UC Merced Connect: Campus honored for green power

April 23, 2013 

UC Merced has reduced its carbon footprint by using green power generated on site, an achievement being recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency, which has named UC Merced a Green Power Partner.

The campus uses more than 2 million kilowatt hours of solar energy each year, all generated by the solar farm on campus land. That's enough to meet 14 percent of the campus' electricity use.

It's also equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide emissions of more than 300 passenger vehicles per year, or the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of more than 200 average U.S. homes annually, the EPA said.

"This demonstrates a proactive choice to switch away from traditional sources of electricity generation and support cleaner renewable energy alternatives," said Blaine Collison, director of the EPA's Green Power Partnership.

"This is a huge honor and we are proud to be recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency," said Zuhair Mased, campus director of energy and sustainability. "Using green power helps our university become more sustainable, while also sending a message to others across the U.S. that supporting clean sources of electricity is a sound business decision and an important choice in reducing climate risk."

Green power is electricity generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass and low-impact hydro.

Organizations that purchase or generate green power help accelerate the development of renewable energy capacity nationwide and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.

Using solar power is only one of the many ways UC Merced strives to meet its Triple Zero Commitment to consume zero-net energy through efficiency and renewable energy production; to produce zero landfill waste by reducing excess consumption and recycling to the maximum extent feasible; and to produce zero-net greenhouse gas emissions by preventing as much carbon emission as produces.

Much of UC Merced's research focuses on renewable energy, climate change, water and soil health, and other topics that relate to the environment.

UC Merced is also committed to constructing energy-efficient buildings and finding every way it can to save energy, reuse and recycle, from the chemicals in labs to the recycling bins found everywhere around campus.

The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to use green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with electricity use.

The program has more than 1,400 partner organizations that purchase billions of kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Partners include organizations such as Fortune 500 companies; small- and medium-sized businesses; local, state and federal governments; and colleges and universities.

Oregon professor wins cognitive science award

Professor Helen Neville of the University of Oregon has been named the 2013 recipient of the Distinguished Cognitive Scientist Award, presented by the Cognitive and Information Sciences faculty at UC Merced.

Neville studies neuroplasticity -- how the human brain changes with experience.

Her work has revealed how sensitivity to experience varies across brain systems. Neville has explored training techniques to support the healthy brain development of preschoolers at risk for school failure because of poverty.

Neville will discuss her work during an award reception lecture on campus. This presentation, intended for a general audience, will be from 5 to 6:20 p.m. in the Dr. Lakireddy Auditorium on Thursday. It will be free and open to the public.

The Distinguished Cognitive Scientist Award is made possible by a generous donation from the Robert J. Glushko and Pamela Samuelson Foundation. For further details, contact Professor David Noelle at dnoelle@ucmerced.edu or (209) 201-1964.

UC Merced Connect is a collection of news items written by the University Communications staff. To contact them, email communications@ucmerced.edu.

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