Campus Sustainability


WattTime: GHG Reductions From Campus Facilities

Project Lead: Anna Schneider, Sho Kawan

Sponsor: CITRIS

TGIF Grant: $21,700

Project Theme: Energy Efficiency and Conservation 

Project Location:

2015 Application Submission

Status: In Progress

Project Description: This project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions due to electricity use in facilities across UC Berkeley campus by identifying opportunities to shift energy use to times when the cleanest energy is available from the grid, and implementing software and building controls systems to take advantage of those opportunities.

Goals: Recommend demand management measures that would shift electricity usage to cleaner times in campus facilities. Reduce carbon emissions in campus facilities through real-time data, software, and controls. Support student interns and a student-founded nonprofit.


Expected or Actual Completion Date

Project Start date

May 2015

Initial meeting with Sutarja Dai Hall Building manager

May 29th 2015

Sutarja Dai facility inspection

June 5th 2015

Meet and inspection for CNR

June 15th 2015 (determined that buildings were not a good fit)

Proposal Sent for Sutarja Dai Hall  

June 16th 2015

Meeting with Energy Office and research to determine suitable buildings

June 30th 2015

Outreach Meeting:

w/ facilities staff, building managers, Berkeley Energy & Climate Institute, and Energy Office

July 16th 2015

1st project Installation at Sutarja Dai Hall

July 23rd, 2015

(Building manager was on vacation)

Monitoring for Sutarja Dai Started

July 24th, 2015

Inspection for Law School

July 29th, 2015

Meeting with HVAC specialist & software

August 10th, 2015

Meeting with RSSP Office

August 18th, 2015

Inspection at the Tang Center

August 20th, 2015

2nd Installation:  Simon Hall (law school)

August 28th, 2015

RSSP Office Building Site inspection

September 9th, 2015

Sutarja Dai & Simon Hall: system starts green-shifting, CO2 reduction begins

September, 2015

3rd building installation

End of September, 2015

4th building installation or Simon Hall System expansion

End of September, 2015

Notifications software development incorporating staff feedback

Nov 2015

Software training with facilities staff

Dec 2015

Notifications software starts operating, sustainability benefits begin

Jan 2016

GHG metrics monitoring, software improvements, and additional trainings as needed


Final project report, funds spent

Aug 2016

  • Hosted a community gathering for Building managers from various buildings, Berkeley Energy & Climate Institute, as well as the staff from the UC Berkeley Energy Office.  
  • Extensive Meeting with the Central IT staff to ensure that project data analysis will not violate university policies.
  • Working with the Energy Office to find best way to access data sets
  • Project is on track to not only fulfill the purpose of the grant but do even more with the funds. Project has installed monitoring/control equipment for buildings that are currently not being monitored by the energy office.
  • Installed monitor/control device in Sutardja Dai, got permission to do the same in Simon Hall (Law School). This allows project to closely look at HVAC unit energy consumption 
  • Sutardja Dai Hall data is being collected. The system is ready to start cutting CO2 emissions soon.  The connections made through this project have also led to another project with the residential student services office.
  • Campus staff were initially very difficult to reach but project has developed solid relationships with them and now have their direct contact information: this will make things much easier.  
  • Project is having more difficulty getting a larger building on board.  However, the data analysis will be ready to go and project can showcase the benefits of doing this on a wider scale.
Budget Update/Expenditures to Date  
  • Project is operating under budget so far and have used some funds to install additional monitoring in buildings that are not currently being monitored.  Furthermore, project is able to directly control the HVAC in those buildings and this can result in automated GHG savings. 
Education and Outreach:
  1. Twitter
  2. Twitter Post (retweet by the installing contractor of the monitor/control device)
  3. WattTime Twitter Post  (liked by Professor Scott Moura of the Civil Engineering Dept at Berkeley)
  4. Twitter Post 
  5. WattTime Blog 
  6. Facebook 
  •  Sutardja Dai project featured at the CITRIS foundry events


Tiny House in My Backyard (THIMBY)

Project Lead: Ian Bolliger, Oriya Cohen, Kit Elsworth, Zach Gima, Kenny Gotlieb, Laney Siegner, Roopika Subramanian, David Rothblum, Imran Sheikh, Emily Woods

Sponsor: THIMBY

TGIF Grant:$25,932

Project Theme: Transportation and Urban Development 

Project Location: UC Berkeley Global Campus 

2015 Application Submission

Status: In Progress

Project Description: The THIMBY project consists of an interdisciplinary team of graduate and undergraduate students seeking to use the design and construction of a net-zero-energy tiny house as an interactive educational opportunity for UC Berkeley students and faculty and the surrounding community. Their goal is to design a living-lab that demonstrates the union between affordable and sustainable housing, and serves as academic living and working space for visiting students and faculty. Throughout the planning, design, and construction phases they will share their experiences with the community through workshops, course field trips, and new DeCal classes. Although they will build one unit to start with, the tiny house will be a model for future THIMBY teams and other interested parties to continue to develop sustainable and affordable design projects. Their long-term goal is for THIMBY teams in future years to generate a community of innovative, carbon-neutral housing to serve as a living lab for the student body.

Goals: THIMBY's objective is to design an innovative affordable and sustainable tiny house that can serve as a seed for a neighborhood of similarly minded design and build projects from UC Berkeley and the surrounding community. In doing so, they will address the following goals:
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration: Creating an opportunity for students in diverse graduate and undergraduate programs to collaborate on a sustainable campus housing project.
  • Behavior change: Improving the knowledge and commitment of students to sustainable living, so that UC Berkeley’s culture of sustainability goes beyond the campus boundaries to the surrounding student residential community.
  • Hands-on education: Constructing a tiny house to serve as a living lab for students and professors across campus to engage in green building design and construction.
  • Innovation: Creating a model for affordable and sustainable student living, and record best practices.
  • Energy self-sufficiency: Designing an energy system that reduces emissions associated with residential electricity consumption through rooftop solar energy generation, efficient appliances, and innovative construction and energy management techniques.
2015 Poster



Expected or Actual Completion Date

Trailer purchase


Plumbing schematics


Electrical schematics


Structural schematics


SMUD video update


50% design drawings


DeCal spring course prep


Assess legality of various tiny house components


Construction: prototyping and systems integration


Construction: systems testing (energy, water, full-house tests)


Host workshops and field trips for undergrads and specific courses


Materials procurement


Construction manual documentation


Prepare printed materials for competition


Project completion, submit final project docs to TGIF


New Timeline: 


Original, Approved Completion Date

New, Proposed Completion Date

Electrical/Mechanical Schematic Drawings



Plumbing Schematic Drawings



Structural Schematic Drawings



DeCal Course



  • Solar system components purchase: 6 285-W Solar World panels (1.7 kW total) and associated racking, charge controller, and other balance of system items. The purchase was made by June 30 to take advantage of a Department of Energy Grant available to SMUD Tiny House Competition participants.
  • Trailer purchase: An 8’ by 24’ trailer @ 14,000 Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) was purchased on August 31, meeting the SMUD trailer purchase deadline for a $1000 reimbursement.
  • Accepted to present at the AASHE conference: We were notified in June that our proposal for a presentation/case study was accepted for the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference, taking place in Minneapolis, MN in October 2015.
  • Recruiting new team members: Since returning to campus for the fall semester, we have been actively recruiting new team members to assist with creating design drawings and communications documents necessary for continued progress and outreach as we prepare to start building in the spring semester. New team members include an experienced architect who is taking charge of the 50% construction drawings due to SMUD in November, a contractor with  years of professional experience, and an undergraduate Environmental Economics and Policy major who is in charge of public relations and outreach.
  • Sustainability Involvement Expo: Several team members participated in the Sustainability Involvement Expo as part of the effort to recruit new team members and spread the word about the project across campus.
  • Meetings to figure out logistics, liability/insurance, and secure access to build site: Team members have been meeting with campus officials and ERG advisors to determine appropriate protocol for tiny house construction. The team has also visited the Berkeley Global Campus site to receive keys/gate card access and examine the storage and build sites for the project.
  • Meeting with Professor Moura and undergraduate leaders of the Cal Solar Decathlon team to discuss collaboration and merging some mutually beneficial group activities.
  • Media coverage: See education/outreach section.

  1. Meeting materials procurement “deadlines” and informing appropriate funding channels in a timely fashion to ensure payment approval and access to funds. We will continue to work with ERG staff to assure that future  payments are scheduled and approved well in advance.
  2. Materials procurement research and decision-making between options: taking into account financial cost as well as material sustainability, weight considerations, and transportation is a challenge area for our team which we are working to overcome by gathering as much information as possible about each material option and deciding based on as objective a cost-benefit analysis as possible across multiple parameters (environment, economics, occupant comfort, etc).
  3. Coordinating activities across different “working groups” within the team: Systems integration is especially important at this stage in creating the house design drawings, and so it is very important for the energy systems, plumbing systems, and design/structural systems teams to be able to both conduct research independently AND meet regularly to put ideas together in a way that is integrated across (limited) space and, where possible, allows for multiple uses across each system.
  4. Figuring out how best to partner with the Cal Solar Decathlon team is both a challenge and an opportunity to leverage more students’ energy and passions into two projects with overlapping goals and themes.
  5. Progressing along many dimensions of the project over the summer proved more difficult than expected given team members' various summer work and research responsibilities, as well as those of faculty and staff with whom we needed to coordinate. One result of this challenge was the postponement of our DeCal course to the spring semester. We determined it would make for a better-run course if we were able to secure a suitable space and host multiple planning sessions well in advance of the course.
Timeline Progress:
  • Setting internal deadlines for Schematic Design (SD), Design Development (DD) in order to meet the official deadline of 50% construction drawing by November 15, 2015.
  • SD (ongoing and scheduled until the second week of october) is the most critical and longest phase of our design. During this period, we need to make key decisions regarding the envelope and the energy/electrical and water related systems.
  • Designers are simultaneously working on the envelope (insulation, percent of glazing) and on the structural systems of the tiny house. We are looking for a system that would help to mitigate heat bridges to the exterior and bring enough insulation to minimize heating/cooling needs.
  • Different working groups are focusing on energy/electrical and plumbing schematics. First draft have been issued mid-september, meeting the original timeline. The groups now need to coordinate to integrate their ideas within the same overall concept. We want to meet this milestone by the end of SD.
  • From an architectural standpoint, a series of updated plans, section and elevations (that integrate the latest energy and plumbing systems) will be issued by the end of SD.
  • DD will be about confirming our choices and getting into more details for all systems involved. We will be refining our plans, sections and elevations.
  • We are currently organizing weekly design charrettes to gather all the working groups involved in energy systems, plumbing and overall architectural design.
  • This internal design schedule should help us meet the deadline of 50% construction drawing by November 15, 2015.
  • As mentioned in the Challenges section, we have moved our DeCal course to the Spring Semester.
Budget Update/Expenditures to Date:
  • We have not yet made any purchases using TGIF funds as we are still in the design phase. However, we will likely begin procuring materials soon to begin experimentation with system elements, such as agricultural water filtration.
  • Additionally, we procured solar panels using funds available from a DOE grant. As noted in the Budget Adjustment Form submitted 8/28 and approved 8/31, we reallocated funds from the solar panel line item to a new trailer line item to account for this procurement and a lower expected cost for solar panels. We received an invoice from the trailer, but due to complications arising when transferring funds to a UC account for liability reasons, no funds have yet been dispersed. The cost of the trailer is larger than initially expected, but since it will serve as the structural underpinning of the project, we felt it important to purchase one that would be sturdy and allow for ease of construction. We expect to make a payment on the trailer in the next couple of weeks, and will take delivery of it 6-8 weeks thereafter.
  • Also, in the same Budget Adjustment, we reallocated funds from the member training line to the trailer. Planned training sessions have proven to be logistically difficult to schedule. Additionally, we have supplemented some of the know-how we expected to glean from these sessions by bringing on new student team members who have extensive construction experience. However, we have left money in this line item to account for expected  safety training costs as we move into the construction phase. 
Qualitative and/or Quantitative Metrics:
  • At this stage in the project, there is not a significant update in our qualitative or quantitative metrics; however, we beginning to make progress on some of them. The beginning of the school year brought us closer to our goals for Media Outreach with two articles published in the Berkeley Alumni Magazine and The Daily Californian. This publicity, combined with our other outreach programs, created further interest in our project among the campus community. Responding to this interest, we are comfortably growing as we bring on new team members, advisors, and sponsors. As we finalize our design, we will further update metrics to account for our progress.
Education and Outreach:
  1. We attended and are scheduled to attend several conferences around student sustainability.  During the spring we participated in CACS and over the summer, we presented at CHESC in San Francisco.  This semester we are scheduled to present at the AASHE conference in Minneapolis, and we have applied to take part in the December Global University Climate Forum in Paris.
  2. We took part in the Sustainability Involvement Expo where we recruited for new positions and gauged interest for our Spring Decal. 
  3. We postponed our planned DeCal course until the spring for reasons described in the Challenges section
  4. We continued to increase our social media coverage by adding a Twitter account, updating our website, developing a more consistent Facebook presence and participating in Murmur, a new app that gives location based updates on campus about student groups/projects.  
  5. Media coverage:  Articles appeared about our project and the progress we have made in California Magazine and the Daily Cal.  
  6. We developed a tentative schedule for continued blog posts from THIMBY members that can also be cross-posted via TGIF and/or SERC social media outlets

Sustainability in the Cal Greeks Community

Project Lead: Cole Triebold; Sierra Westhem

Sponsor: Engineers for a Sustainable World 

TGIF Grant: $5,500

Project Theme: Energy Efficiency and Conservation 

Project Location: Delta Gamma Sorority House

2015 Application Submission

Status: In Progress

Project Description: The Sustainability in the Cal Greeks Community team will install water aerators, motion sensor light switches, and LED lighting in order to improve energy efficiency and decrease water consumption. After doing this, they will compare energy and water usage data in order to calculate the reduced costs due to the changes. Finally, they will hold sessions at each participating house and educate members of the Greek community about the project and the positive environmental changes that can be made.

Goals: Decrease energy usage in participating Greek houses. Decrease water use in participating houses. Raise awareness about products that have the potential to vastly decrease energy and water consumption that are also economically competitive. Educate houses on sustainable practices. Inspire change across the UC Berkeley campus with participating houses serving as an example.


Expected or Actual Completion Date

Begin project. Find wasteful practices prevalent in the UC  Berkeley Greek community

November 2014

Begin audits on houses

March 2015

Begin Educational Outreach

April 2015

Present our project at ESW    National Conference

April 2015

Research alternative methods of sustainable practices and check for reductions in prices of lighting, aerators, etc.

August 2015

Receive first installment of TGIF funds. Begin purchasing materials and distribute them to houses.

November 2015

Finish first house retrofit

End of November 2015

Continue retrofitting houses until funds are expended

January/February 2015

Begin teaching about project at the ESW Decal

January 2016

Collect/ analyze energy and water consumption. Compare to previous statistics and calculate the amount of money, energy, and water saved.

January 2016

Finish final research and show the Greek community the advantages of utilizing sustainable practices. Use remaining TGIF funds to create posters to give to involved houses.

February 2016

Submit final project paper to TGIF

March 2016

  • Received full approval to retrofit houses
  • Audits being completed week prior to installation
  • Finished retrofitting Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity with lights, and project leaders hope to do water aerators soon
  • Finished audit of Kappa Alpha Fraternity, and installation took place in January 2016. 
  • Finalizing list of houses
  • Getting approval from home owners
  • Understanding method of purchasing materials
  • Different houses need different types of lights
  • Buying the materials and then getting reimbursed quickly enough to stay within the timeline
Timeline Progress: Initial estimate of lights in each house was a bit conservative, and houses are in need of more lights than project leaders originally thought. Because of this, project will most likely end up retrofitting more houses than originally planned. So far, project has finished 1 house. 


Timeframe (how long it will take to complete)


Begin project. Find wasteful practices prevalent in the UC  Berkeley Greek community

1 month


Initial audits on houses

**Audits are now going on approximately 1 week prior to retrofitting houses

2 months

In Progress

Educational Outreach


In Progress

Present our project at ESW National Conference

1 weekend


Research alternative methods of sustainable practices and check for reductions in prices of lighting, aerators, etc.

1 month


Receive first installment of TGIF funds. Begin purchasing materials and distribute them to houses.

2 weeks

In Progress

Begin teaching about project at the ESW Decal

*Decal was not funded and will not be created this year, instead we will be giving a presentation in one of our general body meetings this fall



Collect/ analyze energy and water consumption. Compare to previous statistics and calculate the amount of money, energy, and water saved.

2 Weeks

Planned for January 2016

Will most likely be delayed until March

Finish final research and show the Greek community the advantages of utilizing sustainable practices. Use remaining TGIF funds to create posters to give to involved houses.

2 Weeks

Planned for February 2016

Most likely delayed until March

Submit final project paper to TGIF

2 weeks

Planned for March 2016

Most likely delayed until April

Budget Update/Expenditures to Date:
  • No expenditures as of yet
  • Motion sensors will require a professional to install, but project is currently under budget so hiring a professional is feasible.
Metrics- Qualitative and/or Quantitative:
  • Successful poster presentation at ESW National Conference in Rochester, NY
  • Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji) Fraternity has 105 lights installed with more to be placed in rooms that were locked. Final numbers will be counted then. Audit of Kappa Alpha (KA) Fraternity has finished and project plans on installing 154 lights in KA. Also, project counted 6 shower heads that can be replaced for KA, and 9 water aerators for sinks.
  • Delta Gamma (Sorority Audit):

Downstairs Bathroom:

  • 2 CFL

Gnome Hall:

  • 3 CFL

  • 1 Incandescent

Chapter Room:

  • 19 Ceiling light (Not sure what type of light)

  • 3 CFL Light Lamps

“Little Girl’s Kitchen”:

  • 4 CFL

  • 2 Incandescent


  • 9 CRI (Don’t know what it is but I think it’s efficient


  • 23

Each Bedroom:

  • 2 Incandescent (1 Per Roommate)


  • 1 CFL Per Closet

  • 1 mercury light- 26-40 total (efficient)


  • 4 CFLs (6 chandeliers)

  • 2 CFLs (2 Chandeliers)

  • 1 Chandelier had a light missing


  • 8 CFLs

  • 23 Incandescent

  • 1 CFL lamp

Date room:

  • 12 Halogen lamps

  • 2 CFLs

  • 1 incandescent

Education and Outreach materials:
  • Project will begin working on posters and presentations after they're finished retrofitting the houses.
  • ESW poster presentation raised awareness of project. Primary outreach begins once data has been collected.

Telegraph Green: The Next Least Generation

Project Lead: Maggie Hardy, Katie Latimer, Jennifer McDougall

Sponsor: UC Berkeley Real Estate Services

TGIF Grant: $10,990

Project Theme: Waste Reduction

Project Location: 

2015 Application Submission

Status: In Progress

Project Description: The Telegraph Green project is focused on reducing food-service waste from quick serve restaurants on and near campus, building increased awareness of the scope of the quick serve waste problem, and possible solutions.

Goals: Track one: to understand how the commercial district that most directly serves UC Berkeley undergraduate students could become truly zero waste, eliminating waste from food service for quick serve foods;
Track two: expanding educational events and social media organizing within the district and among students, building awareness to reduce food-related waste from quick serve businesses.


Expected or Actual Completion Date

Finalize hiring decisions for student interns

Aug 7 2015

Develop social media strategy to reflect project’s goals and values

Aug 14 2015

First advisory board meeting

Aug 20 2015

Implement useLESSgiveMORE, with token tins in participating businesses

Aug 21 2015

First Popup event

Aug 28 2015

useLESSgiveMORE one-month evaluation

End of Sept

Plan for/implement “Waste Week” programming

Goal: Week before Thanksgiving Break (Nov 16-20)

Fall Popup outreach campaign complete - assess effectiveness and plan for Spring

Before Winter Break 2015

Identify two “Truly Zero Waste” options for detailed study

Dec 2015

Second advisory board meeting

Jan or Feb 2016

Spring outreach campaign complete

Apr 2016

Complete feasibility study of two options May 2016

May 2016

Final report complete

May 2016

  • Interviewed for and filled three new student intern positions 
  • In the spirit of our mission to be as inclusive and relevant as possible to the many different populations in the Berkeley community, we wanted to make sure our team this year comprised a broad range of expertise and perspectives. We hired a chemical engineering major who transferred here this year from UC Davis with a strong background in composting programs, a returning student in CED who has been involved in developing Zero Waste publicity campaigns, and an economy major who is the sustainability chair on the Cal Interfraternity Council. Our lead outreach intern is returning after doing volunteer work for Telegraph Green last year (from GETH), and is studying physics and chemistry.
  • Partnered with Telegraph District businesses to execute two successful Popup Precycling events
  • This central component of our outreach campaign for the year has so far been met with great enthusiasm from both students and business owners. at our kickoff Popup event in August, we partnered with ShareTea to distribute over 100 reusable mason jars as well as an accompanying “BYO” incentive stampcard, which offers a discount for all those who bring their reusable item to ShareTea ten times over the course of the semester. At both locations, Telegraph Green interns engaged participants to inform them about the project and encourage them to continue to use their reusable item. Names and emails of participants were also collected.
  • Conducted follow-up survey to gauge impact of first Popup event
  • Caffe Strada, our partner for the month of September, chose not to participate in the stampcard initiative, but did donate 100 customized stainless steel thermoses for us to give away. Telegraph Green subsidized a free coffee for approximately 150 people who agreed to bring their mug back at a later date.
  • Began preparations for campus-wide Waste Week
  • Waste Week is on its way to becoming a bonafide campus event, scheduled for the week before Thanksgiving break (November 16-20). We are currently in the process of gauging interest from various relevant campus groups and planning a tentative schedule of events, to include a demonstration waste audit, “Trash Talkers” on Sproul, a “BYOReusable” party, and a “Green Friday” thrift sale.
  • Popup Precycling Events: Hundreds of students were directly engaged through the Telegraph Green Popup Precycling campaign. The Popup Precycling campaign promoted replacing disposable single-use cups and containers with reusable containers and partnered with local businesses to provide incentives to students in the form of discounts and free items for bringing their own reusables. Students were also engage in the Pre-cycling project through social media and direct outreach at the Popup events.
    • ShareTea: the first Popup event of the semester, gave away 100 free 24 ounce reusable mason jars and discount card for customers returning with a reusable container. This franchise location is owned by a Cal alum who generally operates the business in a very friendly manner towards Cal-related activities.
    • Caffe Strada gave away 150 reusable Strada mugs and 200 coupons for a free coffee for customers who bring their own mug/thermos. 20% of participants brought their mug and coupon back for a refill.
    • Golden Bear in partnership with Cal Dining. Gave away nearly 200 reusable snack packs made from recycled plastic bottles as part of Zero Waste Week to promote the new Cal Dining snack bulk bins. 
    • Dumpling Express gave away 20 Preserve containers made of recycled #5 plastic. Dumpling Express is offering a discount if customer brings their own container for dumplings
  • Zero Waste Week November 16-20th
    • Saturday (Nov 14): Game Day Recycling Challenge: “Trash Talking” at Memorial Stadium during Cal football game.
    • Monday: Waste audit with Campus Recycling and Refuse Services
    • Tuesday: Tweet @ Telegraph in Collaboration with Greening the Greeks / Trash Talking on Sproul Plaza
    • Wednesday: SOGA compost education event
    • Thursday: Cal Dining bulk bins Popup Precycling (Greenbear snack packs)
    • Friday: ReUSE Store Reader Giveaway / Green Friday promotion with Moe’s Books and University Press Books
  • Engagement on Social Media
    • Facebook page use to promote events and connect with collaborators. 68% of survey   respondents said they heard about our events on Facebook
    • Surveys to participants.
  • Conferences
    • CHESC 2015 - Eliminating Plastics from Food Service and Understanding Where Our Plastics Go (Telegraph Green Business and Zero Waste Research Center)
    • AASHE 2015 - Fast Food Waste Streams and Zero Waste Goals: Opportunities at the Interface of Town and Gown (Telegraph Green)
  • Project is excited to be working on policy angles related to reducing use of disposables and non-compostable materials in the south campus area; project has reviewed current best practices in other municipalities and looked for partnerships for this work.  Our current proposal is to develop a white paper that could be the basis for further work in the business district and with the city political leadership.  Per lead Jacob Gill: I’m envisioning a report that would summarize the existing policies and solutions around waste and reusables in Berkeley, highlight some best practices from other jurisdictions, take into account telegraph district Businessowner inputs (which would require me organizing some meetings), and finally to provide concrete policy recommendations for Berkeley City Council.  Some of the recommendations could also include nongovernmental efforts such as reusable loyalty programs, which we have our own data to support. 
  • Assessing long-term impact
  • One of the project's concerns is whether a significant percentage of people who attend the Popup Precycling events really use the item they receive after the initial excitement dies down. Originally, project planned on launching a “useLESSgiveMORE” campaign, which would incentivize reusables use by donating a small amount to local charities each time someone brought their own container/utensils/cup/etc to a participating restaurant. Project also intended this as a way to quantify reusables use in the Telegraph District, although it wouldn’t necessarily be specific to the impact of Popup events. Although several managers project spoke to said they would be willing to participate, most of them didn’t think it would really make an impact on consumer behavior, so project leaders decided to reevaluate project strategy.
  • To provide further incentive for Popup participants to bring back their reusable items, we are pairing each event with a discount or promotion on a food or beverage at the partnering establishment for that month. Project hopes to use the collected coupons/stampcards to gather data on how many people return with their reusable.
  • Getting people to use their reusable items once the excitement of “free stuff” wore off. The incentive punchcards/coupons were the project's main way of addressing this issue, although they are not a foolproof strategy and have been somewhat difficult to track after the events.
  • The Dumpling Express Giveaway presented a couple of unique challenges, most significantly that of inclement weather. Besides that factor, which was largely out of project's control, project found that passersbys were skeptical that project wasn't trying to sell them something or recruit them in some way. 
  • During Zero Waste Week, the biggest issue was generating sufficient and effective publicity for all of the events. Another unforseen challenge of Zero Waste Week was that it took place during the Big Game week, which was a significant competitor for student attention, especially on Sproul Plaza. Project also had some trouble with collaborators and volunteers failing to carry through on commitments to helping out with individual initiatives. Project leaders believe that creating a designated group solely dedicated to the purpose of Zero Waste Week would help to mitigate this issue.
  • The project's challenges for spring 2016 semester will be different than the challenges in fall 2015 semester, as the project shifts from giveaway events towards events to encourage people to use the reusables they already have. Project hopes that the pull of “free food” will be just as enticing as “free things.” Project also plans to have more direct engagement with businesses and community partners, which will bring its own set of complications.
Timeline Progress:
  • No longer pursuing useLESSgiveMORE campaign
  • Waste Week set for November 16-20; see “Waste Week Calendar” document in Project Updates folder for specific events and details
  • Added second and third Popup Precycling events
  • Target for skeleton outline of white paper before Waste Week.
  • Third Popup event at Dumpling Express
    • Originally scheduled for late November, but due to shipping complications and other ongoing events, was moved to early December.
  • Create deliverable based on TGIF update
    • To be presented to CoB Zero Waste Working Group and/or other relevant external parties or student orgs
  • Policy work
    • Policy work has been ongoing but not “on the front burner” this semester, primarily due to allocation of human resources in organizing Zero Waste Week. This semester we want to make it more of a direct focus, especially in light of the preceding item.
Qualitative and/or Quantitative Metrics: 
  • Project believes these are important to provide to partnering businesses as well as for our grant accountability.  Our measures will come from collecting loyalty card feedback and the number of free coffee coupons collected at Strada.  Meanwhile we have given away more than 100 reusable mason jars and 135 reusable insulated thermoses (contributed by Strada).
  • Business and campus partnerships
    • Telegraph Green Project has facilitated partnerships across business and campus communities to boost awareness and knowledge of reusables.  Qualitative benefits arising from these partnerships include increased word-of-mouth about city and campus zero waste goals, direct and indirect education about solutions, and the adoption of new strategies.
  • Survey responses
    • Telegraph Green Project received 27 responses from popup precycling event participants in post-event surveys.  The large majority of respondents heard about Telegraph Green Project through Social Media.  Nearly every respondent reported frequent use of their reusable items.  These results suggest support for the qualitative benefits of a strategy that boosts visibility and circulation of reusable products.  Respondents tend to appreciate the utility of such items even after the initial event.
  • Open letter to south campus businesses
    • During Zero Waste Week, Telegraph Green Project collected signatures on an open letter to south campus businesses declaring support for efforts to increase and encourage the use of reusable containers and other efforts to achieve zero waste by 2020.
  • Social media
    • Telegraph Green Project has 231 likes on Facebook, and TG-sponsored events have achieved 776 engagements in total.  Additionally, Telegraph Green Project has 148 email list subscribers.
  • Business partnerships
    • The first Telegraph Green business partnership of the 2015-2016 academic year was the Popup Precycling Event at ShareTea on August 27th.  The event consisted of a free mason jar giveaway to help educate customers about the benefits of using reusable containers at ShareTea and other vendors.  Customers also received a loyalty card entailing a $2 discount for the 10th drink, a total cost of $200. ShareTea also agreed to a $.10 discount for every reusable container use, a cost balanced by savings from nonreusable plastic tea containers.
  • The potential impact of such an incentive greatly outweighs the cost.  For any group of customers that participate, the benefit to cost ratio is $18:1 without accounting for the social benefits of reduced plastic pollution of roughly 4lbs per customer.  Sharetea provided us that they had given discounts for 284 purchases with reusable jars, implying a total of 3.4kg of plastic waste saved at ShareTea alone.
  • The second Popup Precycling event took on a different character.  Caffe Strada opted out of a loyalty program, which makes it difficult to assess the value added to the business.  Giving out 150 free thermoses and 200 free coffee coupons, preliminary analysis showed that the net benefits increase with the assumed average additional purchases of Strada beverages from customers who received a coupon and/or a thermos. Calculating a cost-benefit ratio is problematic for this type of partnership, but the qualitative benefits include increased circulation of reusable thermoses and increased presence for the Caffe Strada brand as well as association with Telegraph Green sustainability efforts.  Caffe Strada provided us that an estimated 30-40 coffee cards were returned, implying underutilization of the provided incentives and a minimum of 470g of plastic and paper waste saved.  The nature of this type of partnership suggests greater benefits but makes precise measurement difficult.
  • Implications
    • An incentive for reusable containers at telegraph food vendors can provide benefits which greatly outweigh the costs, before even considering additional social benefits from reduced waste.  Including a loyalty program allows us to more tangibly measure these benefits, and stronger data collection on behalf of business partners would allow us to gain a clearer picture of customer behavior.
Education and Outreach: 
  • Social Media
  • We have been very active in promoting Telegraph Green on social media, predominantly Facebook and Instagram. Since the beginning of the semester, we have posted 17 status updates and obtained an additional 77 likes on our page (compare to 147 obtained for the page over the entirety of last year). We are including a few photographs with this report in the Project Updates folder.
  • Part of our big push has been to keep a consistent project “brand,” which includes both visual and voice and tone aspects. See “Brand Sheet” provided in Project Updates folder.
  • We have also been taking advantage of the “Events” feature on Facebook to advertise Popup Precycling days, which has been quite successful - over 300 people RSVP’d for the Strada event, and many of them cited FB as the way they found out about our giveaways.
  • Direct Engagement
    • Telegraph Green also strives to engage with people face-to-face, not just online! We have attended various meetings and gatherings to reach out personally to other environmental groups, for example at the SERC Sustainability Expo at Anna Head in September. At Popup events, interns make an effort to approach participants in a friendly and accessible manner to tell them about the project mission and explain the advantages of “going reusable.”  For example, one of our speaking points at the Strada event was that reusing the  thermos could save up to 23 pounds of waste in a year.
  • Publicity
    • Telegraph Green’s Popup event at ShareTea was featured in the Telegraph Berkeley District Newsletter for the month of September:
    • Telegraph Green working with local take out businesses
    • UC Berkeley interns spearheaded the first "Pop Up Precycling" event during the first week of classes, partnering with Share Tea (on Bancroft) to offer discounts for use of reusable mason jars or reusable straws, with a goal of reducing waste in the district. More than 100 students lined up on Friday, August 28 to receive free mason jars and reusable loyalty cards.  The project, sponsored by UC Berkeley's The Green Initiative Fund, is looking for other partners in the district!  Write to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Consumer empowerment
    • Project's focus for the Fall 2015 semester was “downstream” education and outreach. During this time period we introduced and offered alternative beverage/food containers to restaurant consumers. We staged 3 giveaways that were advertised via Facebook events (see “Accomplishments” for details).
  • Consumer education
    • A key facet of our Fall 2015 Semester education and outreach efforts was the 2015 Cal Zero Waste Week initiative. Each day we created a theme that would hopefully encourage the students of Berkeley to become more knowledgeable about waste and ways to reduce it on campus. Students generally are oblivious or don’t have time to care about these issues that lead to the accumulation of landfill waste. This year, we undertook this Zero Waste Week event as a means of opening a line of thought or planting a seed of inception of consciousness of these issues. Our means of advertising our events were done on social media, namely: Facebook events, distributing flyers (printed on recycled paper) and hanging signs (also printed on recycled paper) around university high traffic areas.
Collaborations Fall/Winter 2015:
  • Environmental Coalition (ECO)
  • Green the Greeks
  • Interfraternity Council (IFC)
  • Campus Refuse and Recycling Services (CRRS)
  • ReUSE Store
  • Student Organic Gardening Association (SOGA)
  • Cal Dining
  • Telegraph Business Improvement District (TBID)
  • Local Merchants - Share Tea/Caffe Strada/Dumpling Express

Solar Powering Sigma Chi

Project Lead: Daniel Caveney; Connor Gullstad

Sponsor: Sichma Chi Housing Corporation 

TGIF Grant: $15,000 ($10, 00 grant/$5,000 loan)

Project Theme: Energy Efficiency and Conservation 

Project Location: Sigma Chi fraternity house

2015 Application Submission

Status: In Progress

Project Description: The Solar Powering Sigma Chi grant aims to make Cal Sigma Chi the first fraternity house in California to derive electric power from solar energy and provide more sustainable housing for some 40 Berkeley students. It will set a precedent of sustainability not only within the Greek community but also the greater Berkeley community at large.

Goals: Provide more sustainable housing for some 40 Berkeley undergraduates on an annual basis. Contribute to the University's effort to meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Serve as an excellent source of publicity for both the University and the Greek community. Set the framework such that other Greek houses may take up similar projects in the future.

Mission Statement

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) provides funding for projects that reduce UC Berkeley's negative impact on the environment and make UC Berkeley more sustainable. TGIF will allocate funds to projects that promote sustainable modes of transportation, increase energy and water efficiency, restore habitat, promote environmental and food justice, and reduce the amount of waste created by UC Berkeley. Portions of the fund also support education and behavior change initiatives, student aid (via return to aid), and internships. TGIF is supported by student fees and administered through a student-majority committee and a program coordinator.