In 2003 the University of California adopted a Green Building Policy and Clean Energy Standard, committing itself to minimizing the environmental impact of its capital projects and energy demands. Since then, additional policies have been incorporated into the document that address sustainable transportation, climate protection, environmentally preferable procurement, sustainable building operations, and recycling and waste management. The policy has been renamed the Policy on Sustainable Practices to reflect the Universityís expanded goals.

CACS award
GBRC Co-Director Ed Arens receives a CACS Sustainability Award for "leadership in sustainable design and development." Photo: Deborah Stalford

Due to the strong commitment of faculty, staff, and students at the individual campuses, a robust system-wide sustainability movement has emerged. At UC Berkeley, the Chancellorís Advisory Committee on Sustainability (CACS) was formed in 2003 to assess sustainability measures existing on campus and to promote additional procedures that protect human and environmental health. A subcommittee entitled Green Buildings and Clean Energy was created to focus on improving the built environment and procuring alternative sources of power for UC Berkeley.

To support these efforts we created the Green Building Research Center (GBRC) in December 2004. The GBRC promotes sustainable building design and operation on the UC Berkeley campus by providing consulting services to the campusís Capital Projects and Physical Plant departments; creating documentation of green building and energy-efficiency projects across the state; and developing opportunities for students to get involved through funded research and internships with Capital Projects and Physical Plant.


The primary goals of the Green Building Research Center are to:

1. Advance the University’s educational mission in green building design.

2. Identify and advance opportunities for green building design and operation on campus.

3. Increase the availability of green building literature that addresses the unique needs of university campuses.


The Green Building Research Center employs several different approaches to effectively advance sustainable building within the UC system. Specific activities include:

1. Developing case studies that showcase green building and energy efficiency techniques and solutions at UC Berkeley, the greater UC system, and the California State University system.

2. Enlisting campus buildings as laboratories for studying green design issues, and for showcasing new green technologies being developed at Berkeley.

3. Monitoring energy consumption across campus and provide real-time data to the campus community to raise awareness about resource use and facilitate operational and behavioral changes related to energy use.

4. Contributing to the environmental and human health performance of new buildings on the Berkeley campus by helping the Capital Projects department assemble technical materials for building design teams, and by reviewing plans at critical stages in the design process.

5. Exposing architecture, engineering, and students of other disciplines to current green building issues through funded research and internships with Capital Projects and Physical Plant.

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