus catering services. In recent years, sourcing sustainable food has been challenging due to food supply shortages and other impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. UC Davis dining operation’s percentage of total spend on plant-based items is similar to recent years.
UC Davis continues to make strides in increasing the number of LEED certified buildings on campus. The main campus constructed two new LEED buildings and earned one Gold certification for an existing building, totaling three LEED certifications in fiscal year 2022–23. Since 2007, UC Davis has certified 31 newly constructed buildings, 12 interior renovation projects and 14 existing buildings for a total of 57 LEED projects. Nine all-electric buildings on the UC Davis main campus are occupied, and two are under construction.
11 Platinum, 28 Gold, 8 Silver and 1 CertifiedTotal number of LEED certifications
green spend on electronics (63%)
green spend on cleaning supplies (71%)
green spend on indoor office furniture (96%)
green spend on office supplies (72%)
The University reports on green spend, as defined in the Sustainable Procurement Guidelines, and reached out to suppliers for spend data in four product categories for this year’s report.
Green spend is defined as meeting preferred or minimum criteria in UC’s Sustainable Procurement Guidelines.
Suppliers reporting: Electronics (7), Furniture (3), Cleaning supplies (5), Office supplies (3).
UC Systemwide Spend Analytics category data provided by CalUSource.
Sustainable Building & Laboratory Operations
UC Davis Green Workplace assessed one additional lab in fiscal year 2022–23 for a total of 13 certified labs. Twelve labs are in the process of being certified. UC Davis Facilities Management and UC Davis Sustainability, as a part of an autoclave water savings project, installed water-saving fixtures on six additional autoclaves in the last year.
total assessed green laboratories
of students and employees are utilizing alternative commuting methods
EV charging ports
of all vehicles acquired in 2023 were electric (zero-emission), plug-in hybrid or clean transportation fuel
UC Davis’s 2022 travel survey found over 33% of employees and 0.45% of students telecommuted on average, demonstrating a return to more in-person activity compared with the 2021–22 fiscal year. The campus’s boost in in-person activities during 2022–23 led to a slight increase in single-occupancy-vehicle (SOV) commuting when compared with the 2015 baseline, though SOV commutes remain about 26% of the overall mode split.
*Based on a 3-year average of fiscal years 2005-08
**2025 goal is a 36% reduction from baseline
UC Davis’s total potable water use decreased by 87 million gallons, a 10% decrease per capita compared with fiscal year 2021–22. The decline in water use was largely attributable to potable water in agricultural water systems, landscape and buildings. UC Davis is meeting the 2025 water reduction target with a 43% reduction in per capita potable water use since the baseline year.
ZERO WASTE – GENERATION
*These numbers might include a small amount of incineration that is being phased out.
**In 2021, waste generation per weighted campus user spiked due to pandemic-related closures as base-level operations continued but the number of users on campus decreased.
As in-person activity continued to increase on campus, the total overall municipal solid waste (excluding construction and demolition) generated at UC Davis in fiscal year 2022–23 increased by 927 tons or 0.19 pounds per capita. This is a 9.32% increase from the 2015–16 baseline.
ZERO WASTE – DIVERSION
*Waste incineration was counted as diversion prior to July 2022.
UC Davis diverted 12,840 tons, or 65%, of its waste (excluding construction and demolition) in fiscal year 2022–23, a diversion rate that is about the same as fiscal year 2021–22.
UC Davis submitted a new STARS report in spring 2023, earning a Gold rating in STARS 2.2. The report is valid until 2026. The campus plans to conduct a gap analysis of the new report in the next year. UC Davis is currently meeting the goal of maintaining a valid STARS report with a Gold rating.
A full list of awards is featured on the UC Office of the President’s website.