CLAS Carbon Smart and LEED-EB Certification Project

Project Leads: Beth Perry, Jacqueline Sullivan, Dionicia Ramos, McCall Wood

Sponsor: Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS)

TGIF Grant: $5,200 (plus an additional allocation of $4,500)

Project Theme: Energy Conservation & Efficiency

Project Location

2009 Application Submission


Project Description: This project improved the building operations efficiency of the Center for Latin American Studies, as well as CLAS business practices in the areas of energy, water, and waste. CLAS seeks to address 7 of the 10 emissions sources: electricity consumption, natural gas consumption, student commuting, faculty and staff commuting, fugitive emissions-coolants, solid waste, and water use (with steam use, university fleet, and business travel outside our purview) identified by the Cal Climate Action Plan.

Goals: Earn credits towards LEED EB certification by targeting waste generation and management, energy use and performance, and water consumption. Conduct energy, water and waste audits to generate efficiency improvement plans in all three areas. Solicit a professional assessment for a fee to make sure we set the appropriate task list and prioritize them in terms of cost/impact. Following these audits, determine the most energy efficient, cost effective interventions. Our projects will be: energy efficiency (updating lighting; windows; roofing; heating; appliances); water efficiency; waste reduction (improved recycling, composting). The above will require behavior modification efforts. We also will take steps to "green" our public events program (we run nearly 70 public/private events and conferences per academic year). Conduct an open house twice annually to showcase our efforts and welcome students and classes that wish to see our project. By improving efficiency and reducing our carbon output as well as offsetting some of our existing electricity load with a PV system in our unit at UC Berkeley, we aim to be a demonstration unit other educational communities.

Measurements to be taken:

  • Gallons of water consumed (we will perform a by month comparison of our usage with data from Physical Plant)
  • Kilowatt hours of electricity saved (we will perform a by month comparison of our kwhs with data from Physical Plant and install Watt-meters on new and existing appliances)
  • BTUs of gas used in heating (we will perform a by month comparison of our usage with data from Physical Plant)
  • Pounds of organic material diverted from landfills (composting will be weighed to determine pounds of diversion)
  • Gallons of gasoline saved through ride-sharing, walking, and biking (with staff, scholars, and working students monitoring their commute).

CLAS Going Green Website 

2010 Project Poster


2009-2010 Accomplishments
The staff at Berkeley's Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) used their TGIF grant to practice what they preach in their "Alternative Energy and the Americas" program. CLAS has taken significant steps toward greater sustainability, such as hiring a student intern from Building Sustainability at Cal (BS@C), to help achieve the goals outlined in the university's Climate Action Plan. Some key moments from the last year include:

  • March 2010: CLAS upgraded its most-used computer monitors with Energy Star models which are halogen-free and made from 25 percent post-consumer recycled plastic, some of the most energy efficient models on the market. The new monitors further reduce the Center's carbon footprint.
  • CLAS became a Blue Certified Green Department. CLAS is the ninth department on the Berkeley campus to become certified by the Office of Sustainability. Certification means CLAS made a significant effort to make their office as energy and resource efficient as possible practicing double sided printing, battery and ink toner recycling, and using reusable cups and plates among other actions. February 2010: As a result of eliminating unnecessary appliances and bottled water dispensers, practicing daylighting, and turning off computers, CLAS was able to reduce its electrical consumption rates by 30 percent when compared to the previous three years.
  • January 2010: A private film screening and reception was certified as a Green Event by the Office of Sustainability. The function was catered by a local service which provides vegetarian options, alternatives to bottled water, compostable plates, paperless invitations, reusable nametags, and sustainable centerpieces. The Green Event shows the Center's dedication to practicing sustainability outside the office.
  • After months of educating staff members, researching alternatives, and testing water quality, CLAS canceled its contract for two five-gallon bottled water dispensers, thereby reducing its carbon footprint, promoting better health, and saving money.

CLAS developed a Sustainability Plan of Action:


Steps for Achieving Goal

Become a Certified Green Department
  1. Eliminate water tower
  2. Conduct a mini week long I Heart Tap Water campaign
  3. Install recycled bulletin board to post statistics on transportation and energy consumption of building
  4. Change default printer setting to double-sided
  5. Eliminate unnecessary appliances
  6. Install a composting pilot program
  7. Encourage purchasing of 100% post-consumer recycled paper
Host a certified Green Event
  1. Advertise event with as little paper as possible
  2. Offer no bottled water
  3. Use local vendors and include vegetarian option
  4. Limit paper flyers
  5. Use reusable plates/mugs/utensils
  6. Use reusable name tags
  7. Make the event a potluck and encourage the preparation of organic foods
Become LEED EBOM certified
  1. Install sink aerators
  2. Replace old toilets with EPA rated low flow toilets
  3. Install motion sensors on light switches
  4. Update all appliances to Energy Star
  5. Complete building commissioning
    1. Install thermostat meter and lower temperature
    2. Repair old heating system to eliminate personal space heaters
  6. Install composting program
    1. Mulch xeriscaping with compost
Work with the natural climate
  1. Fix windows to make operable or replace windows with dual pane low-e windows and weatherize building by re-caulking all doors and windows
  2. Replace weather stripping around doors
  3. Install exterior shades on South facing windows
Conserve resources
  1. Install rainwater harvesting system from roof to water the xeriscaping
  2. Place plants on the roof to reduce heat island effect
  3. Replace old exit signs with LED exit signs
Look at alternative sources of energy
  1. Install solar panels on roof (if seismically building passes tests)
Increase health of building occupants
  1. Install veggie and herb garden
  2. Increase number of house plants within the building
  3. Replace chairs, computer keyboards, and mice with ergonomically designed ones
Go paperless
  1. Advertise for events via chalking and announcements during lectures and reach farther into the Berkeley community
  2. Increase electronic advertisement
  3. Print flyers on 100% post-consumer recycled paper
Rework University campus purchasing policies
  1. Work with the University to green the purchasing plan
  2. Demand 100% post-consumer recycled paper, organic produce in offices, and green cleaning products
Reduce dependence on energy
  1. Search out opportunities for supplying own energy, buying energy from alternative sources
  2. Reduce building energy usage 

Final Report Part I

Final Report Part II

CLAS plans to pursue the following:

  1. Ongoing participation in the Green Building Working Group: As CLAS tries to better understand and cultivate campus partnerships in sustainability, CLAS will continue to participate in the Green Building Working Group.
  2. Training new hires in sustainable business practices: As new colleagues join our office, we hope to train them in sustainable business practices such as daylighting, unplugging appliances and computing equipment, double-sided printing, and other quotidian sustainable practices.
  3. EnergyStar reporting: For its inherent value in monitoring energy use and because it is a prerequisite for LEED-EBOM certification, CLAS will register with EnergyStar.

Mission Statement

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) provides funding for projects that reduce UC Berkeley's negative impact on the environment and make UC Berkeley more sustainable. TGIF will allocate funds to projects that promote sustainable modes of transportation, increase energy and water efficiency, restore habitat, promote environmental and food justice, and reduce the amount of waste created by UC Berkeley. Portions of the fund also support education and behavior change initiatives, student aid (via return to aid), and internships. TGIF is supported by student fees and administered through a student-majority committee and a program coordinator.