UC Davis Health Carbon/Energy Roadmap


UC Davis Health


Sacramento, CA

April 2017

Sustainability and Energy Optimization Consultant


In November 2013, the entire University of California (UC) system committed to emitting net zero greenhouse gases from its buildings and vehicle fleet by 2025. UC Davis Health took this initiative as an opportunity to pave the way amongst UC medical campuses towards carbon neutrality, engaging in the development of a Carbon and Energy Roadmap.


At the time of the 2013 announcement, UC Davis Health’s campus was undergoing a Master Planning (MP) effort effective through 2030; and Mazzetti was brought on by the architect, Perkins+Will, to align the MP effort with the development of an Energy and Carbon Roadmap.

Healthcare is a notoriously a heavy energy user, and creating change within the organization posed a significant challenge, as emissions related to campuses are moving targets (especially with the MP adding one million square feet of new construction). In addition, the Sacramento campus uniquely has a cogeneration (CHP) plant, producing mainly scope one emissions, and consumes minimal electricity from the municipality. These variables resulted in each building-type on campus having a varying energy use intensity (EUI) profile and fuel mix, so the biggest challenge in developing the roadmaps was what to target first.


Our team sought to understand and assess the current state of buildings (plus existing programs/initiatives in place), to best align with Perkins+Will’s MP effort, and determined that UC Davis Health needed a dynamic way to account for existing buildings, new buildings, and future buildings coming online 15 years from now. After hearing from stakeholders that they felt uncomfortable digging into technical spreadsheets, which supplied hard data and calculations, we approached the design of the roadmap with the “gamification” concept – the process of taking something that already exists and integrating game mechanics to motivate participation, engagement and loyalty. The result is a Carbon and Energy Roadmap “dashboard”, accessible via web or on mobile devices, which translates complicated data, algorithms, and calculations into easily understandable graphics. Built-in functions allow users to test, visualize, and compare various scenarios to achieve carbon neutrality. A Google Earth-based platform, users can zoom in and out of campus, viewing energy use at all scales – from individual buildings to the campus as a whole. Users can interact with the model, exploring retrofit options that are tied to lifecycles and ROIs, informing the best way to deploy capital to achieve their goals. For example, many of the buildings on campus still have florescent lighting, and the tool facilitates an energy savings comparison –switching out lighting versus upgrading HVAC system types and distribution. This interface takes the intimidation out of decision making, allowing stakeholders to see the whole picture, leading to informed decision making.


The carbon and energy roadmaps are dynamic, user-friendly, and transparent, helping users understand the best way to reduce energy for each building over time, through various retrofit projects. The roadmaps empower UC Davis Health to understand its current state, while assessing and developing actionable strategies to reach carbon neutrality by 2025.