In recognition of how UCLA’s conservation and sustainability efforts can serve as a model to other colleges and universities, UCLA has been awarded four best practice awards in the 14th annual Higher Education Energy Efficiency and Sustainability competition.

Among the honors was recognition for the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge, a campuswide research initiative that aims to transition Los Angeles County to using 100 percent local water and 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. The competition, which is a part of the 2018 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, recognized Sustainable LA in the category of sustainability innovations.

In the category of water efficiency and site water quality, UCLA won for Water Reclamation in a Dense Research University. In the sustainable transportation category, UCLA won for Air Travel Mitigation Pilot Program, one of the first programs of its kind in the nation. Finally, in the category of student sustainability leadership, Mark Biedlingmeier, a graduating senior, won for his student seminar, “Introduction to Sustainable Living: From Fundamentals to Applications.”

The goal of the competition is to highlight the achievements that California campuses have made through innovative and effective energy efficiency projects and sustainable operations, to showcase specific projects as models to be used by other campuses and to provide campus staff with a compendium of best practice projects that could be transferable to their campus.

In addition to the four best practice awards, Paul Watkins, chief administrative officer of UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, was honored as the 2018 UC Sustainability Champion for his sustainability leadership at UCLA Health and across the UC Medical Centers. The opening keynote address on climate communications was delivered by Jon Christensen of the UCLA Institute of Environment and Sustainability and co-founder of the institute’s Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies.