In recognition UCSB’s efforts and focus on sustainability initiatives, the campus has received several awards over the years.  Below is a listing by year of UCSB’s impressive achievements.

2015/2016 Academic Year
  1. UCSB won a 2016 Best Practice Award in the annual Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Awards contest presented at the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC) for the Student Affairs and Administrative Services Building Advanced Lighting and Controls Project.
  2. Named a Gold Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists
    • List of 2015 Awardees
  3. UCSB ranked 13 in the Princeton Review Guide to 361 Green Colleges
2014/2015 Academic Year
  1. UCSB Named Greenest Public University in U.S. by Online Schools Center
  2. UCSB was awarded 3 Best Practice Awards at the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference in the categories of Waste Reduction, Monitoring-Based Commissioning and Sustainability Innovations.
2013/2014 Academic Year
  1. Named a Gold Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists
  2. Received National Recognition for leading the way in water conservation by the Earth Day Network
  3. UCSB Extension’s Green Building Program earned the coveted U.S. Green Building Council’s education award
  4. UCSB received one of the highest scores (99) in the Princeton Review’s Green Rating and was named to the 2014 “Green Rating Honor Roll.” The Company tallied the rating for 832 institutions, based on its institutional surveys of colleges in 2012-13 concerning their environmentally related practices, policies, and academic offerings.
  5. In August 2014, UCSB was rated No. 24 on Sierra magazine’s list of “Coolest Schools.” The Sierra Club’s official publication recognizes 162 colleges and universities that are creating solutions to climate problems and are making huge strides to operate sustainably.
  6. UCSB received a Gold rating under STARS (Sustainability Tracking and Assessment Rating System), a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to use to measure their sustainability performance and which is maintained by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
  7. Ranked number 53 on The Daily Meal’s list of the 75 Best Colleges for Food in America
  8. UCSB placed 2nd in the Alliance to Save Energy’s annual Campus Conservation National energy savings competition. UCSB saved over 5,700 kWh in this competition against 23 other Southern California schools.
  9. UCSB was ranked 4th on the list of the top 25 healthiest colleges in the nation by Greatest, an online health and fitness media start-up
2012/2013 Academic Year

1.UC Santa Barbara won the 2013 Best Practice Award in the category of Water Efficiency and Site Water Quality for its innovative Water Action Plan. The Water Action Plan evaluates water use and provides strategies for reducing water consumption. It provides holistic insights and solutions for various types of water: potable, non-potable, reclaimed, wastewater, stormwater, and gray water. UCSB staff collaborated with students from the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management to produce the plan, which doubled as the students’ master’s thesis. They collected and analyzed water data to help shape recommendations, giving them the opportunity to implement their academic experiences in the field. The Water Action Plan also incorporates understanding of watersheds into the academic curriculum and educational outreach campaigns to the campus community.

2. Received an award from the California Central Coast chapter of U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in the category of Resource Efficiency for construction waste minimization and a 90% waste diversion rate in the creation of the North Campus Faculty Housing Phase I.

3. The University of California’s Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEIN) was awarded the California Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA) in the field of Green Chemistry.  The UC CEIN earned the award for their nanotechnology environmental health and safety efforts.  Since its inception in 2008, the UC CEIN has become a world-class research facility focused on the responsible use and safe implementation of nanotechnology in the environment.  UC CEIN is widely respected globally for implementation of novel approaches to assess nanomaterial properties that determine hazard, environmental exposure, and impact on marine and terrestrial ecosystems.  These efforts have helped create a paradigm shift for investigating nanomaterial hazard and risk at a scale commensurate with the rate of new nanomaterial development.

4. UC Santa Barbara received two awards during the Green Business Program Luncheon in February 2013 hosted by Santa Barbara County’s Green Business Program.  The Southern California Gas Company awarded UCSB with the Energy Smart Award for UCSB’s commitment to energy efficiency as well as a Certificate of Participation for UCSB’s participation in  its energy efficiency programs.  In 2011, UCSB’s participation in Southern California Gas Company’s energy efficiency programs saved an estimated 55,326 therms of gas and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 647,314 pounds.

2011/2012 Academic Year

1. STARS 1.2 Gold (May 2012)

2. UC Wide Best Practice Award in Sustainable Innovations (Central Coast Sustainability Summit – at the time named “south coast” sustainability summit, 150 attendees) from the California Higher Education Sustainability.

3. Root 217 won a Best Practices Award at the CHESC conference this past June and has been featured in two trade journals, “Food Service Equipment” and ”Foodservice Director’s Magazine.”

4. In 2011, UCSB Received a Bicycle Friendly Business Gold Award from the League of American Bicyclists.

5. In 2011 and 2012, UCSB was recognized as “Climate Efficient” as part of the Southern California Edison Cool Planet Program.

6. In May 2012, UCSB was cited as one of the 10 Most Bike-Friendly Campuses Across America by Best Colleges online

7. Associated Students/Student Life “Group Achievement Award” to Compost Pilot Project (June 2012).

8. Plastics Pollution Coalition (coalition of 19 organizations) received a best practice award from the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference

9. UC Wide Best Practice Award in Water Efficiency and Site Water Quality was provided to UCSB’s San Nicolas wetland and library mall.


1. Received two LEED-EBOM Gold certifications: San Clemente Villages and Ellison Hall, both under the Portfolio Program, for a total of 12 LEED-EB buildings on campus, more than any college or university in the nation.

2. Received 22 LEED for Homes certifications for 2011 North Campus Faculty Housing-Phase 1 (8 Silver and 14 Gold).

3. Four Santa Barbara County Green Business Certifications (one for each of our four dining commons)

4. Six Santa Barbara County Green Business Certifications – Coral Tree Café, UCen Catering, UCen Central Kitchen, The Arbor, The Store at Buchanan, The Cornerstore.

See the following link for more information: Green Building


1. Featured in an article on surplus chemical programs in the Journal of Chemical Health and Safety, Volume 19, Issue 1, January–February 2012, Pages 12–22; “Secrets revealed: Chemical surplus sharing at colleges and universities.”

2. Published a paper in collaboration with The Department of Energy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and UC Davis on fume hood sash closure stickers: “Fume Hood Sash Stickers Increase Laboratory Safety and Efficiency at Minimal Cost: Success at two University of California Campuses”

3. Referenced in an article in the Scientist Magazine July 2011: “How Green Is My Lab?”


UCSB Sustainability has received many grants through the following funds that have helped with the inception and implementation of innovative and successful projects:

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF)

Coastal Fund