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Celebrating Earth Month at UCOP

UCPath Center solar-panel covered parking area

A solar energy system in the UCPath Center employee parking lot.

This Earth Month, the Sustainability Employee Resource Group (SERG) wants UCOP to take a look back at the past few years and ask: Was the unsettling of everything we considered normal a needed reset?

Last April, vaccinations were finally beginning to hit the mainstream, and the question of when we would finally transition from a remote, socially distanced lifestyle back to our old lives lingered.

This year, we find ourselves in the midst of defining a new normal. We’re at an unconventional crossroads, and we must consider how the choices we make every day — as individuals and as a UCOP community — can directly contribute to climate solutions and environmental justice during Earth Month and beyond.

2021 UC advancements

Over the past year, we developed integrative and accessible solutions that will help ensure our communities’ and planet’s well-being. We placed an essential focus on centering diversity, equity, inclusion and justice throughout our efforts. Here are some of the highlights:

  • At UCOP’s Oakland headquarters, our major office consolidation led to an unprecedented emissions reduction. Our greenhouse gas emissions decreased by about 48%, water usage decreased by 64% and 53% of our waste was diverted from landfills to recycling and compost. That many staff were working from home due to COVID-19 was a major factor in these statistics, but they still represent a big achievement for UCOP. We’re hoping to build on this momentum and keep sustainability top of mind as employees return to the office.
  • At the UCPath Center in Riverside, solar panels now adorn the parking lot with an elevated canopy design that shades approximately 40% of the parking area. The panels will reduce carbon emissions by 6,000 metric tons over 20 years, all while offering cooler cars for employees.
  • Most UC locations are also embracing the move to renewables. UC Berkeley, UC Merced, UCLA, UCSF Health and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab have built new solar array installations on rooftops, parking lots and in open spaces — much like the UCPath Center’s parking project.

We’re on the right track in accordance with our goals, and we’re hoping that our UCOP community is excited about our sustainable developments. Read more about UC’s sustainability progress in the 2021 Sustainability Annual Report, or get involved in the UCOP Sustainability Employee Resource Group by emailing And, stay tuned to Link for more Earth Month content, including ways to get involved in climate resilience and greening your office.


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