The Environmental Change Research Network at Berkeley is UC Berkeley’s hub for interdisciplinary research to address our changing climate.
Centers / Institutes
Berkeley Education Alliance for Research in Singapore
Costas Spanos, Director
In 2011, the University of California established the Berkeley Education Alliance for Research in Singapore (BEARS) within the framework of the Campus of Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE). BEARS is a non-profit company incorporated in Singapore and managed by the College of Engineering at UC Berkeley.
Berkeley Natural History Museums
Berkeley Water Center
David Sedlak, Co-Director
Isha Ray, Co-Director
Sasha Harris-Lovett, External Relations and Postdoctoral Fellow
The Berkeley Water Center (BWC) seeks to create more resilient, equitable and sustainable water systems that provide access to safe water for all.
BWC works across the campus and with Berkeley Lab, focusing on a wide range of research interests, including:
• Engineered infrastructure
• Technology development
• Natural and engineered water systems
• Equitable access to drinking water and sanitation
• Water law, policy and economics
• Public health
The BWC carries out its mission through four primary activities:
Convening diverse teams to develop interdisciplinary research projects for local and global water challenges.
Facilitating critical collaborations among academia, policy-makers, and practitioners.
Translating and promoting research results to multiply BWC’s impact on policy-and decision-making.
Empowering, training, and supporting the water leaders of the 21st century by providing community and opportunities for UC Berkeley students and postdocs.
California-China Climate Institute
Fan Dai, Director
The California-China Climate Institute is led by former California Governor Jerry Brown in partnership with Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs. Launched in September 2019, the Institute was established to spur further climate action through joint research, training and dialogue in California and China. This Institute will inform national policy makers, foster dialogue and cooperation, and promote the implementation of climate solutions at all levels.
The Institute is a UC-wide initiative housed jointly at UC Berkeley’s School of Law — through the Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE) — and the College of Natural Resources, in partnership with Tsinghua University’s Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development. The Institute receives guidance and support from expert policy and operations staff, business, academic and climate advisory committees and a governing board of top university and government officials.
The Institute’s ground-breaking work is built around three sets of activities:
• Conducting climate research at Berkeley, other UC campuses and Tsinghua University on a range of topics, including carbon pricing, zero emissions vehicles, resilience/adaptation, carbon capture/storage, long-term climate goals.
• Facilitating climate dialogue among high level China/U.S. business, government and climate leaders through conferences and meetings at Berkeley and Tsinghua University.
• Developing, in collaboration with the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development at Tsinghua University, a climate leadership program that will create new opportunities for Chinese and California researchers and scientists, government staff and policymakers to learn from their counterparts. This will begin with a training program at Berkeley in 2020 followed by 2-month training sessions in following years.
To learn more about the California China Climate Institute, please visit our website.
California Institute for Energy and Environment
The California Institute for Energy and Environment (CIEE) conducts public-interest energy research, and initiates, plans, manages, and administers high-impact research programs involving experts at the University of California, other universities, government, industry, and nonprofits. CIEE is based in the University of California at CITRIS.
CIEE partners with the California Energy Commission, the California Public Utilities Commission, the U.S. Department of Energy, utilities, and other research sponsors to help form the research agenda for California energy science, technology, and policy.
CIEE’s aim is to advance promising technologies and practices, field-test them with our partners, and nurture them to wide-scale use by consumers, business, and industry, in California and beyond — while moving California steadily towards its ambitious energy goals.
CIEE’s key research focus areas are:
• Energy efficiency
• Renewables (where they meet the grid)
• Integration of the grid (sensors and software)
To learn more about CIEE, please visit our website.
Center for the Built Environment
The Center for the Built Environment (CBE) brings together industry leaders and internationally recognized researchers to produce substantial, holistic, and far-sighted research on buildings. CBE works to improve the performance of buildings by providing timely, unbiased information on building technologies and design and operation techniques.
CBE’s industry partners are a diverse set of industry and government organizations. Their perspectives help CBE to focus on relevant and timely topics, while many partners are actively involved in CBE research activities.
CBE focuses on four topic areas:
Indoor Environments - New methods to measure the performance of buildings in terms of comfort, workplace efficiency, and operations.
Building HVAC Systems - New and advanced HVAC systems that offer opportunities for energy savings and benefits to occupants.
Building Façade Systems - Tools and criteria for evaluating facade performance in terms of occupant comfort and energy efficiency.
Human Interactions - New information technologies provide ways to optimize the performance of building systems.
• Occupant Indoor Environmental Quality Survey
• CBE Rad Tool: Early Design Tool for High Thermal Mass Radiant Systems
• Integrating Smart Ceiling Fans and Communicating Thermostats to Provide Energy-Efficient Comfort
• Radiant Systems Research
• Advanced Personal Comfort Systems Development and Testing
• Using Wireless Power for Personal Comfort Devices
• Mixed-Mode Building Research
• Thermal Comfort Automotive Research
• Building Performance Evaluation Toolkit
• Combined Analysis for Ventilation, Thermal and Luminous Autonomy
• Time-averaged Ventilation for Optimized Control of Variable Air Volume Systems
To learn more about CBE, please visit our website.
Center for Environmental Public Policy (at GSPP)
The Center for Environmental Public Policy (CEPP) at the Goldman School of Public Policy takes an integrated approach to climate change, environmental justice sustainable development. CEPP is focused on the development of global, national, local, and private sector policies that will help achieve goals of the landmark 2017 Paris Agreement.
CEPP seeks to define transformative and cost-effective energy, transportation, building, land use, and industrial climate policies, including innovative financial mechanisms. Climate-smart policies are needed to catalyze massive investment in zero-carbon infrastructure and produce, healthy, safe, clean, and sustainable economies.
To accomplish this, CEPP brings together faculty and experts from across the UC Berkeley campus and beyond to collaborate with and train policymakers at all levels of domestic and international governments, and to convene expert panels to develop innovative partnerships, research and engagement.
Recent projects include:
• Research and a partnership-building conference to support efforts to reduce pollution from maritime port and heavy-duty transport, focused on the Port of Oakland;
• Convened the CA Green Bond Market Development Committee, comprised of government, finance industry and sustainability experts, to expand investment in climate-friendly infrastructure through policy reforms, training, and education.
• New modeling research on how to reduce carbon in California’s electricity sector by 90% by 2030.
• Research and advocacy to help implement California’s landmark air pollution hot spot legislation, to improve environmental justice in communities affected by transport and industrial emissions.
To learn more about CEPP, please visit our website.
Center for Law, Energy and Environment
The Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE) works with government, business, and the nonprofit sector to help solve urgent environmental and energy problems that require innovative and often interdisciplinary approaches. Drawing on the combined expertise of faculty, staff, and students across UC Berkeley, CLEE strives to translate empirical findings into smart public policy solutions that better our environmental and energy governance systems.
Current research focus areas:
Project Climate strives to identify the most promising climate solutions available and accelerate creation of enabling policy to deploy them at scale.
The California China Climate Institute focuses on developing climate research, solutions, and dialogue between counterparts at leading California and Chinese institutions.
Center for Resource Efficient Communities
The Center for Resource Efficient Communities at UC Berkeley (CREC) works to support California's climate change and resource efficiency goals through interdisciplinary research, public communication, and professional outreach.
CREC’s focus areas include:
• The effects of existing and potential urban land use patterns, transportation systems, and building design and management practices on levels of greenhouse gas emissions
• The planning, financing, regulation and public acceptance of innovative urban water infrastructure
• The evaluation of existing and potential municipal, regional, state and national policy mechanisms for advancing urban sustainability
CREC is participating in a number of collaborative research projects:
• Feasibility Study for Zero Carbon Buildings and Communities
• Engineering Research Center for Re-Inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt)
• Reducing the Environmental Impacts of Food-Energy-Water (FEW) Systems In and Around Cities
• Evaluation of California’s Transformative Climate Communities Program Investments
• Green Infrastructure for Water Quality Improvement in Constructed Urban Streams
To learn more about CLEE, please visit our website.
Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society
The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute create information technology solutions for society’s most pressing challenges. The institute was created by the California state legislature in 2001 to shorten the pipeline between world-class laboratory research and the development of applications, platforms, companies, and new industries. Today, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute are fulfilling the Legislature’s mandate by combining the research strengths of UC campuses at Berkeley, Davis, Merced and Santa Cruz.
CITRIS and the Banatao Institute facilitate interdisciplinary work among hundreds of University of California faculty members, students, corporate partners, and international institutions. From concept to prototype, the CITRIS invention ecosystem includes competitive seed funding, specialized testbeds, Marvell Nanofabrication Laboratory, CITRIS Invention Lab, and the CITRIS Foundry startup accelerator.
Current CITRIS and the Banatao Institute research thrusts include:
• Sustainable Infrastructures
• People and Robots
• CITRIS Policy Lab
• The Future of Work
• Women in Technology Initiative
To learn more about CITRIS, please see our website.
Energy Biosciences Institute
Energy Institute at Haas
Andrew Campbell, Executive Director
The Energy Institute helps create a more economically and environmentally sustainable energy future through research, teaching and policy engagement.
Train the business and policy leaders of tomorrow on market, policy, and technology commercialization challenges in the energy industry.
Produce research and analysis backed by rigorous empirical evidence and the frontiers of economic research so that energy and environmental policy and business decisions are based on sound economic and business principles.
Energy and climate policy effectiveness
Energy for sustainable economic developing, focused in the developing world
Climate and inequality solutions
Policy for the future of transportation
Era – Environmental Resilience Accelerator
Era, the Environmental Resilience Accelerator, addresses the challenges of environmental change by innovating and implementing scalable solutions so people can thrive with nature. Era convenes broad research teams — including industry, government, and the community — and accelerates action towards the innovative solutions. New Era projects are selected from proposed ideas and have support for up to five years — underscoring the urgency to reach results.
ERA’s Current Priorities:
• Future Water
Today’s water infrastructure wasn’t built for 21st-century challenges, let alone those of the next century. We have to secure new water sources and means of storage — from reusing purified waste water or recharging underground aquifers to removing salt from sea water for drinking.
• Healthy Land
To feed our rising population, we must grow more food on less land and not disrupt natural ecosystems. Focusing on soil health as the vital link in productivity, we can develop ways to restore nutrients, capture carbon, and conserve water. We should also balance the important ecological role that fire plays with the equally important need to safeguard our communities from wildfire risk.
• Sustainable Cities
More land in our cities goes toward transportation than to housing. We must think beyond car-based cultures to make cities much more adaptive to accelerating changes in our environment, living patterns, and energy sources. We have the chance to initiate a massive transformation in accessibility, urban land use, transportation policy, and energy efficiency — reimagining cities to enhance health and equity while encouraging low-carbon living.
To learn more about ERA, please visit our website.
Transportation Sustainability Research Center
Arpad Horvath, Professor and Co-Director
The Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC) is part of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Berkeley and involves the expertise of additional campus groups including the University of California Transportation Center, the Energy and Resources Group, and Global Metropolitan Studies.
Since its founding in 2006, TSRC has become a leading center for developing real-world solutions for our sustainable transportation future. In addition to performing research, TSRC also engages in education and outreach to promote its core values of sustainability and equity.
TSRC has assisted in developing and implementing major California and federal regulations and initiatives for sustainable transportation, including:
• California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32)
• Low Emission Vehicle Program and Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate
• Pavley Law for vehicle emissions (AB 1493)
• Low Carbon Fuel Standard
• SB 375 (anti-sprawl legislation)
• Federal Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
TSRC’s current research efforts are in six main areas:
• Advanced Vehicles & Fuels
• Energy & Infrastructure
• Future of Mobility
• Goods Movement
• Mobility for Special Populations
• Shared Mobility
To learn more about TSRC, please visit our website.
UC Berkeley is the home to pioneering research centers and institutes that are working to address global environmental challenges across multiple disciplines. The ECRN at Berkeley was formed in 2019 to leverage these world-class resources and optimize the potential of Berkeley’s centers to have a substantial impact on climate action in California and across the globe. The Network facilitates collaboration among its centers, research partners, and stakeholders worldwide, and provides opportunities for students to find mentors and research opportunities.
The Network is coordinated by Bruce Riordan (Climate Readiness Institute).
For more information, please contact Mr. Riordan.
Why Berkeley. Why Now.
Why Berkeley? Berkeley’s Environmental Change, Sustainability, and Justice Initiative says it best: Global environmental change is the defining challenge of our age. The pace of this change is accelerating faster than our efforts to address it, and we are already seeing the impacts on communities in California and around the world.
There has never been a greater urgency than now. And, because the impacts of hotter temperatures, wildfire, drought, sea level rise, and air pollution fall disproportionately on traditionally disadvantaged communities, these environmental challenges have important implications for social justice.
Berkeley has established itself as an intellectual and academic leader in solution-oriented research and education to address this global challenge. Our research centers and institutes integrate disciplines from across the Berkeley campus, creating high-value collaborations between Climate and Ecosystem Sciences, Engineering, the Social Sciences, Professional Schools, and the Arts and Humanities.
Our teaching and student research projects are training the climate change leaders of the 21st Century. Our deep engagement with public and private sector decision-makers ensures that our work leads to science-based innovations in policy and programs that protect human health, critical infrastructure and precious natural systems. We look forward to working with you to meet our global challenge.