A picture of the UC Davis campus

UC Davis: A Passion for Sustainability

As the UC Davis EcoCAR Team enters the new year of 2023 together, excitement for the competition continues to build. Setting out to compete against many reputable universities will definitely be a challenge, but if there is one thing UC Davis Aggies have, it is Aggie Pride. Built in 1905 initially as an extension of University California, Berkeley for their agricultural program, UC Davis has come a long way in creating a name for themselves.

            Stemming from their school’s history and foundation, a value many Aggies pride themselves on is the importance of sustainability. One key example of this is in sustainable transportation. Davis as a city has held the title of “Biking Capital of America” since the 1960’s. In fact, Davis hosts the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame Museum designed to promote and preserve bicycling as a sport. Biking is also the number one mode of transportation on UC Davis campus. Cyclists are heavily accommodated by city planners with bike lanes on nearly every street in Davis as well as a 12-mile bike loop around the city designed for recreational use.

            In addition, UC Davis is committed to goals of carbon neutrality in the city, and have recently launched their first fleet of electric buses. As part of the student-ran bus program, Unitrans, that students can take for free around the city of Davis, six electric buses were deployed last Fall, 2022. With another eight buses arriving this quarter, the program aims to be fully-electric within the next ten years.

Beyond transportation, UC Davis is also proudly ranked by the University of Indonesia’s Green Metric as the #1 Greenest University in the U.S. and #5 in the world. A large part of this comes from a heavy emphasis on sustainability in building construction. Many campus buildings are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, meaning that these buildings were built and operate based on a holistic approach towards sustainability. Factors such as design innovation, location, transportation, water efficiency, energy use, building material selection and supply chain are all factors that feed into buildings qualifying for LEED certification.

In addition to individual LEED buildings, UC Davis also has one of the largest communities in the US designed to be zero-net energy.  Just off the main campus, West Village an integrated neighborhood of student, faculty and staff housing and educational and research facilities, was designed to generate, with solar panels, as much energy as is used in West Village.

While EcoCAR will be working to increase EV awareness and knowledge both on and off campus, other synergistic campus programs offer even more opportunities to learn about and experience transportation electrification. UC Davis Engineering department has a slogan for its students: “to create a sustainable world through socially responsible engineering.” Not only is the UC Davis EcoCAR team committed to the goals and values of this EV challenge, we are excited to promote the values of our wider campus and local community.