Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger came to UC Davis today to celebrate a $1 million grant from the California Clean Energy Fund to establish the world's leading university center of excellence in energy efficiency. The new center is dedicated to speeding the transfer of new energy-saving products and services into the homes and lives of Californians.
Schwarzenegger joined officials of CalCEF and UC Davis, with other government, industry and environmental leaders, in a new campus building featuring state-of-the-art, energy-efficient design and construction.
The new UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center will bring together leaders in academia, industry and the investment community to advance innovation in energy efficiency -- the state's most critical energy resource. The center will also reinforce California's standing as a national and international leader in energy efficient practices that benefit both the environment and the California economy.
CalCEF awarded the grant to UC Davis because of its exceptional commitment to developing and bringing energy efficient technology to the marketplace. UC Davis will match CalCEF's grant with $1.3 million in operating and research funds, faculty time, and office and laboratory space.
"Increasing energy efficiency is our state's best hope to minimize the impacts of climate change, improve our energy security and reduce the cost of reliable energy services," said Michael R. Peevey, president of the California Public Utilities Commission and chairman of CalCEF. "Establishing this center could be a transformative step in meeting the state's clean energy goals, by drawing together the wealth of expertise at UC Davis in a framework that emphasizes bringing innovative technologies to market quickly."
CalCEF is a nonprofit public benefit corporation dedicated to making equity investments in clean energy companies. Established in 2004 via the PG&E bankruptcy settlement, CalCEF supports companies developing a wide range of clean energy technologies that will bring economic and environmental benefits to California, and assist the state in meeting its aggressive clean energy goals.
The Energy Efficiency Center's founding director will be Andrew Hargadon, an associate professor at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management who is an expert on innovation in business and technology transfer. Hargadon was an engineer and product designer before earning a doctorate in organizational behavior.
"We want this center to bring together the people who devise new ways to save energy, those who finance their development, the manufacturers who make the products, and the industries and consumers who buy and benefit from them," Hargadon said. "The effective management of energy costs is increasingly important as companies strive to maintain a competitive edge. The center looks forward to helping California businesses measure and mitigate these costs, and manage the competitive risks associated with energy price volatility."
PG&E Corp. also pledged significant funding support for the new center -- $500,000 over five years for critical start-up needs such as funding for fellowships to attract and educate outstanding students, and for a major conference that will convene worldwide energy efficiency experts. Said PG&E Corp. chairman, CEO and president Peter Darbee: "California is the nation's undisputed leader in energy efficiency. PG&E has been proud to play a significant role in building this track record. Our contribution will help ensure the early prominence and success of the new UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center, and will further demonstrate to our customers that PG&E's commitment to reducing energy usage and protecting the environment is as strong as ever."
Ralph Cavanagh, director of the energy program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and member of the CalCEF Board of Directors, noted that "CalCEF is greatly impressed by UC Davis' position as an emerging global leader in energy studies, and with the university's innovative and entrepreneurial approach to designing the Energy Efficiency Center. The center's multidisciplinary approach and its emphasis on key sectors of the California economy place it at the forefront in meeting the energy challenge today: moving clean technologies out of the laboratory rapidly, accelerating their acceptance, and meeting California's aggressive clean energy goals. We look forward to supporting UC Davis in this vital leadership role for America's cheapest, cleanest and fastest source of energy solutions."
Added CalCEF president Lisa Bicker: "According to the California Energy Action Plan, energy efficiency is the state's highest priority resource, and with good reason. But too little attention has been paid to energy efficiency by universities across the nation. Successful investment models are needed to accelerate the commercialization of energy efficiency products. CalCEF designed this grant opportunity to harness the power of academia and the private sector to address key issues such as technology development, building design, and advancing investment strategies to tap efficiency's potential quickly. CalCEF is a catalyst. The establishment of this center demonstrates our creative approach to supporting innovation as we move toward a clean energy economy."
UC Davis officials have designated energy research and education as top campus priorities. The campus values interdisciplinary research and teaching, and 32 faculty members from 11 departments have signed on to the new Energy Efficiency Center. UC Davis also plans to recruit 12 new faculty members in the energy field during the next several years. The Energy Efficiency Center joins the Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS-Davis), the Biomass Collaborative and the Wind Collaborative, as well as the California Lighting Technology Center as prime examples of UC Davis-led public-private partnerships geared toward solving the state's core energy challenges.
Today's announcement was made in Gladys Valley Hall, the first building at UC Davis (and only the second in the University of California system) designed and built to achieve certification under the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system. It is expected to use one-third less energy than a standard design, plus conserve water, provide better indoor air quality and incorporate natural materials. The building is a tangible example of the innovations that will be emphasized by the Energy Efficiency Center. Less energy is consumed for lighting by employing natural light, photo sensors and motion detectors. Natural ventilation, evaporative cooling and radiant floor slabs are used to reduce cooling energy.
When construction is finished in June, Gladys Valley Hall will become the instructional heart of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine campus. The building is named for the late Gladys Valley in recognition of the long-standing generosity of the Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation.