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Zero Net Energy Consumption


Welcome to UC Merced's Zero Net Energy Initiatives Page! We're dedicated to achieving sustainability by balancing energy use with on-site renewable energy generation. Our campus features cutting-edge infrastructure, widespread solar panels, and energy-efficient buildings. We actively involve the community in our commitment to reduce our carbon footprint, create cost savings, and provide unique educational opportunities. UC Merced is committed to creating a greener future!

Progress and Statistics

Following suit with the previous year, UC Merced has been able to generate around 35,000 Mwh/year of renewable energy in 2021. This accounts for the total production of renewable energy from both the off-campus UC Wholesale Power Program and the on-campus systems.


Onsite Renewable Energy Generation

In UC Merced's pursuit of achieving net-zero energy consumption, a pivotal approach involves the generation of renewable energy directly on campus. Sources like solar power play a central role as they offer clean electricity without carbon emissions. UC Merced has implemented solar systems, such as a one-megawatt ground-mounted system and a five-megawatt carport solar system with battery storage, contributing significantly to energy cost reductions.

The T-20 ground-mounted system, equipped with 4,900 solar panels across 8.5 acres, dynamically tracks the sun's path. UC Merced's location in the sun-rich San Joaquin Valley serves as an optimal environment for the development and study of solar energy projects. Additionally, this system serves as a valuable resource for faculty and student researchers, providing essential data for the exploration and innovation of solar energy solutions.

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LEED Certified Buildings

In alignment with UC Merced's Zero Net Energy Consumption initiative, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) emerges as a pivotal framework. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED serves as a third-party verification system aimed at optimizing energy conservation, water efficiency, emission reduction, and enhancing indoor air quality within building design and construction.

As part of UC Merced's dedication to transforming the campus into a sustainable living laboratory, established structures are poised for certification under the LEED Operations and Maintenance program, facilitated through the LEED Lab course within the Engineering Service Learning program. Since 2005, UC Merced has maintained an on-campus LEED coordinator who has actively contributed to every building project. This coordinator plays a key role in facilitating the compilation of necessary documentation, ensuring compliance, and overseeing the U.S. Green Building Council's review of each project.

As of 2021 the campus has certified a total of 19 LEED Platinum buildings, 10 LEED Gold buildings, and 2 LEED Silver buildings. These LEED certifications set the framework for our campus to be as energy efficient as possible to help cut down on our energy consumption for this initiative. 

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