Campus, city take home prestigious governor's award

In recognition of a multiyear collaboration between the City of Santa Cruz and the University of California, Santa Cruz, the GreenWharf partnership has been recognized with the 2014 Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award. Representatives from the City and campus accepted the award at a ceremony Wednesday at the California Environmental Protection Agency in Sacramento.

In 2011, the City and UCSC created the GreenWharf program to foster the development and incorporation of innovative technology into the structure and operations at the Santa Cruz Wharf. GreenWharf has gained momentum and now involves a number of nonprofits, Wharf businesses, private sector entities, students, and interested members of the public. These parties are collaborating on interrelated projects that minimize the environmental impact of Wharf operations while enhancing its appeal as a visitor destination.

"We are honored to receive this recognition," said Ross Clark, Climate Change Action Coordinator with the City of Santa Cruz. "Our community is committed to economic progress with resource conservation and environmental considerations always at the forefront."

During the Wharf's Centennial Year in 2014, GreenWharf completed several high-profile initiatives including installing energy and cost-saving infrastructure, launching and completing a Wharf Green Business Certification Challenge, and creating an ecotourism mobile phone app.

Professor Michael Isaacson, as director of the Center for Sustainable Energy and Power Systems (CenSEPS), coordinated the research efforts and worked on grant proposals to fund renewable energy projects, including a wind turbine and small solar array on the Wharf Headquarters building.

"CenSEPS has been working with the city to develop renewable energy testbeds in order to study the feasibility of using renewable energy sources to power local communities," Isaacson said. "There are many projects focused on renewable energy sources that we are anticipating pursuing in cooperation with the city."

The GreenWharf partnership also supports the City's and UCSC's Monterey Bay Climate Action Compact pledge to reduce municipal greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2020 from a 1990 baseline.