Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 71.62
Liaison Michelle Perez
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of California, San Diego
OP-2: Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.80 / 8.00 Michelle Perez
Sustainability Analyst
Facilities Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Gross Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions:
Performance year Baseline year
Gross Scope 1 GHG emissions from stationary combustion 168,506 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 152,485 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Gross Scope 1 GHG emissions from other sources 7,356 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 5,701 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Gross Scope 2 GHG emissions from imported electricity 14,375 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 31,120 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Gross Scope 2 GHG emissions from imported thermal energy 1,209 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Total 191,446 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 189,306 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

Figures needed to determine net carbon sinks:
Performance year Baseline year
Third-party verified carbon offsets purchased 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Institution-catalyzed carbon offsets generated 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Carbon storage from on-site composting 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Carbon storage from non-additional sequestration 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent ---
Carbon sold or transferred 12,783 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Net carbon sinks 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

A brief description of the carbon sinks, including vendor, project source, verification program and contract timeframes (as applicable):

The University of California (UC) is obligated under California state law AB 32 to comply with the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) cap-and-trade program. Currently, five campuses — UC San Diego, UC Los Angeles, UC Irvine, UC San Francisco, and UC Davis and UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento -- have carbon emissions above the 25,000 mtCO2e threshold established by CARB and are required to hold an allowance for each ton of CO2e that they emit from onsite combustion of fossil fuels.

As such, UC San Diego currently participates in the California cap-and-trade compliance market using carbon offsets to cover approximately 8% of its compliance obligations: https://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/capandtrade/offsets/offsets.htm. The Regents of the University of California are the official buyer and retire the allowances through the UC Office of the President's Energy Services Unit. The verification program is the California Air Resources Board with approved offset protocols under the cap and trade program. The file titled "UC Compliance Account Transactions though to 03-2018" in the zipped file titled "UC San Diego CARB Allowances Files" lists the projects from which the offsets originated.

More info:



UCOP contact for more information: Nick Ballesteri, ‭(510) 987-0951‬, Nick.Balistreri@ucop.edu

Adjusted net Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions:
Performance year Baseline year
Adjusted net GHG emissions 191,446 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 189,306 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Performance year Baseline year
Start date Jan. 1, 2019 Jan. 1, 2008
End date Dec. 31, 2019 Dec. 31, 2008

A brief description of when and why the GHG emissions baseline was adopted:

We began using a 2008 baseline in 2013/2014.

Figures needed to determine “Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance year Baseline year
Number of students resident on-site 15,447 9,549
Number of employees resident on-site 876 1,601
Number of other individuals resident on-site 908 548
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 36,296 27,750
Full-time equivalent of employees 26,048 18,854
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted Campus Users 51,746.75 38,288.50

Adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions per weighted campus user:
Performance year Baseline year
Adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions per weighted campus user 3.70 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 4.94 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

Percentage reduction in adjusted net Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions per weighted campus user from baseline:

Gross floor area of building space, performance year:
22,219,353 Gross Square Feet

Floor area of energy intensive building space, performance year:
Floor area
Laboratory space 3,348,211 Square Feet
Healthcare space 1,198,650 Square Feet
Other energy intensive space 349,929 Square Feet

EUI-adjusted floor area, performance year:
31,663,004 Gross Square Feet

Adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions per unit of EUI-adjusted floor area, performance year:
0.01 MtCO2e / GSF

A brief description of the institution’s GHG emissions reduction initiatives:

UC San Diego has long been a leader in climate change research and education, starting with Dr. Charles Keeling's groundbreaking work, which showed that rising levels of atmospheric carbon could be correlated to fossil fuel emissions. Owing to this heritage, UCSD continues to be committed to being a good steward of the environment and reducing its carbon footprint.

Building on early student led efforts to promote sustainable practices, in November 2013, the UC President implemented a carbon neutrality initiative (CNI) to make University of California operations carbon neutral in scope 1 (direct) and 2 (indirect) emissions by 2025. The initiative also requires campuses to achieve full carbon neutrality including emissions from campus commuters and business air travel by 2050.

UC San Diego updated its climate action plan (CAP) in 2019 to meet these goals. We have made great progress already:

- Since 2001, our highly efficient, ultra-low emission cogeneration plant has generated over 75% of the La Jolla campus' energy.

- In 2008 we began an aggressive energy efficiency program that has completed over $100M in energy efficiency projects, saving the campus more than $8M in annual energy costs. Over the next 10 years we plan to do an additional $100M in efficiency work. Our energy program has been nationally recognized for its leadership and innovation in applying state-of-the-art energy management practices to minimize campus environmental impacts.

- We established a highly innovative, world-class microgrid and "Energy Research Park" that serves as a living laboratory for integrating cutting-edge technology into campus operations. We've won many awards for our microgrid, including a 2017 IBCON "Digital Innovation (Digie) Award for Most Intelligent College Campus."

- We incorporated large-scale thermal energy storage capacity into the La Jolla campus chilled water system to reduce peak load and energy costs.

- We've installed the largest university electric vehicle charging system in the country, as well as operating a 100% renewably sourced compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station. In 2017 the campus installed an additional 18 Level II EV chargers bringing the campus total to 78 Level II and 4 DC fast chargers. In addition to these, the campus added 50 "make ready stub ups" that can be used for future charger installations. Along with the campus' 8 Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) chargers, this makes UC San Diego's EV charging infrastructure one of the largest and most diverse of any university campus in the country. In 2017 we and our San Diego-based parnter Nuvve Corporation received a $4.2 million CEC grant to add more funding to deploy "Vehicle to Grid" charging platforms on 50 new UC San Diego electric vehicle chargers, allowing parked electric vehicles to become part of grid as battery storage.

- We've converted the University's fleet to more than 60% alternative fuel vehicles. We received a 2016 Diamond Award, Platinum Tier, from the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) in recognition of our commitment to alternative forms of transportation.

- All our new building construction is at least LEED Silver -- often Gold and Plantinum -- and we are looking at more aggressive EUI targets for buildings. With the addition of a 250 kW/500 kWh battery energy storage system to its 280 kW solar system, UC San Diego's Receiving and Distribution Center is now a near net-zero energy facility.

As the campus moves towards the future and meeting its carbon emission reduction goals, there are already new programs underway or planned to help meet the challenge, including additional energy efficiency retrofits, extension of the Mid-Coast Trolley to the La Jolla campus, expansion of the campus' electric vehicle infrastructure and new electric vehicle procurement options.

While much of the focus of the CAP is on campus operations, the Plan embraces the vision of a student-centered university using experiential learning techniques to provide opportunities for students to gain real-world experience. Through involvement in the CAP process students will be able to learn by doing, gaining valuable problem solving and leadership skills as they tackle the complex, inter-connected issues involved in climate planning and achieving carbon neutrality. To this end it will be extremely important that students remain a cornerstone of the CAP process. Offering educational as well as research opportunities for students and faculty will be integral to successful CAP implementation.

Since the baseline year there has been a significant increase in total campus square footage, especially in energy intensive space, which has led to increased energy use and subsequent emissions. However, due to the initiatives mentioned here UC San Diego has been able to reduce its emissions per campus weighted user.

Website URL where information about the institution's GHG emissions is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

As noted previously, the gross square footage and physical boundary for UC San Diego's climate/greenhouse gas reporting includes our Hillcrest Medical Center, while the physical boundary and gross square footage for our other reporting do not. As a result, the GSF and weighted campus user for GHG reporting does not match that used elsewhere in this report.

Other contacts:

GHG reporting: Valerie Fanning and Sam Peterson, EH&S Environmental Affairs
Energy and utilities: John Dilliott
Microgrid, EV infrastructure, and research: Byron Washom

TCR established a new requirement for 2015 that includes reporting core heating in leased spaces (natural gas) that do not receive a utility bill. This amount was 2,653.17 mtCO2e that was never reported before.

2012 is the first year for which we have third party verified data.

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.