Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 71.18
Liaison Kelli O'Day
Submission Date Sept. 13, 2013
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

University of California, Davis
OP-T2-1: Air Travel Emissions

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.25 / 0.25 Camille Kirk
Director of Sustainability and Campus Sustainability Planner
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have policies and/or programs in place to reduce emissions from air travel?:

A brief description of the policies and/or programs:

The largest and most important pool of capital held by a higher education institution is its intellectual (human) capital, and emissions reductions tied to restricting travel diminishes this primary source of capital and strikes at the heart of the institutional mission. While unnecessary travel should be eliminated, not the least for economic savings, travel is and will continue to be an important part of the mission of disseminating scholarship in a global setting. For this reason, the 2009-2010 Climate Action Plan sets forth three ideas (teleconferencing, telecommuting, and telemedicine) for consideration and further analysis, but does not promote arbitrary reduction goals.

1. Reduction in miles traveled through teleconferencing:
Technology continues to improve teleconferencing and Web conferencing, and the Climate Action Plan recommends that additional resources be made available to improve and grow facilities and equipment for high-quality remote conferencing. In circumstances such as routine meetings, especially for short-haul travel, which has higher emissions than long, international travel (due to the impact of take-offs and landings on overall flight emissions), the Climate Action Plan recommends that teleconferencing be adopted as the default meeting mechanism, and in-person flight travel be reserved for special cases.

2. Reduction in miles traveled through telecommuting:
Similarly, the Climate Action Plan recommends that UC Davis explore an aggressive telecommuting policy, with a goal of reducing on-campus population on any given workday in a manner that will bolster space planning/management efforts so that old, inefficient building space can be removed without impacting space requirements, and in a way that will enable employees to avoid commuting trips, so that two reductions of emissions occur: those related to building energy use, and those related to commuting trips. UC Davis has one of the foremost experts on telecommuting, Dr. Patricia Mokhtarian, on faculty, and the Climate Action Plan recommends that a study committee be formed, and invite her to provide expertise to that committee.

3. Reduction in miles traveled through telemedicine:
Telemedicine or telehealth is the use of high-speed telecommunications for medical consultations, distance education, critical care and emergency services, as well as health-care training. Telehealth technologies have the promise of transforming and improving health care, especially in communities and regions that are far from large, urbanized areas with a full range of health-care services and medical specialists. The innovative use of telecommunications tools in the delivery of clinical services can increase access to health care and help advance health, especially for areas of California where physician shortages are a persistent problem. Telehealth offers the potential of improving quality of care by enabling clinicians at one location to monitor, consult and even care for patients in distant locations (information taken from UC Davis to establish California Telehealth Resource Center in Sacramento, posted January 10, 2010 at http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/welcome/features/20100120_Telehealth_groundbreaking/index.html). The UC Davis Medical Center and the School of Medicine have been at the forefront of telemedicine, which promotes both strides in human health and reduces emissions related to avoiding travel by patients and medical professionals to and from remote areas. The Climate Action Plan recommends that telemedicine continue to be supported and grown as a center of excellence at UC Davis.

The website URL where information about the policies and/or programs is available:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.