D-Lab: Development via Dialogue, Design & Dissemination
The University of California, Davis Energy Efficiency Center (EEC), in collaboration with the Center for Entrepreneurship (C4E), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a two-part series of courses to educate and involve university students in energy issues in developing countries. Curriculum includes lectures, guest speakers, case studies, and hands-on lab modules. Throughout the year, students from various academic disciplines, network with international partner communities to help solve real-life problems in developing countries. Students involved in D-Lab courses are tasked with designing projects that are environmentally, economically, socially, and technically sustainable .
Based on locally expressed, current needs of partner communities and the expertise available, the program’s current focus is in the following areas:
- Off-grid lighting and micro-power
- Agriculture, including pumping, irrigation and post-harvest
- Renewable energy, including solar, biogas and wind
- Domestic electricity use and energy efficiency
Path to Zero Net Energy Initiative
The Path to Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Initiative is designed on conducting feasibility studies on applied energy and climate projects for the core UC Davis campus as well as the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. Projects are student-led, with close mentorship by clients, faculty and subject experts.
With partial support by the UCD Energy Efficiency Center, the program began in 2012 as the “A Hands-on Approach to Energy Efficiency” with energy projects from the Energy Conservation Office (ECO). In recognition of the success of the program, realized energy and cost savings as well as the value of student involvement in energy-related campus operation, ECO began partial funding of the program which, in turn, started to include renewable energy projects, thus forming the “Path to Zero Net Energy Initiative” in 2016.
With the UC-wide 2025 Carbon Neutrality Initiative, the program’s mission expanded to include climate and financing projects to support campus efforts transition to a more renewable, more efficient energy system. The program’s current focus is in:
- Steam-to-hot water conversion
- Renewable heating alternatives
- Building energy efficiency
- Data analytics
- Battery electric heavy-duty transportation
Under the ZNE Initiative, PIET is building close working relationship among campus operation staff, students and faculty as well as expertise in project-focused course development and delivery while conducting the state-of-the art applied research in building energy efficiency and renewable energy including but not limited to solar thermal, solar photovoltaic, biopower and electric vehicles.