Sustainable Systems Science for Accelerating Clean Energy Transitions and Climate Solutions

The next few years are critical. Immediate and deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are necessary across all sectors or limiting warming to 1.5 °C will be beyond reach.  Sustainable systems science provides a useful framework and tools to characterize mobility, buildings, food, and other systems and to guide and accelerate sustainability transformations.  Systems analysis tools such as life cycle assessment can be used to evaluate incumbent systems as well as outcomes from interventions addressing and aligning technology, design, policy, market, and consumer behavior – levers that are key to accelerating clean energy and climate solutions.

Life cycle-based tools are valuable systems analysis methods because they encompass production and consumption processes, can map to stakeholder decisions, generate a wide set of performance metrics (e.g., energy and carbon footprints, cost), and can uncover tradeoffs in outcomes that exist across space and time.

This seminar will demonstrate the utility of life cycle-based methods including life cycle design and optimization tools.  Key findings from Center for Sustainable Systems research on automobiles (e.g., ICEV, BEV, CAV), buildings (e.g., whole buildings, appliances, lighting), infrastructure, and food systems will be highlighted to inform future carbon neutrality research, technology development, consumer choices, and policy.

Dr. Greg Keoleian is the Peter M. Wege Professor of Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan and serves as Director of the Center for Sustainable Systems, which he cofounded in 1991.  He has appointments as Professor in the School for Environment and Sustainability and in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and co-directs MI Hydrogen, a cross campus enterprise to create hydrogen solutions that accelerate clean energy transitions.

His research focuses on the development and application of life cycle models and sustainability metrics to guide the design and improvement of products and technology.  He analyzes life cycle energy, greenhouse gas emissions, costs and other impacts of conventional and alternative vehicle technology, renewable energy technologies, buildings and infrastructure, and food systems to improve their sustainability.

He has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan and was recently named to the Reuters Hot List of the world’s top climate scientists.

New Wine in Old Bottle: Evolution of the Texas Electricity Market Since 2021 Blackouts and Broader Electricity System Implications

In February 2021 winter storm Uri left hundreds dead and tens of billions of dollars in losses in Texas. This talk will take an integrative stock of the lessons and insights that have emerged regarding the functioning of the ERCOT electricity market in the aftermath of Uri. By examining the nature of recent changes in electricity policy and regulation in ERCOT amid a vastly different federal policy landscape since Uri, the talk will explore the drivers of those changes and the implications for electricity system design and operations.

Dr. Varun Rai is the Walt and Elspeth Rostow Professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, with a joint appointment in Mechanical Engineering. His interdisciplinary research, delving with issues at the interface of energy systems, complex systems, decision science, and public policy, develops policy solutions for a sustainable and resilient energy system. During 2013-2015 he was a Commissioner for the vertically-integrated electric utility Austin Energy and from 2019-2021 he served as director of the UT Austin Energy Institute. Dr. Rai was awarded the 2016 David N. Kershaw Award and Prize, which “was established to honor persons who, at under the age of 40, have made a distinguished contribution to the field of public policy analysis and management.” He received his Ph.D. and MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur.

Energy Planning and Emissions Reductions: AEC-EMIT, SCC, and Equity

A brief introduction to applied work in the areas of energy planning and emissions reductions modeling. This presentation will include examples from the presenter’s work on emissions modeling in Puerto Rico, social cost of carbon analysis, and equity analysis within the climate and energy space. Attendees should review the work of the Applied Economics Clinic (here) and come prepared with questions on particular projects or reports.

Dr. Elizabeth A. Stanton is the founder and director of the Applied Economics Clinic. For bio and CV please see:

Wild Energy Seminar: April 12th, 2023

April 12, 2023  |  2:10PM-3:30PM

The Future is Bright:
Opportunities for Solar Energy Dual Land Uses to Provide Ecosystem Services and Meet Sustainable Development Goals

A guest seminar from valued research partners at Argonne National Laboratory

Location: Plant and Environmental Sciences Building 3001

Time: 2:10pm – 3:30pm

Join Us



vector logo with trees and outlines of industrial buildings

2022 Industrial Decarbonization Symposium

On April 25, 2022, UC Davis will host an Industrial Decarbonization Symposium. This in-person event will bring together public and private sector stakeholders to discuss near- and medium-term opportunities for decarbonization of California’s industry. Conversations will explore ways industry, utilities, regulators, and researchers can partner together to advance cost-effective solutions that reduce GHG emissions and increase resiliency and load flexibility. While the focus of this symposium will be on California, the solutions explored will be relevant nationally and internationally.

Learn More

Energy Graduate Group Virtual Information Session

Thursday, December 16, 2021  |  2pm – 3:30pm PST

UC Davis’ Energy Graduate Group (EGG) is designed to meet the world’s growing need for highly qualified, thoughtful and dedicated leaders in sustainable energy systems. EGG offers MS and PhD degrees in Energy Systems in two tracks of study: Energy Science & Technology and Energy Policy & Management. Students take relevant coursework from across the UC Davis campus and conduct interdisciplinary research to address pressing environmental, economic, policy, and social challenges related to energy production and consumption facing California, the U.S., and the world.

In this Virtual Information Session you can:

  • Learn more about the Energy Graduate Group
  • Talk with students and faculty
  • Discover what research faculty are conducting
  • Find out about the application and admissions process

Watch Video

Global Energy Manager’s Workshop 2021 (Online)

On October 19-20, 2021, UC Davis will host the third Global Energy Managers Workshop, where facility managers, students, and faculty from around the world will meet to share and learn about energy-saving, cost management, and carbon reduction strategies.

This year’s event will be online via Zoom. We have an exciting agenda and hope you can participate.

Watch Videos and See Presentations

Energy audit bootcamp photo within UC Davis facilities with a professor showing students how something works

Energy Audit Bootcamp – Online Training

Date: June 28-29, 2021
Location: Online
Description: Pacific Gas & Electric will be hosting a 2-day online workshop where attendees will develop energy auditing skills. The instructor, Ryan Stroupe, will provide an overview of building technologies with an emphasis on distinguishing older, inefficient equipment from newer efficient systems. In-class exercises and mock-audit activities will allow attendees to immediately apply what they have learned through virtual field exercises. 
Register Now

small image for UC Davis Give Day. Young, male African American scientist working on materials science

UC Davis Give Day

Date: April 16-17, 2021
Location: Online
Description: Each year, UC Davis hosts Give Day – a campus-wide online fundraising event that gives everyone a chance to come together to support their favorite programs. By giving to our Energy Innovation Fund you will help advance sustainable energy solutions and train the next generation of energy leaders. The top priority of these gifts are our extraordinary students. 
Give Now