The UCI Department of Student Housing is committed to the University of California's sustainability goals and supports the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative, pledging to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. Student Housing makes important contributions toward these goals in areas of energy efficiency, green building, water conservation, waste reduction, sustainable food options, and student engagement.

Green Living & Education

  • 65% of Housing residents reported that they increased their understanding or concern about environmental issues as a result of Housing programming in 2017.
  • 112 students have participated in the Costa Rica Program, an alternative break and academic experience in global sustainability, leadership, and cultural immersion.
  • Student Housing supports the work of 20 EarthRep Ambassadors who serve as peer-to-peer educators in their resident communities.


  • The Mesa Court Towers earned a 2017 Best Practice Award for Overall Sustainable Design by the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC).
  • 6 buildings in Mesa Court and Verano Place are LEED Platinum Certified, the highest possible rating for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
  • 38 tons of composting reduced CO2 emissions by 33.5 metric tons.
  • Reduced waste sent to landfill by 114 tons - increasing our diversion rate from 26% in 2015 to 37% in 2017.

Water Conservation

  • 70 million gallons of water saved per year by installing low-flow toilets, shower heads, and bathroom sink faucets - a 37% drop in consumption!
  • 1,500 high-efficiency irrigation nozzles use 20% less water and save almost 3 million gallons per year.
  • 400,000 square feet of turf replacement since 2011, supporting campus savings of 3.5 million gallons of water annually.

Energy Savings

  • 66 Innovative AutoHot demand water heater controllers installed saving an estimated 396 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
  • 113 Housing buildings perform with higher energy efficiency than 88% of peer institutions
  • 8,000 light fixtures have been retrofitted or replaced to reduce electricity use, resulting in reduction of greenhouse gases by 990 metric tons.

Green Cleaning

  • 82% of department spending for custodial products purchases chemical and paper products that are certified to be safer, environmentally friendly, and/or include recycled content.


  • Dining facilities in Student Housing are 97% zero waste.
  • Unserved prepared food is donated to the UCI Fresh Basic Needs Hub (FRESH). Residents donated over 4350 lbs of food to FRESH in 2017-18.
  • 30 vertical garden towers were installed at the Anteatery in Mesa Court in 2018. The Dining Commons will feature #OneMileMeals with ingredients grown on-site. The garden towers use 90% less water, 10 times less space, and grow 3 times faster than conventional agriculture.