From researching how to more efficiently cool buildings to adding compost bins to classroom buildings, many units across campus perform invaluable work that allows UC Davis to continuously reach the highest levels of sustainability.
Thanks to the Big Shift project, our campus is moving away from using natural-gas-created steam to heat our buildings to green-energy-produced hot water. So, what happens to other stuff we use that runs on steam?
In mid-November a crane carried an amalgamation of pipes and tanks, approximately the size of a semi-truck, into the air then down into an unassuming, temporary building just off California Avenue. This impressive piece of machinery is a heat exchanger and a crucial piece of the Big Shift puzzle.
The move from a steam to hot water is at the core of the Big Shift, but it’s only one part of a larger effort toward shifting our investments, our energy supply and our commitment as a campus to becoming more sustainable.
Digging trenches with heavy machinery can have a major impact on campus landscapes and trees if not managed carefully. Big Shift construction crews are taking tree protection and conservation measures to limit this impact.
As the Big Shift project snakes its way around campus you may notice construction crews emptying large bags of white powder into the hot-water-pipe trenches. What is it and how is it helping save energy and reduce our carbon emissions?
As Big Shift construction crews routinely dig eight-foot deep, four-foot wide trenches, there are a few important factors to consider including the existing pipe infrastructure, the health of nearby trees and the protection of cultural resources.
Moving UC Davis toward a carbon-neutral future is kind of a big deal. And the construction project that is literally laying the groundwork to help the campus get there is big, too. In fact, we call it the Big Shift — a multiyear project on the Davis campus to shift to a new source of energy to heat most campus buildings.