The Sustainable Campus, Sustainable Cities Big Idea is a testament to how UC Davis will continue to build upon its legacy of leading the way for universities and cities to make sustainable changes on a large scale. UC Davis has received worldwide recognition for leadership in this field. For example, UC Davis is ranked third in the world and first among U.S. universities in the 2018 UI GreenMetric World University Rankings, largely because of the many sustainable buildings on campus.
With the goal of designing cars, Kornbluth studied engineering before working for General Motors. Now, he is the founding director of the UC Davis Program for International Energy Technologies, an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and the champion for the Sustainable Campus, Sustainable Cities initiative.
UC Davis’ sustainability research doesn’t just play out in the classroom — it’s being put into practice on campus and could lead to the university becoming the world’s first zero-carbon college campus.
And it won’t just benefit the campus — UC Davis’ leadership in energy efficiency, zero-net energy and climate neutrality could make it the go-to model of sustainability for campuses and small cities alike, said Kurt Kornbluth, Ph.D. ’08, an assistant adjunct professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering.
Climate change is the defining challenge of our time. While tackling climate change requires many complex actions, there is no question that cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is the crucial first step — and taking that step in cities is our greatest hope for a more sustainable future. Many of the tools and technologies to operate carbon-neutral cities already exist. But how do different cities implement solutions at scale, and in ways that are equitable, fiscally sound, and sustainable for the long term?
Jeff Flynn ’05, general manager of Unitrans, has his eye on the future — in particular, the fuel source for Unitrans buses. Most of the fleet today runs on compressed natural gas. Unitrans is working with campus administrative and academic units — Design and Construction Management, and the Institute of Transportation Studies — on an electrification plan in support of the university’s Big Idea, Carbon Neutrality Leadership Initiative.