Skip to Content

Energy

 

Goal

Pilot a replicable sustainable energy strategy.

Objectives

  • 50% by 2020: Maximize energy efficiency in building design and operations - with an initial goal to consume half the energy and demand of other university buildings in California and exceed Title 24 by 30% in all buildings by 2010.
  • Zero Net energy by 2020: Achieve campus zero net energy through renewable energy generation by 2020.
  • Climate Neutrality by 2020: Achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, prioritizing on-site and regional offsets.

Achievements

Saving Energy

UC Merced has a market-leading new building energy-efficiency program that will significantly reduce the direct climate impact of the university. The program requires new buildings to consume half the energy and demand of other university buildings in California and 30% less energy than required by Title 24 (California's energy efficiency code).

Generating Renewable Power

UC Merced installed a 1-megawatt solar array in fall 2009. The system occupies 10 acres and produces about two-thirds of the campus electricity load on a summer afternoon and twenty percent of its annual electricity needs. Through a power purchase agreement with SunPower Corporation, SunPower designed, installed, owns and operates the system on UC Merced’s land. The campus buys the power and owns the “green tags” or renewable energy credits associated with the green power.

Research

UC Merced received a $1 million grant from the California Energy Commission to fund a joint research project between Facilities Management and the School of Engineering. The grant is intended to create "renewable energy secure communities" by creating a portfolio of renewable energy technologies that meets our needs.

The project explores three renewable technologies:

  • Energy efficiency - our lowest cost renewable resource
  • Solar Photovoltaics — a way to produce abundant power in our sunny Central Valley
  • Plasma Gasification — a way to cleanly produce power from sewage and solid waste

The last two technologies complement each other. The solar resource is variable and only available when the sun shines. Plasma gasification is more dispatchable: it can be turned on an off at the flip of a switch. This research will integrate and optimize the use of these renewable technologies and help the university develop a seasonal approach to becoming zero net energy.

What's Happening

 
  • We are actively seeking new projects and ideas to save more energy, produce our power renewably, and offset the remaining climate impacts. Please contact zmased@ucmerced.edu with ideas.
  • We are pursuing significant improvements and commissioning activities during Q1 and Q2  2010 to optimize the comfort, energy performance, and reliability of the Science and Engineering Building.
  • We are implementing a new building performance monitoring system of the School of Engineering Services, developed in collaboration with Lawrence Berkeley Labs.
  • We are implementing a Central Plant Thermal Energy Storage optimization tool developed in collaboration with Lawrence Berkeley Labs and United Technologies Research center.
  • We are installing a pilot plasma gasification system (lead by Assistant Professor Gerado Diaz) to investigate the feasibility of converting our sewage and solide waste to energy.
  • See the output of our 1MW solar array here.

Contact Information

Zuhair Mased
Director, Energy And Sustainability
T: (209) 228-4124