In 2019, UCLA significantly expanded renewable energy through a historic rate agreement with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for 10 megawatts of off-site solar.

In a study supported in part by the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge and published in Nature Sustainability, researchers described a pathway for California to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

UCLA’s Grand Challenge, which includes research and recommendations from over 150 faculty members and researchers, also released the only comprehensive analysis of the region’s water systems, the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge Report Card on Los Angeles County Water. Additionally, UCLA researchers published the Biodiversity Atlas of Los Angeles, a new website to help scientists and residents better understand Los Angeles’ unique environment and see how native, nonnative and endangered species are distributed across the county. 

UCLA improved its water reclamation program, bringing total gallons saved to almost 40 million annually, and initiated a pilot program in chemistry labs to reduce water consumption. The Green Labs program also assessed 22 laboratories, certified four labs and engaged hundreds of campus researchers in sustainability.

UCLA’s new parking permit system, Bruin ePermit, replaced physical permits with license plate recognition, reducing waste and giving commuters flexibility to participate in sustainable transportation programs and pay for parking as needed. The League of American Bicyclists awarded UCLA the Gold Bicycle Friendly University designation, placing UCLA among the top 15% nationally.

In dining, Café 1919 received a three-star certification from the Green Restaurant Association. The Impossible Foodprint Project, launched in fall 2019, introduced plant-based meat and transparency about the carbon footprint of various menu items. Low-carbon and high-carbon menu icons were added to residential restaurant menus.

To advance zero waste goals, UCLA developed a single-use plastics policy with timelines ahead of the systemwide policy. Housing and Hospitality expanded composting by repurposing landfill chutes to compost chutes and adding in-room compost bins in all residence halls.

Stories
Student commuting by bike in a bike lane painted green at UCLA

An Opportunity for Green Commuting

In this podcast, Dr. Wendy Slusser chats with Renee Fortier, the executive director of UCLA Events and Transportation, about how UCLA has responded to ensure safe transportation during these uncertain times.

Students walking outside on a brick staircase on UCLA campus

UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Team Leading California State Study of Air Pollution and COVID-19

A research team led by UCLA Fielding School of Public Health faculty has been awarded a contract by the California Air Resources Board to study connections between air pollution and the COVID-19 pandemic.

CLIMATE PROTECTION – EMISSIONS

Line graph depicting emissions levels between 2009 and 2019, with projected goals through 2025, and split into two categories. Scopes 1+2 decreased from 303,966 metric tons CO₂e in 2009 to 224,691 metric tons CO₂e by 2019, with a goal of 0 emissions by 2025. Scopes 1+2+3 decreased from 352,701 metric tons CO₂e in 2009 to 292,850 metric tons CO₂e by 2019, with a goal of 0 emissions by 2050.

Year
Metric tons CO₂e in Thousands
ENERGY – RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY GENERATION

Bar graph depicting Renewable Electricity Generation levels, split into four categories: On-Campus Systems (263.7 Mwh/year), Off-Campus Contracts (0 Mwh/year), Off-Campus Opt-in Utility Programs (14,797.1 Mwh/year), and Off-Campus UC Wholesale Power Program (0 Mwh/year).

Mwh/year
ENERGY USE INTENSITY (EUI)

Line graph depicting energy use intensity (EUI) between 2012 and 2019, split into two categories: EUI Target and EUI Actual. EUI Actual has generally remained under the EUI Target goal except for 2016 and 2019 when it rose above the target goal.

Year
EUI (kBtu/Sqft)
Transportation

UCLA and Ronald Reagan Medical Center continued to make strides in their efforts to use alternative transportation methods and support the use of electric vehicles in 2020.

Riding a bike icon

52%

of UCLA employees, including those at Ronald Reagan Medical Center, are utilizing alternative commuting methods

Electric vehicle charing station icon

442

EV charging stations at this location for 2019-2020

Electric vehicle with charger icon

57%

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

WATER

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

Thousands of gallons per capita
ZERO WASTE – GENERATED

Bar graph depicting waste generated between 2016 and 2020, split between four categories: Recycle, Organics, Allowable Residual Conversion, and Landfill. During this period, all categories decreased.

Year
Pounds
ZERO WASTE – DIVERTED

Line graph depicting total waste diverted between 2011 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 51%, and Calculated Diversion rate in 2019 is at 53%, with a goal of 90%.

Year
Percent
Food

UCLA 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

$19M+

total spend on food and beverages

7.4%

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

procurement
Desk Chair icon

52%

green spend on indoor office furniture

Cleaning supplies in a bucket with a leaf

46%

green spend
on cleaning supplies

Desktop computer and smart phone icon

63%

green spend on electronics

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

Green building

UCLA received 1 platinum and 3 gold LEED certifications in 2020.

16 Platinum, 27 Gold and 10 Silver

Total number of LEED certifications

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

26

total assessed research labs

UCLA has met the goal of assessing three labs.

Awards

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

A full list of awards is here.