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Optimizing clean energy use at the UCPath Center

This past winter, the UCPath Center made major strides toward clean energy use.

In 2022, in support of UC and California’s climate goals, UCOP’s Energy & Sustainability Unit and Building and Administrative Services Center explored the feasibility of eliminating natural gas for heating the UC IntelliCenter building in Riverside, which houses the UCPath Center. With on-site solar resources and 100% clean electricity from the UC Clean Power Program, changing to all-electric heating would significantly reduce carbon emissions from the building’s energy use.

The building historically used a heating system with two parts: gas-fired rooftop units (RTUs) that delivered warmed outside air and underfloor electric resistance zone re-heat coils and fans.

UCOP engaged Southern California Edison and Johnson Controls to explore electrified replacement technology, but they found that equipment retrofitting would be complex and expensive, as well as causing lengthy disruptions. They pivoted and explored using the existing underfloor heating equipment to supply the capacity provided by the RTUs. From December 2022 to February 2023, they conducted an experimental trial. During this time, the building manager closely monitored indoor and outdoor temperatures and agreed to only use the RTUs if indoor temperatures fell below the comfort range.

Amidst the coldest winter in recent history — including an atypical snowfall — the building maintained an average indoor temperature of 72 degrees. It also achieved a 90% reduction in natural gas consumption with only a 5% increase in electricity use compared to the previous year. Thanks to this successful team effort, we continue to make significant strides toward achieving full decarbonization!

For questions, contact Bianca LaPaz, operations coordinator, UCOP Energy & Sustainability Unit.

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  1. Lena Zentall June 13, 2023 Reply

    Very impressive results! Congratulations and thank you to UCOP for their continued commitment to clean power and sustainability.

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