UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute: New Name, Enhanced Focus 

Name Change Reflects Broader Mission and a New Energy Graduate Group

DAVIS, CALIF.  December 08, 2017 – After 10 years of accelerating the development and commercialization of energy efficient solutions and training future leaders in energy efficiency, the UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center has become an institute.

The institute, now named the Energy and Efficiency Institute, will help bring together the best minds across the university, state, nation, and world to realize sustainable energy solutions and strengthen UC Davis’ leadership role in energy research, education, and engagement. This new name comes with two significant additions:

  • A broader mandate to accelerate sustainable energy systems. The Institute’s roots have been, and always will be, focused on energy efficiency, but this important resource is one critical piece of a larger set of solutions needed to meet key energy goals. The Institute will continue to advance energy efficiency solutions, while also exploring integration with additional areas, such as demand response, energy management and storage, distributed generation and renewable energy, behavior interventions and economics.
  • Hosting the new UC Davis Energy Graduate Group (EGG). Launched in 2017, EGG offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in energy systems and is designed to provide the interdisciplinary training required to tackle the energy challenges of the 21st century and beyond.

Institute Will Help Solve Important Energy Challenges

“We have grown significantly over the last decade and are eager to build on our successes, given a rapidly changing energy landscape,” said UC Davis Professor Mark Modera, recently appointed interim faculty director for the Institute. “There is a need right now for innovative technologies, solutions and policies that will help shape our energy system into a safe, reliable, cost-competitive, equitable and clean societal resource. We look forward to playing a vital leadership role through our research, education, partnerships, and engagement strategies.”

The Institute has defined four important ongoing goals:

  • Empower researchers to accelerate innovation by providing essential services that support collaboration, integration, and demonstration.
  • Solve evolving, critical energy-related problems with speed and scale through partnerships with private- and public-sector stakeholders.
  • Spark action through education by creating dynamic learning opportunities on campus and beyond.
  • Extend the Institute’s reach globally by inspiring engagement through effective communication with diverse audiences.

Building on the Success of the Energy Efficiency Center

The Institute builds on the success of the Energy Efficiency Center (EEC) and its roots in energy efficiency technology commercialization. The EEC was established in 2006 with a challenge grant from the California Clean Energy Fund. It was the first university-based energy efficiency center in the United States. Since its inception, it has built a strong program through its four affiliated research centers: the California Lighting Technology Center, the Western Cooling Efficiency Center, the Center for Water–Energy Efficiency, and the Plug-in Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center. It has also established robust global impact efforts, collaborators, and research and education initiatives.

The EEC has leveraged a VIP Board of Advisors and collaborative industry and agency partnerships to drive new solutions, guide the development of West Village at UC Davis–the first planned Zero Net Energy community in the country–and train thousands of students and energy professionals at UC Davis and beyond.

“The EEC has vindicated the ambitious vision of its founders,” said Ralph Cavanagh, Co-Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council and Chair of the Institute’s Board of Advisors. “It has brought together leaders in academia, industry and the investment community to advance innovation in energy efficiency and the growing need for a trained labor force. It has also helped reinforce California’s standing as a national and international leader in energy efficiency technologies and best practices that benefit both the environment and the economy.”

UC Davis is a Global Leader in Energy

With the growth of the EEC and its transition to an institute, the development of a strong coalition of over 50 energy-related faculty from multiple disciplines, and prominent energy initiatives on campus, including the new energy graduate program, UC Davis has become a global leader in energy.

“The Institute serves as a hub for the university’s energy-related efforts, leveraging our substantial strengths in lighting, HVAC systems, buildings, water, agriculture and food production, renewable energy siting, biofuels, sustainable transportation, fuel cells, batteries and energy storage, behavioral economics, life sciences, health and well-being, and human and community development,” stated Cameron Carter, interim vice chancellor for the Office of Research, which houses the institute. “We expect UC Davis to continue its success in driving the development and commercialization of critical energy solutions in the Sacramento region, across California, the nation, and the world.”

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Alicia Loge, UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute, 530-302-5686, asloge@ucdavis.edu