Energy Leaders Spark Connections at UC Davis Workshop
By Ashley Han
Energy leaders from around the world gathered at UC Davis for the Global Campus Energy Manager’s Workshop on Oct. 22-24 to discuss and share ideas for the future of their fields. The event was hosted by UC Davis Facilities Energy & Engineering, in partnership with the Sustainable Campus, Sustainable Cities Big Idea.
More than 70 participants from seven countries and 40 schools and organizations participated in the workshop, which included campus tours that showcase how UC Davis is a sustainability leader: the Central Heating and Cooling Plant, West Village, the Honda Smart Home and the Biodigester.
“We initiated a number of new partnerships through this workshop and received great feedback,” Joshua Morejohn, Energy
Manager for the UC Davis Facilities Management department, said. “Two representatives from Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico wants us to help them work on energy savings on their campuses and an energy manager from the Autonomous University of Barcelona learned how to create an energy team based on our model.”
Kurt Kornbluth, Ph.D. ’08, an assistant adjunct professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering and the champion of the Sustainable Campus, Sustainable Cities Big Idea, has built these international connections through his Program for International Energy Technology.
Closer to home, the UC Davis energy team consults on the 2025 UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative, working with campuses across the University of California to help them meet the goal. Work toward carbon neutrality also continues at UC Davis.
“To achieve carbon neutrality, we’re replacing our inefficient steam heating system and investing in a hot water system because it’s lower in temperature and has significantly lower losses on the distribution system,” Morejohn said. “The new system will also allow us to collect heat from all the buildings and put it back into the heating system.”
A Student’s Perspective
The workshop was also an opportunity for future leaders to share their research. Rhys Davis, master’s student in the Energy Graduate Group, presented his work with Small Workplace Automation and Remote Monitoring (SWARM). SWARM is a student-led project aimed to increase smaller buildings’ visibility in the Energy Conservation Office’s effort toward energy efficiency campus wide.
“Out of the 600 small buildings across campus, we’re controlling around 30 buildings, which we have estimated will save about $50,000 to $60,000 a year,” Davis said. “I think implementing SWARM in all of our offices and classrooms is an achievable goal.”
Davis plans on working in the energy and utility industry to help California move towards carbon neutrality. He is grateful for the experience and collaborative opportunities he has gained from working with the Sustainable Campus, Sustainable Cities Big Idea experts.
“UC Davis gives me hope that every school and city can be energy efficient,” Davis said. “My biggest takeaway from the workshop is how we were able to show off our campus as a successful living lab. It motivated me to work harder towards my goals here and confirmed that I’m in the right place.”