The University of California's 2025 Carbon Neutrality Goal

Wendell Brase, University of California, Irvine

The University of California has pledged to become the first major university to become carbon neutral by emitting net zero greenhouse gases from its buildings and vehicle fleet by 2025. The University's Carbon Neutrality Initiative builds on UC's pioneering work on climate research and furthers its leadership in sustainable business practices. To attain carbon neutrality by 2025, UC is improving its energy efficiency, developing new sources of renewable energy, and enacting a range of related strategies to cut carbon emissions. President Napolitano has formed the Global Climate Leadership Council (GCLC) to advise UC on achieving this ambitious goal while also providing guidance for furthering the University's other longstanding sustainability goals and integrating these goals into UC's teaching, research, and public service mission.

Wendell Brase, vice chancellor for administrative and business services at UC Irvine, co-chairs the new leadership council along with Nathan Brostrom, UC's executive vice president for business operations. Vice Chancellor Brase will discuss the Leadership Council and various projects it is implementing in pursuit of achieving the 2025 goal. One approach is to develop a platform to share the latest research and proven deep energy efficiency measures those that reduce energy consumption and associated carbon emissions by half or more across the system. Energy use in individual buildings and laboratories at UC has been reduced by 50 percent or more through ultra-efficient lighting, smart building management systems, and other technologies. UC is also looking at devising processes for prioritizing when and where to retrofit buildings and deploy the new technology.

Learning Objectives

  • Participants will be able to describe the University of California's 2025 carbon neutrality goal and contrast that with their own institutions' climate goals.
  • Participants will acquire an understanding of what UC characterizes as "deep energy efficiency" and be able to begin identifying comparable potential targets for energy savings in their own institutions.
  • Participants will explore UC's integrated institutional approach to carbon neutrality and begin to evaluate the potential costs and benefits of pursuing a similar program within their own organizations.
  • Participants will acquire an understanding of work being done at the campus level in support of the UC's carbon neutrality goal.


Wendell Brase co-chairs the University of California's Global Climate Leadership Council and leads an award-winning sustainability program in his role as UC Irvine's Vice Chancellor for Administrative and Business Services. The campus received California's highest environmental award, the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, in 2008 and again in 2013, and the U.S. EPA's 2014 Climate Leadership Award for Organizational Leadership. UCI has 21 LEED Platinum and Gold buildings.


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