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UCSB Leads Way in Green Efforts

Campus Touts Long-Standing Water Conservation Efforts Amid Drought


Thursday, April 24, 2014
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With the Earth Day Festival quickly approaching, all things green are hot topics. UCSB earned such distinction this week for securing a top spot in the Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges. Also this week, UCSB announced it’s leading the area in water conservation.

Out of thousands of schools that submitted questionnaires for the Princeton guide, 330 United States institutions — and two Canadian ones — were identified as “green responsible” schools. UCSB was among 22 schools that made the honor roll for securing a perfect score. The criteria included sustainability initiatives, recycling and conservation programs, availability of environmental studies majors, and career guidance in sustainability fields.

In 1970, UCSB became one of the first schools in the nation to enroll students in an environmental studies major, the guide states, and open the Donald BREN School of Environmental School and Management. Now, UCSB has 32 student-oriented sustainability programs, including a renewable energy fund. Further, 50 percent of its food budget is spent on local or organic food and the campus has a waste-diversion rate of 79 percent. (The 200-page guide also provides general admissions stats and states that UCSB accepts 46 percent of applications; 18 percent of acceptees actually attend; and 18,617 individuals make up the student body.)

“Sustainability is increasingly an issue for [college] applicants,” said Jacob Kriss, the spokesperson for U.S. Green Building Council, which teamed up with the Princeton Review to conduct the survey. Kriss added 61 percent of college aspirants recently surveyed indicated how “green” a prospective school is would influence their decision to attend it. “UCSB is particularly notable,” he said, “They are really a leader.” Among the other 22 institutes with a perfect score were California State University, Chico, Mulberry College, Georgia Tech, Portland State, UC Los Angeles, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, and others.

UCSB also has 29 LEED-certified buildings. (To be LEED-certified, structure materials, resources, and products must meet specific standards. Indoor air quality, how the building is affecting its occupants, and how it’s affecting the surrounding area also come into play.)

Also this week, UCSB announced that it is at the forefront to conserve water. UCSB student residents use on average 28 gallons of water per day (including food service, laundry, hygiene, and irrigation around the dorms). According to the UCSB news website, that figure is much lower than water use in the area; Goleta residents use on average 66 gallons per day; Santa Barbara residents use 86; and Montecito residents use 290. The campus is also the largest user of reclaimed water in the area, the article states, with 90 percent of campus lands irrigated with reclaimed water. In 2011, UCSB reduced its potable water use by 25 percent, triumphing a UC mandate to cut back by 20 percent by 2020.

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Independent Discussion Guidelines

All that is great but until the Long Range Development Plan is cut back drastically, on water demand it is hypocritical. The LRDP is the single largest development project in the history of Southern Santa Barbara County and if implemented as approved by the Regents, will run the Goleta Water District dry, something the community vowed to never allow to happen again after the last water shortage that lasted from 1972 to 1997. The LRDP has not yet been approved by the Coastal Commission, so we still have hope. Campus enrollment should be permanently capped at 20,000 and all the related development cut back accordingly.

sbreader (anonymous profile)
April 24, 2014 at 2:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Does UCSB keep long term, verifiable metrics to justify this more expensive option of operations, or does it just run through someone else's surrogate check list for what is now foolishly called "green".

Like installing sod roofs in an area that gets little to no rain in the first place. Same with the expense of permeable pavings. "Green" but inconsequential in any practical terms in this part of the world.

Rain barrels when there is insignificant rain. And 50 gallons saved is going to do exactly what in the big picture, compared to the costs and amounts of plastics used. When our rain comes in occasional storms, how many rain barrels does one need sitting around to make any meaningful contribution to water conservation.

One rain barrel - 50 gallons - one gallon per plant per week for one year. Big whoop.

Recycling also pretty much debunked as an expensive and often counter-productive hoax.

Shouldn't a university that is trying to establish itself as a leader in the hard sciences not pander to junk science? UCSB should be a leader getting us out of this "green" superstition nonsense and present options that actually work for the betterment of life for all on this planet; not just Al Gore's pocket book.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 24, 2014 at 9:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Congratulations, UCSB. You provide an example for many to follow. Cleaning up the environment is something that is our duty for future generations.

Al Gore is a very minor player in today's green movement. Open your small Gore-obsessed mind and read up about it. There are millions and millions of people doing good stuff for the planet.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
April 24, 2014 at 10:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Tabatha, there are billions who are not doing good stuff who want A/C and cars and a thriving economy for themselves regardless. You are not making a dent in their lives and their new levels of resource consumption. None.

Permeable paving at UCSB were it does not rain is not going to cut it. on the global scale of immediate pollution problems and economic development issues. Stop wasting our time and money.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 24, 2014 at 10:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

They clean up at UCSB while IV remains an ecological disaster.

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 25, 2014 at 5:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thorium. UCSB should be spending its time and money doing something useful in reaching thorium based energy. Instead of green-washing campus buildings and pretending they are solving global issues.

BTW, the new UCSB "green dorms" are the ugliest blocks of unappealing buildings dumped on prime real estate, as one will see anywhere.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 25, 2014 at 3:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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