Skip to main content

Master of Environmental Science and Management: Master's Group Project

Carbon Free Housing and Dining: A UCSB Electrification Study

four lightbulbs

Group Members: Drew Andersen, Logan Babcock, Daija Odom, Marco Palombo, Emily Pelstring

Faculty Advisors: Kyle C. Meng

Client: UCSB Sustainability , UCSB Housing, Dining & Auxiliary Enterprises



Final Report

Executive Summary

Final Presentation


In order to meet UCSB’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2025, campus’s Housing, Dining and Auxiliary Enterprises (HDAE) looks to reduce scope 1 emissions by replacing natural gas appliances with electrical counterparts. This project compares and quantifies the cost of such retrofits to a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario across three different locations and building types: dining commons, residence halls, and apartment housing. Using yearly natural gas demand and the ratio of natural gas to electric appliance efficiencies, a model was developed that calculated a theoretical yearly electricity demand for each of these three HDAE buildings. Results show that the cost of electrification is higher than the BAU scenario for dining commons, residence halls, and apartment housing by 64%, 29.7% and 174.4%, respectively. Space and water heating are the primary energy services for each building in this analysis, and these differences in costs are largely reflective and sensitive to the capital cost of heat pumps that are used to replace typical space and water heating natural gas appliances. Potential changes in prices of natural gas and electricity prices were found to be minimally impactful on the total cost premium of electrification, but most significant for the apartment housing retrofits. Further studies are recommended to determine the feasibility of such retrofits outside the immediate building setting so that necessary, additional upgrades to campus’s larger electrical infrastructure are considered. 

UCSB Department of Sustainability: Mo Lovegreen, Former Director of Sustainability; Katie Maynard, Director; Jewel Persad, Campus Sustainability Manager 

Mark Rousseau, Assistant Director of Energy and Environmental Office, Housing, Dining, and Auxiliary Enterprises 

Bren School: Sage Davis, Building Manager; Kyle Meng, Assistant Professor

Rincon Consultants: Ryan Gardner, Sustainability Programs Manager; Michael Gialketsis, Executive Vice President Strategic Advisor

arrow up icon