Sustainability Report Highlights
UC Merced has made leaps and bounds in its goal to reach its triple zero goal to eliminate waste, emissions, and net energy on campus. These efforts have been well documented for each year and the data has been rounded up into annual reports for ease. Some key highlights from the 2021 Annual Report are can be found below.
Zero Net Emissions
UC Merced’s biggest sustainability milestone was announcing achievement of its campus carbon neutrality goal of 2020. Building on the early sustainability successes with energy-efficient buildings and completion of its first solar array, in 2009, the campus committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2020, five years earlier than the UC systemwide goal of 2025. Emissions remained flat last year despite an increase in the number of buildings that came online from the Merced 2020 Project. UC Merced now only produces less than 2,000 metric tons of CO2 of Scope 2 Net Emissions.
Zero Net Energy
UC Merced has seen a substantially large increase in the ammount of renewable electricity generation both on and off campus. For 2020, UC Merced was able to generate over 35,000 Mwh/year.
Due to COVID-19, there was a major reduction in compost and food rescue on campus. With the campus closure and concerns for safety, the food recovery program on campus shut down temporarily. From March to September 2020, the campus recycling center was also closed. During this time, trash from upper campus was not sorted and instead thrown into landfill, increasing the campus landfill numbers tremendously.
While UC Merced is on track to meet the 2025 goal of 36% reduction of water, the campus’s overall water use increased in fiscal year 2020–21 compared to the previous year, a result of adding nine new buildings and several commissioning operations, such as building water flush-outs, that consumed a considerable amount of water. This year’s report illustrates the difference in water consumption between fiscal year 2019–20 and fiscal year 2020–21 instead of measuring progress toward the 2025 goal.
UC Merced continued to make strides in its efforts to use alternative transportation methods and support the use of electric vehicles in 2021. 100% of light duty vehicles aqcuired in 2021 were electric (zero-emission) or hybrid vehicles. Additionally, there was a total of 18 EV charging stations at this location in 2020-2021.
The campus certified nine more LEED Platinum buildings earing a total of 19 Platinum, 10 Gold, and 2 Silver LEED certifications on campus