FAQ

How can I get involved in sustainability on campus?
How can I help conserve energy and water?
Should I turn out my light when I leave the room?
How do waterless urinals work?
What is LEED?
What is reclaimed water?
Where can I find organic food on campus?
What types of transportation alternatives are available on campus?
What is Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP)?
Where can I recycle?
Does the campus compost its food waste and/or its green waste?
Does UCSB purchase renewable energy or green tags?
Does UCSB use solar panels?
I’ve heard UCSB is putting in artificial turf on campus!
Does UCSB have a community garden?
How does UCSB control pests?
What’s the deal with carbon dioxide, why is it so bad, and what can I do?
I know electric strip heaters use a lot of electricity, is there another way to keep my legs warm in winter?

Katie a quick email and talk about your interests and ideas.

How can I help conserve energy and water?
Energy conservation at http://energy.ucsb.edu/EnergyInfo/EnergyTips.htm.

Water conservation at www.wateruseitwisely.com.

Should I turn out my light when I leave the room?
Yes, almost every time. Most lights, even new fluorescents, take very little energy to turn on and heat up. If you’re leaving for more than five minutes, shut off the lights.

How do waterless urinals work?

Waterless urinals use a buoyant blue liquid (that is biodegradable) that floats above urine and seals out sewer gas from the bathroom. Gravity takes care of the rest. UCSB has over 50 waterless urinals installed and each urinal saves 40,000 gallons of water per year. To make sure that the urinals are properly maintained UCSB recommends that all custodial staff is well trained in how to maintain a waterless urinal. So far the campus has not encountered any major problems and they do not smell if properly maintained. Maintenance time is reduced in a waterless urinal and the replaceable plastic cartridge inside is 100% recyclable. Since there is no water in the urinal there is less bacterial growth; there is also no handle to flush, and no unflushed “present” from the last user.

What is LEED?
LEED is a rating and certification system for green buildings, run by the United States Green Building Council (www.usgbc.org). LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. They offer certification for new buildings as well as existing ones. The process deals with enhancing and ensuring energy and water efficiency, building occupant comfort and safety, the use of environmentally friendly chemicals, and other qualities that make for a well-functioning building with minimal environmental impact.

All new buildings programmed after July, 2004 are required to meet LEED Silver standard for new construction. In 2005, UCSB received a LEED Silver rating for an existing building, Girvetz Hall, which became the first LEED Existing Building in the UC system. The Bren School of Environmental Science and Management met the highest standard: LEED Platinum for new construction and is widely regarded as the greenest lab building in the country. Building off the strength of Girvetz Hall’s success, there are more campus buildings going through the LEED Existing Building program. Click here for a complete list of our LEED certified buildings.

What is reclaimed water?
Reclaimed water is wastewater which has undergone a treatment process, but does not meet drinking (potable) water standards. At UCSB, reclaimed water is used for 90% of its irrigation, and is used in some buildings to flush toilets. This water is piped from wastewater treatment facilities through different lines than those used for drinking water.

The use of reclaimed water is beneficial as it frees up freshwater for other purposes and costs UCSB 80% less than potable water. In addition, pumping, purifying, and cleaning, requires a lot of energy. Reclaimed water is treated, but only must travel about a mile back to campus from the treatment plant…much less energy required!

Where can I find organic food on campus?
You can find organic and/or local food on many spots on campus, and availability is constantly growing. The University Center offers many organic fruits and vegetables at Romaine’s. The Arbor stocks a host of organic snacks. In addition, the residence hall dining commons to offer more organic and local food to residents.

What types of transportation alternatives are available on campus?
The Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) has information about incentives for commuting by bike, bus, vanpool, and carpool.
Biking: UCSB is a very bike-friendly campus. For information about biking in Santa Barbara County, visit the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition.
Buses: You can access UCSB from just about anywhere in Santa Barbara County with the bus services of:
Santa Barbara MTD (Goleta to Carpenteria)
Clean Air Express (Santa Maria, Buellton, and Lompoc)
VISTA (Goleta to Ventura)

What is Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP)?
Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) is a style of purchasing that considers sustainability issues when purchasing appliances, electronics, cleaning and paper products, etc. For more information, please see the Procurement web page.

Where can I recycle?

  • Aluminum, plastic, and newspaper can go in the outdoor recycling clusters.
  • Cardboard goes in labeled green dumpsters or can be collapsed and left near indoor trashcans for custodians.
  • Office pack, which includes all paper besides newspaper, magazines, and fluorescents, can be recycled in green cylinder-shaped trashcans found in most offices and classrooms, or in white outdoor dumpsters.
  • Magazines and catalogs can be recycled in the super pack dumpster behind the library. Click here for a map of outdoor recycling dumpsters.
  • AS Recycling can take e-waste like CD’s, diskettes, and cell phones in red containers found at these locations. Cellphones can be recycled in Housing and Residential Services, Bldg. 549.
  • Batteries should be collected by departments and dropped off at Environmental Health and Safety. Call 893-3293 for more info. The Reserve Book Room has a bucket near the entrance for alkaline batteries.
  • Working electronics can be donated to thrift stores and charities. Otherwise, they can be brought to MarBorg Recycling Facility, 119 North Quarantina St., Santa Barbara. For more info, checkout the Santa Barbara County recycling website.

Does the campus compost its food waste and/or its green waste?
Yes, and the amount of composting is going up quickly. UCSB composts all their green waste from landscape maintenance and uses much of the resulting mulch on site as organic soil amendment. The dining commons compost all their food prep scraps, as well as food waste from the plates.. Most UCen restaurants compost coffee grounds and some food waste and continue to expand this operation. UCSB hopes to expand composting to the entire campus in the near future.

Does UCSB purchase renewable energy or green tags?
UCSB, through Southern California Edison, gets 16% of its electricity from renewable sources, and gets a bit more from on-site solar generation (see below). Qualified renewable energy sources are wind, geothermal, biomass, small hydro-electric, and solar.

Does UCSB use solar panels?

Yes. Click here for a list of all the PV arrays on the UCSB campus.

Also, many residence halls get much of their hot water from solar hot water collectors.

To many people, these sleek, quiet, rooftop ornaments are synonymous with sustainability. The reason UCSB has not installed more solar PV is that they are not the best way to lower our environmental impact. Energy conservation is much, much cheaper and is currently the best way to lower the amount of energy we get from the grid. If you slipped someone a check and told them to prevent as much pollution as possible, you’re hoping they’ll spend the money on conservation. Conservation (and the incredible team of engineers who work on it) is the reason that UCSB does not have as high an environmental impact as many universities and allows literally millions of dollars to go to education instead of buying electricity. But these conservation projects deal mostly with complex building systems like ventilation and cooling, so, for the most part, people don’t see, hear, or care about all the work our engineers do, even though every project to upgrade a building fan system might have the same impact as putting a nice new PV array on your favorite building. So next time you see someone on campus installing a variable frequency drive, give them a hug for making our campus greener.

I’ve heard UCSB is putting in artificial turf on campus! What’s wrong with regular grass?
Artificial turf is a synthetic surface which resembles grass. It requires less maintenance than natural turf, which lowers labor costs, and does not require watering or fertilization. It has been installed in some areas around campus, including Rob Field near UCSB’s Recreation Center. This field is made up of synthetic material infilled with rubber particles that allow water to escape through to a drainage system below.

There are a few possible applications of artificial turf outside use on sports fields. Regular grass is incredibly resource and labor intensive to maintain. Grass is very hard to maintain, especially without expensive and dangerous chemicals, which UCSB tries to minimize. Weekly mowing and trimming puts pollution (and noise–remember those mornings?) into the air. Even with all this work, high traffic lawns still take a beating during winter rains and can sustain long-lasting damage. Artificial turf isn’t perfect either, but it’s almost maintenance free, made from recyclable materials, and requires nothing underground (like sprinkler lines). Most people prefer real lawns on a gut level, but synthetic lawns are more appropriate for many applications. UCSB is experimenting with some non-sports applications of artificial turf.

Does UCSB have a community garden?
Yes, there is a community garden behind Harder Stadium. Anyone can join and grow any (legal) crops they want, as long as they’re organic! Information can be found here.

How does UCSB control pests?
UCSB uses an approach called Integrated Pest Management (IPM) which manages pests through a variety of environmentally-friendly control and prevention methods, as opposed to the use of pesticides alone. More information.

What’s the deal with carbon dioxide, why is it so bad, and what can I do?
Carbon dioxide is main pollutant responsible for climate change. Nearly all credible scientists are in agreement that climate change is occurring and that humans are at least partly, if not mostly, responsible. For a brief description of global warming and how humans are causing it, go here.

But you can help!

I know electric strip heaters use a lot of electricity, is there another way to keep my legs warm in winter?

Absolutely. Strip heaters typically use 1.5 kW of electricity, cost $600-$1,000 per year, are a fire risk, and play havoc with the building climate control system. Please do not use electric strip heaters! There are infrared heaters that use a fraction of electricity and do not pose any of the other hazards.