UC Davis Energy News – October 2022

photo of identical room with different lighting temperatures
The UC Davis Global Energy Managers Workshop is less than a week away!
This Workshop hosts facility managers, students, and faculty from around the world to share best practices in campus energy management, carbon reduction strategies and community engagement. [View agenda and meet our speakers]
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Market Transformation Research Program Published Article Featured in Nature Energy


The Market Transformation Research Program team’s published article on building lower-carbon affordable housing was recently featured in Nature Energy. [Learn More]

HVAC system on a roof

WCEC Expands Energy Product Evaluations Hub website with New Products and Categories


Large commercial and institutional customers face uncertainty with performance and energy cost savings associated with purchasing advanced energy efficiency and energy storage products. The Product Evaluation Hub was created to serve as a third-party resource with application guidance, product-specific evaluations and side-by-side product comparisons to assist consumers in making informed buying decisions. [View the latest products]

photo of ASME Certificate of Recognition

Energy Seminar Series


Join us online for our Energy Seminar Series. Each week, these seminars feature an expert in specific energy related topics.

Can’t make it live? [Watch the latest recorded seminars]


Assistant or Associate Professor in Sustainable Systems School for Environment and Sustainability
University of Michigan
[Apply here]

UC Davis Energy News – September 2022

photo of identical room with different lighting temperatures
UC Davis welcomed its sixth class of 14 Energy Graduate Group students. During their first week on campus, students participated in a PowerTrip orientation program to learn about the wide variety of energy-related research and policy work being conducted at UC Davis and in the Sacramento/Bay area through discussions with researchers and leaders from industry, government, public interest groups, and academia. PowerTrip is made possible by the generous support of individual donors.
[Read the student blogs]
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WCEC Published Article on the Cover of ASHRAE Journal 


Understanding refrigerant emissions from air-conditioning (AC) equipment is critical for accurately estimating its global warming impacts. This month’s ASHRAE cover article, by WCEC researchers, describes development of a primary data collection method to estimate average refrigerant emission rates of R-22 and R-410A in AC equipment by examining historical refrigerant used relative to the initial refrigerant charge of the AC equipment inventory. [Learn More]
HVAC system on a roof

CLTC Receives Funding to Demonstrate V2B Technologies for Resilient Backup Power

The California Lighting Technology Center is expanding its research capacity to lead a new effort demonstrating vehicle-to-building (V2B) mobile battery energy storage as emergency power backup at a Caltrans’ facility in Oakland, California.

This $5.3M project is funded with $3M from the California Energy Commission’s Electric Program Investment Charge Program (EPIC) Program and $2.3M in match funds from project partners
[Learn More]
photo of ASME Certificate of Recognition

Fighting Climate Change with Heat Pumps

Western Cooling Efficiency Center research featured in an article by the Energy Institute at Haas. Replacing your home HVAC system with a new heat pump reduces carbon emissions significantly. But when should you make the change? [Read Article]

Cover of Energy Policy Journal

Energy Seminar Series

Join us online for our Energy Seminar Series. Each week, these seminars feature an expert in specific energy related topics.
Fridays, at 10:30am – 11:50am PST 
[Learn More]


Sempra Endowment Chair 
UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute 
Application Deadline: 11/30/202 
[Apply Here]  

UC Davis Energy News – August 2022

EEI Board of Directors 2022
ABC7 News Features Western Cooling Efficiency Center Research
With intense hot weather in many places around the state, abc7 News visited the Western Cooling Efficiency Center to learn about some of the innovative technologies that we are developing and testing to address climate change and energy consumption during peak use periods. [Watch Now]
Headshot of Ben Finkelor

Applications Open–Environmental Justice Leaders in Residence Program

We invite community organizers, advocates, and practitioners from across the country to apply to the UC Davis Environmental Justice Leaders in Residence Program. EJ leaders from across the country will work on a project of benefit to their community in partnership with researchers. Participants will network with elected officials, policymakers, and industry leaders. Apply by September 9th. [Learn More]
Lighting Laboratory in Mexico

Vinod Narayan Awarded UC Davis Science Translation and Innovation Research Grant

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Professor and Director of the Western Cooling Efficiency Center Vinod Narayan received a UC Davis Science Translation and Innovative Research grant for his team’s research on High-Efficiency Polymer Heat Exchangers for a Low Carbon Built Environment. The grant will fund the implementation of improvements on their proof-of-concept model for a heat exchange system capable of reducing electricity consumption and carbon emissions related to the cooling and heating of buildings. [Learn More]
Denmark Consulate General group photo

Student Wins Scholarship & Researchers Present at Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings

Three Western Cooling Efficiency Center researchers presented their work at the 2022 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings hosted by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Additionally, Energy Graduate Group student Ashley DePew received the Linda Latham scholarship. [Learn More]
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UC Davis and Denmark Energy Leaders Renew Partnership

Denmark and California are recognized world leaders in renewable energy production, electrification, and sustainability. Energy Graduate Group student Brianna Dooley and UC Davis’ Program for International Energy Technologies/D-Lab director Kurt Kornbluth visited Danish partners to reignite the pre-pandemic faculty and student renewable energy-focused exchange, with hopes to leverage the synergies of top institutions in both regions to address global climate and energy challenges.
Image of R-466A Case Study

Jeremy Munday Awarded Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Grant

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Jeremy Munday received a $2.2 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for his research in understanding–and possibly manipulating–the quantum-level forces that affect microtechnology and nanotechnology. The project may have implications for further developments in devices like smartphones, computers, lasers, and even vehicle airbags by advancing new forms of energy harnessed at the quantum level. [Read Article]
Energy Equity Seminar Series logo

Article Explores Feasibility of Recycled Content Standards for EV Lithium-Ion Batteries in the U.S

Lithium-ion battery recycling can reduce the life cycle environmental impacts of electric vehicles and mitigate domestic supply chain shortages. In an article published in Resources, Conservation & Recycling, Energy Graduate Group professor Alissa Kendall and Ph.D students Jessica Dunn and Meg Slattery conducted a feasibility analysis for battery recycled content standards in the US, which has the world’s third largest EV market but no policies for recycling of batteries at their end-of-life. [Read Article]

Upcoming Events

Fall Energy Seminar Series
Subin DeVar, Sustainable Economies Law Center
Friday, September 23 at 10:30 am PST
Fall Energy Seminar Series
Francesca Toma, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Friday, September 30 at 10:30 am PST
Global Energy Managers Workshop
Thursday, November 3
Stay Tuned for Additional Details


Apply by September 9, 2022
Student Research Engineer
UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center
UC Davis Student Apply Via Handshake (Job #6380813)
UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center
Apply by September 2, 2022 (Job #6380813)

UC Davis Energy News – July 2022

photo of identical room with different lighting temperatures
UC Davis Launches New Color Lab at the California Lighting Technology Center
The California Lighting Technology Center is establishing “The Color Lab” in collaboration with the Center for Mind and Brain to explore the impact of discrete color spectra on stress, mood, and alertness. The Color Lab will be available to all UC Davis researchers and partners interested in studying the interactions between discrete spectra and humans. [Learn More]
CalNEXT logo

UC Davis Joins CalNEXT Initiative


We are excited to be part of the CalNEXT partner team. This program is a statewide initiative to support new, big ideas to help California reach its decarbonization goals. In the next six years, CalNEXT aims to support the implementation of 170 projects that demonstrate the scalability and impacts of emerging electric technologies that have the potential to make significant impacts within the CA investor-owned utility energy efficiency portfolios. [Learn More]
HVAC system on a roof

Field Demonstration of a Packaged Heat Pump with Indirect Evaporative Cooling


In a new report, researchers compare the performance of a packaged rooftop unit (RTU) that combines a heat pump with an indirect-direct evaporative cooling system to the performance of a baseline RTU with gas heat and electric air conditioning. The new technology was able to maintain thermal comfort, increase outside air for human health and performance, eliminate natural gas combustion for heating, and save electricity, even when including the electricity used for heating. [Read the Report]
photo of ASME Certificate of Recognition

Ines-Noelly Tanos Receives Outstanding Student Paper Award


Congratulations to Ines-Noelly Tanos, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering, who won the first Outstanding Student Paper Award at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ International Conference on Energy Sustainability for her article ‘An additively-manufactured molten salt-to-supercritical carbon di-oxide primary heat exchanger for solar thermal power generation – Design and techno-economic performance.’ [Learn More]
Cover of Energy Policy Journal

Assessing Barriers to Adoption of Residential Distributed Energy Resources


Distributed energy resources (DERs), such as energy efficiency, demand response, and home solar, are key to reducing the carbon intensity of residential buildings and combating the climate crisis. In a newly published article in Energy Policy, Institute researchers adapted Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation theory to develop an assessment tool for technology characteristics influencing the adoption of different DERs. [Read Article]


Student Research Engineer
UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center
UC Davis Student Apply Via Handshake (Job #6380813)

Do DIY air filters work against California wildfire smoke? What to know about cost and safety

Do-it-yourself air filters are safe, effective and can be used to protect your lungs from California wildfire smoke.

Wildfire smoke is harmful and can stretch hundreds of miles. The smoke from the 2021 Dixie Fire in California was felt as far as Denver, The New York Times reported. Here are two safe options, according to the University of California, Davis, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board.

Good air filters can remove dangerous smoke particles from your home. According to the California Air Resources Board, indoor air cleaners help filter out small particulate matter that can cause health concerns.

Wildfire smoke produces harmful air pollutants that can aggravate existing health problems and increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.

The resource board recommends using a certified air cleaner whenever the air quality index is at an unhealthy level, which you can check at AirNow.gov. The agency also says if a board-certified commercial system is not an option for your home, a DIY is an OK alternative.

“These temporary air cleaners should be used with extreme caution, and only if other air cleaning options are unavailable,” the board writes on its website. It says never leave the device unattended and only use box fans manufactured in the last 10 years (after 2012), as those fans “will have a fused plug, which will prevent electrical fires if the device is knocked over.”

Read More


UC Davis Energy News – June 2022

Congratulations to our 2022 Energy Graduate Group graduates! We are excited to announce that Jessica Dunn, Mark Lozano, Greg Miller, Claire Sugihara, Yemi Akoda, Raymond Breault, Ashley DePew, Daniel Simpson, Meena Venkatraman, and Scott Adler walked in UC Davis’ June graduation ceremony. We are so proud of you and all of your accomplishments. Best of luck to you all! [See Photos]

Student shaking hands with recruiter

Students Participating in Valuable Internships & Careers


Congratulations to all of our Emerging Energy Professionals students. These students worked with an alumni mentor during the academic year to identify, prepare, and secure an internship or career in the energy space. We look forward to hearing about your experiences at EDF, Element 16, Valley Clean Energy, and Rebel, among others. [Learn More]

Lighting sensors

Researchers Evaluate Solar Tracking Lighting System 


The California Lighting Technology Center recently partnered with the California Energy Commission, Sonoma Clean Power Authority, and Frontier Energy Inc. to evaluate opportunities in emerging daylighting technologies. One such technology is a solar-tracking lighting system, which delivers daylight via optical fibers to core building areas that otherwise do not have access to daylight. Overall, the evaluation showed that the system is highly efficacious, providing approximately 620 lumens per watt of daylight suitable for some general lighting applications. [Read the Article]
students with testing apparatus

Zero Net Energy Students Help Clients Save Energy & Reduce Their Carbon Footprint


UC Davis students participating in the Path to Zero Net Energy course presented their final projects via an interactive poster session. In this multidisciplinary course, students help clients from UC Davis and beyond save energy and reduce their carbon footprint by conducting feasibility studies on energy and climate projects. [Learn More]

Mark Mascal Receives Green Chemistry Challenge Award


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded one of five Green Chemistry Challenge Awards to Mark Mascal, Professor of Chemistry and Energy Graduate Group faculty member at UC Davis, together with Origin Materials Inc. and its co-CEO John Bissell (a UC Davis alum). Mascal’s laboratory and Origin Materials are being recognized for developing and implementing a novel technology to replace chemicals commonly made from petroleum with products from biomass, such as forestry, agricultural and municipal wastes. Congratulations! [Learn More]
Cover of Journal of Building Engineering

Modeling Impacts of Ventilation and Filtration Methods in Classrooms


Schools are working hard to reduce airborne disease transmission. In a newly published article in the Journal of Building Engineering, Western Cooling Efficiency Center researchers ran classroom simulations for 13 cities to understand how increased ventilation and filtration relate to disease transmission, thermal comfort, and energy use. [Read Paper]

Jesús Velázquez Receives 2022 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award


Jesús Velázquez, an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Energy Graduate Group faculty member, is one of 18 faculty in the U.S. selected as Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholars for 2022. These faculty are within the first five years of their academic careers, have each created an outstanding independent body of scholarship, and are deeply committed to education. Each Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar receives an unrestricted research grant of $100,000. Congratulations! [Learn More]
group photo of the Mandela Fellows

Visitors from Across the Country and Around the Globe


We enjoyed hosting an undergraduate group of students from Wheaton College as they explored energy issues in the Sacramento region. We were also delighted to meet this year’s 2022 Mandela Washington Fellows–25 young African leaders from 15 countries that are participating in a six-week professional development program at UC Davis


Student Research Engineer
UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center
UC Davis Student Apply Via Handshake (Job #6380813)

Research Team Selected for $4.6 M Department of Energy Award to Advance Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power

Concentrating solar-thermal power technologies can help eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector. UC Davis and eight partnering institutions were selected to receive $4.6 M from the Department of Energy to advance high temperature receiver development for industrial process heat and solar thermal power generation. The team, led by Vinod Narayanan and Erfan Rasouli at UC Davis, will design, develop, and de-risk a 150-kilowatt solar-thermal receiver able to heat supercritcal carbon dioxide or air to temperatures from 600-900°C.

Learn More

UC Davis Energy News – May 2022

We hosted an exciting round of seminars as part of our spring Energy Bites. This series features the work of students and staff on campus that are striving to advance our energy-related research and its application. With presentations on everything from floatovolatics to carbon emissions accounting and UC Davis’ district energy progress, there was something to pique everyone’s interest.  [Watch Presentations]

Environmental Research Journal Cover

Research Team Selected for $4.6 M Department of Energy Award to Advance Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power 

Concentrating solar-thermal power technologies can help eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector. UC Davis and eight partnering institutions were selected to receive $4.6 M from the Department of Energy to advance high temperature receiver development for industrial process heat and solar thermal power generation. The team, led by Vinod Narayanan and Erfan Rasouli at UC Davis, will design, develop, and de-risk a 150-kilowatt solar-thermal receiver able to heat supercritcal carbon dioxide or air to temperatures from 600-900°C. [Learn More]
Give Day thank you

Amanda Rupiper Featured in Smart Water Magazine


Amanda Rupiper, a post-doctoral researcher with the Center for Water-Energy Efficiency was interviewed on her career path and recent research related to water loss management. Amanda and colleagues used data from over 800 utilities across 4 states to characterize water losses across the country. They developed a model to assess the economically efficient level of losses and used that model to compare various water loss regulations and modeling approaches. Researchers found that for a median utility it is economically efficient to reduce water losses by 34.7% and that applying utility-specific solutions can save water at a profit for both utilities and society. [Read the Article]
Energy and Buildings Journal Cover

Study Shows Benefits of a Proposed District Energy System Design


A study by the Western Cooling Efficiency Center analyzed the greenhouse gas emissions for two different heating and cooling options for a proposed development in Davis – the Davis Innovation Sustainability Campus (DiSC). Compared to an all-electric, high-efficiency heat pump based system, researchers found that a district energy system could further improve energy efficiency by 26%, reduce total energy consumption by 14%, and reduce GHG emissions by 16%. [Read the Report]
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Sabbie Miller Receives NSF Career Award


Sabbie Miller, an assistant professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering and an Energy Graduate Group faculty member, received a National Science Foundation Early Career Development Award. This prestigious award is one of the agency’s highest honors for young faculty and funds five-year research and education projects. Sabbie’s research focuses on designing sustainable infrastructure materials and minimizing their environmental impacts. Congratulations!
[Learn More]
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Lessons Learned on Decarbonizing Affordable Housing

A new study explores developers’ experiences with low-carbon multi-family affordable housing using three case studies that illustrate different pathways to decarbonization. The work, by researchers at the Western Cooling Efficiency Center, was published in Building Research & Information. The case studies outline challenges and strategies to overcome these challenges, which can help inform future housing development efforts pursuing lower-carbon designs. [Read the Study]

Activists fear a new threat to biodiversity—renewable energy

A small Nevada wildflower named Tiehm’s buckwheat might still be living in obscurity if it had not happened to grow in soil full of lithium. As it is, that could prove its downfall.

Lithium is needed to make the high-powered batteries that are helping the world transition to electric vehicles. Demand is soaring, and mining companies are eager to take it out of the ground at several new sites in Nevada, already home to the only existing lithium mine in the U.S.

But Tiehm’s buckwheat is rarer than lithium. It grows only on approximately 10 acres of land at Rhyolite Ridge in southwestern Nevada—right where one of the new lithium mines is planned.

“One guy on a bulldozer could drive it extinct in one afternoon,” says Patrick Donnelly, the Great Basin Director for the Center for Biological Diversity and one of the flower’s biggest advocates. 

He and some other conservationists see the flower and the mine as emblematic of a broad and disturbing trend: There is a growing conflict, they say, between efforts to address two environmental crises—a rapidly warming climate on the one hand, and a staggering rise in extinction on the other. 

Read More