Customer Success Stories

UC San Diego: Pioneering Greener Standards with Renewable Campus Transportation

Recycling 640 Tons of Landfill Waste

Planting 45,000+ Trees Annually

Winning Student & Community Support

1 of the Greenest Universities in the U.S.

Institutions of higher learning are often cited for innovation and for producing the best results after careful research. At the University of California, San Diego, that kind of impressive thinking isn’t limited to the classroom. The Fleet Services Department team at UC San Diego has been fueling the university service, maintenance and student transit vehicles with natural gas powered vehicles for years. This forward-looking commitment to sustainability has created a cleaner local community and cost-savings that both the administration and students can be proud of.

Servicing a 1,200-acre campus, the free shuttle bus service is the most impactful of the UC San Diego’s CNG fueling initiative. In addition to this fleet of 18 buses, UC San Diego has converted over fifty vehicles total, including sedans, box trucks, cargo vans and street sweepers. The fleet’s transition to natural gas fueling was a gradual process that supported the school’s budgetary and operational limitations. As older buses were retired, they were replaced with green, efficient ones powered by CNG.

“UC San Diego is proud to be the first University in the United States to run its fleet of vehicles on Renewable Natural Gas.”

Moving in the Right Direction

With sustainability in mind, the UC San Diego team began fueling with Clean Energy’s Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuel in 2010, several years after making the switch from Diesel to Bio-diesel. The decision was originally based on lower emissions. UC San Diego wanted to clean up the air, set a good example and be innovative leaders in the community. When diesel prices rose, as they often do, the UC San Diego community started to see the cost savings of CNG as well.

But they weren’t done. After proving to be energy innovators and environmental leaders once again, UC San Diego became the first university in North America to use Redeem™, a non-fracked natural gas fuel that’s made by processing bio-methane released in landfill waste. Needless to say, the university community is fully supportive of this clean, efficient, domestic energy source that is not produced by fracking. Successfully making such a transition is an undeniable win for sustainability-minded communities everywhere.

By implementing Redeem, renewable natural gas (RNG), the university is reducing their operational carbon footprint tremendously. UC San Diego is on track to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by over 1,000 metric tons in 2015. To date UC San Diego’s emissions reductions are equivalent to removing 377 cars from San Diego neighboring roads, recycling 640 tons of landfill waste, or planting 45,500 trees grown over 10 years. UC San Diego’s proud administration and student body are optimistic that their “green” efforts are contagious amongst universities across the nation.

A Filling Solution Close to Home

The movement to fuel UC San Diego vehicles did not come without obstacles, however. For instance, fueling at CNG stations away from the campus proved to be time consuming and labor intensive at first. To solve this issue, the team partnered with Clean Energy Fuels to design and build a CNG fueling station on campus.

Recognition Generates Awareness

Although the Transportation and Fleet Services Department team remains humble when it comes to accolades, they do see the importance of sustainability as a movement worth talking about. To that end, UC San Diego was named Grand Champion at the 8th annual SDGE (San Diego Gas & Electric) Energy Showcase, and The Princeton Review recently recognized UC San Diego as one of the greenest colleges in the U.S. and Canada.

First University in U.S. to use Redeem

UC San Diego is proud to be the first university in the United States to run its fleet of vehicles on Renewable Natural Gas. UC San Diego’s adopting and embracing Redeem fuel is the kind of forward thinking on which the University of California system as a whole can build. As promotion of the program begins, the team is confident other schools will see the possibility for low-risk/high reward success. From there, it’s just a matter of time before more universities follow UC San Diego’s lead into a greener, more sustainable future.