Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 88.80
Liaison Richard Demerjian
Submission Date Aug. 11, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of California, Irvine
PRE-2: Points of Distinction

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete N/A Carrie Metzgar
Sustainability and Planning Analyst
Campus Physical and Environmental Planning
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s featured sustainability program, initiative, or accomplishment:
Adapting Campus Sustainability Engagement Strategies During the Pandemic

A brief description of the institution’s featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:

As the campus shifted to remote learning and work in 2020 and 2021, sustainability champions across campus quickly adapted to developing virtual tools and resources to encourage campus engagement. For example, “The Sustainability Spot,” a student-run blog was developed to serve as an outlet for sharing research, experiences and hopes for the future. The Campus as a Living Lab (CLL) internship program switched to a virtual format, allowing students to continue to develop real-world experience in the field of sustainability. Six project sites hosted more than a dozen students, altering project goals and deliverables to enable students to perform their positions remotely. Students from the UCI Sustainability Resource Center also created Eco-Chats, a podcast featuring sustainability leaders and practitioners from across campus and in the community, sharing their perspectives on sustainability issues and solutions. Additionally, the FRESH Basic Needs Hub, UCI’s on-campus food pantry, quickly adapted its programs and resources to align with social distancing and safety guidelines. From April to August 2020, the pantry food distributions received over 2,700 visits, and continue to operate through the academic year.

Online resources were also developed to adhere to remote work and on-campus essential employees. For example, the “The Sustainability Corner” is a staff-run blog developed to provide a behind-the-scenes look into campus operations and to empower greater sustainable behavior while working remotely or on campus. In 2021, UCI also transitioned its Sustainability Fundamentals Training for Staff from being an in-person, occasional opportunity to an online, permanent opportunity. Developed by staff in the Office of Campus Physical and Environmental Planning, the online format allows staff to have greater accessibility to the training regardless of their work setting – on campus, remotely, or hybrid. The training provides an overview of simple sustainable actions that can easily be integrated into the workplace. Each theme has its own unique, downloadable infographic, containing sustainable actions and resources applicable to all work settings. Additional topics covered include defining sustainability, gaining insight into UC systemwide sustainability goals, and learning about UCI’s progress towards achieving those goals.

Which of the following impact areas does the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement

Website URL where more information about the accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory, EN-3: Student Life, EN-4: Outreach Materials and Publications, EN-9 Staff Professional Development and Training

A photograph or document associated with the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:

Name of a second highlighted sustainability program/initiative/accomplishment:
Undergraduate and Graduate Sustainability Curriculum

A brief description of the second program/initiative/accomplishment:

During this reporting period, UCI updated its methodology, described in detail in credit AC-1, for identifying sustainability undergraduate and graduate coursework. As a direct result, UCI is delighted to report that over 48 percent of its course offerings during the 2020 – 2021 academic year were identified as either sustainability-focused or sustainability-inclusive. This figure has increased dramatically from our previous 2018 report due to improved methodology, when just 20 percent of the courses were deemed sustainability-related.

For this reporting year, over 55 percent of the undergraduate-level courses and over 39 percent of the graduate-level courses were sustainability-focused or -inclusive. Equally exciting was the identification of departments that had never before been included in the report, including the departments of Dance, Drama, and Music, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Environmental and Occupational Health, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Health, Society, and Behavior, and Law. With the meticulous new methodology, 96 percent of UCI’s academic departments were identified as offering sustainability-related courses – a notable increase from 84 percent in 2018.

Which impact areas does the second program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:

Website URL where more information about the second program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the second program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
AC-1: Academic Courses

A photograph or document associated with the second program/initiative/accomplishment:

Name of a third highlighted program/initiative/accomplishment:
Leader in LEED Platinum Certifications for New Construction in the U.S.

A brief description of the third program/initiative/accomplishment:

At the time of this STARS submittal, UCI currently has a total of 32 LEED-certified buildings. Of these buildings, 21 are LEED Platinum and 11 are LEED Gold. Within the nation, UCI has among the most LEED-certified Platinum and Gold buildings for new construction on a college campus.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

Over the past year, three new buildings have received LEED Platinum certification - Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building (ISEB), Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, and Middle Earth Housing Expansion.

ISEB is the most recently certified building and encompasses the following green building features:
-- A pedestrian walkway, new bicycle path and plentiful bicycle racks encourage less vehicle ridership and fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
-- 100% of total roof area has a high Solar Reflectance Index (SRI), meaning the “heat island effect” is largely reduced for the building and surrounding area, leading to less cooling load needed to keep ISEB comfortable for occupants.
-- Indoor plumbing fixtures have been designed to reduce over 40% potable water use over national Uniform Plumbing Code baseline, which equates to saving about 80,000 gallons per year.
-- UC Irvine ISEB project uses Irvine Ranch Water District, a pioneer of municipal gray water use, to reduce its potable water use for irrigation by 100%.
-- The construction team was able to divert about 85% of total construction waste, such as concrete, wood, and miscellaneous construction & demolition debris.

To learn more about ISEB’s sustainable features, click here: https://sustainability.uci.edu/sustainablecampus/green-buildings/interdisciplinary-science-and-engineering-building/

Which impact areas does the third program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Investment & Finance

Website URL where more information about the third program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the third program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
OP-3: Building Design and Construction

A photograph or document associated with the third program/initiative/accomplishment:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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.