Strategic Energy Program

UC Irvine kicked off the Strategic Energy Program (SEP) in 2009, and as of 2023 has saved approximately 55,000,000 kWh and 2,000,000 therms of natural gas. Projects have become more complex as the "low hanging fruit" have been picked. Energy savings have been integrated into other projects, including deferred maintenance projects and tenant improvement renovations. Facilities Management also works with campus auxiliaries such as Housing, Parking and Transportation, Athletics, Student Center, and Campus Recreation to ensure that no opportunities are missed.

The SEP is a cooperative partnership between the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU), and the Investor-Owned Utility (IOU). The UC/CSU/IOU Partnership is a unique, statewide energy efficiency program designed to achieve cost-effective immediate and persistent electricity peak energy and demand savings and natural gas savings. UC Irvine is served by two IOUs, Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas. The other IOUs in the partnership are San Diego Gas and Electric and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). here are 33 UC and CSU campuses participating in this program. For more detailed information visit UC-CSU-Utility Energy Efficiency Partnership.

The Partnership capitalizes on the vast resources and expertise of UC, CSU and California’s IOUs. The UC portion is funded by bonds and incentive payments by IOU’s.

The SEP program has funded energy efficiency projects such as Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) retrofits, lighting retrofits, and centralized demand-controlled ventilation.

HVAC retrofits projects:

  • Conversion of McGaugh Hall, Reines Hall, and Gillespie Neuroscience buildings from constant air volume to variable volume systems.
  • Installation of centralized demand-controlled ventilation system in 17 buildings. These systems adjust air change rates automatically, introducing additional ventilation air when indoor air quality requires it.
  • Conversion of constant air volume exhaust stacks to variable air volume exhaust stacks.
  • Outdated control systems upgraded to direct digital control systems in McGaugh Hall, Medical Sciences A-D, Reines Hall, Law and Education, and Engineering Gateway.
  • Campus-wide installation of low pressure-drop air filters.
  • Consolidation of cross-campus data centers into single main data center.

Lighting Retrofits projects:

  • Replacing existing 32-watt fluorescent lamps with energy efficient 25-watt lamps and low ballast factor ballasts in 24 buildings along with the installation of occupancy sensors.
  • Replacing existing exterior wall-mounted and walkway lights with LEDs and daylight sensors.
  • Replacing lighting in all parking lots and campus roadways with state-of-the-art induction lighting.
  • Installing advanced centralized lighting control systems to allow enhanced lighting tuning and ongoing management.

Monitoring-Based Commissioning (MBCx):

Between 2009 and 2023, UCI completed four waves of Monitoring Based Commissioning, totaling 35 buildings. This type of retro-commissioning includes building-level energy metering to establish energy baselines before and after each project is completed. The change in metered energy is used to document energy savings and apply for utility incentives. MBCx projects take 12-18 months and involve a systematic process for optimizing an existing building’s performance by identifying operational deficiencies and making necessary adjustments to correct the system. Emphasis is on whole building metering, database analysis, collection of energy records, and long-term monitoring of projects.

Please contact the UCI Campus Energy Manager for further information.