​Sustainability plays an integral role in the operations of the reserve. VESR is equipped with a photovoltaic system which helps to provide power for the reserve. The Sage dorm also has an indirect solar hot water system which harnesses the sun’s energy to heat water. The newest addition to SNARL, the Page Center, boasts a ground source heat pump and is classified as a zero-net energy building. The reserve also maintains an extensive recycling system in conjunction with the Sierra Conservation Project. 

These projects not only fit under the reserve’s mission of sustainability but help the UC system reach its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025. Many of these projects are possible thanks to the help of UC Santa Barbara’s The Green Initiative Fund. The Green Initiative Fund supports projects which reduce UCSB’s impact on the environment and increase the amount of renewable energy used.

Indirect Solar Hot Water System

With funding from UCSB’s The Green Initiative Fund the reserve installed an indirect solar hot water system in 2017 for the dormitory facility. This project utilizes SNARL’s consistent sun exposure to help heat dorm water. The indirect solar hot water system is a closed-loop system likely to be more efficient than other solar hot water heating systems. These systems use pumps to circulate a heat transfer liquid that in turn heats the water.

How does the indirect solar hot water system work?

Rather than using a heat exchanger separate from the solar flat plate collector, indirect hot water systems use pumps to circulate a heat transfer liquid around a closed-loop system from the collector to heat the exchanger. A copper coil in the storage tank or a flat plate exchanger outside of the plate collects the heat from the heat transfer antifreeze solution to heat water in the tank. The liquid antifreeze solution which indirectly heats the water permits year-round operation, even when temperatures drop below freezing.

Solar Hot Water System

Tips to Maximize Efficiency

  1. Limit shower time
  2. Reduce overall water use
  3. Wash dishes later in the day
  4. Avoid morning showers

Page Center

Page center

This brand new state-of-the-art classroom and meeting space utilizes cutting-edge sustainable building technology. With a combination of ground source heating/cooling, PV electrical generation, and the latest in construction technology, the building is a net-zero consumer of fossil fuel that is slated for LEED Gold certification.

A net-zero energy building produces sufficient renewable energy to meet the annual energy consumption for the building. Thus, the overall energy consumption of the building adds up to zero. The Page Center generates its own energy through the combination of a ground source heating and cooling system, photovoltaic electrical generation system, and building practices which reduce the need to consume energy. 

Not only does this building fit within the sustainability goals of the reserve, but also helps UC Santa Barbara reach its goal of carbon neutrality.

Recycling at VESR

In conjunction with Sierra Conservation Project, a local recycling business, the reserve recycles everything local providers will accept. This includes:

cardboard & cardboard boxes: No cardboard or boxes should go into the dumpster. These materials should be flattened and placed in the designated trailer in the big garage. Boxes must be from dry food (cereal, crackers, etc., with no liner).

styrofoam peanuts: No styrofoam peanuts should go into the dumpster. Instead, place them in the large container located in the hallway closet of the laboratory.

glass: We can recycle all manner of glass containers. Remove the lids and place in the metal cans outside the big garage.

aluminum & bi-metal cans: We can now accept CA redemption aluminum beverage cans and bi-metal cans (tuna, soup, etc). These go in the designated metal can outside the big garage. We do not accept food trays, pie plates, or aluminum foil. These are considered regular garbage and must be placed directly in the dumpster.

plastic containers: We now accept all #1 (PETE) and #2 (HDPE) narrow mouth bottles and jugs. Examples are clear water bottles, clear or colored soda bottles, plastic milk containers, and plastic juice bottles. These also go in the designated metal can outside the big garage. Please remove all lids and place in the trash. We cannot wide mouth containers (yogurt, cream cheese), take out containers, #3-#7 plastics, plastic bags or motor oil containers.

mixed paper: We can now accept all manner of mixed paper including newspaper, inserts, magazines, flyers, posters, copier paper, phone books, opened mail, and junk mail. We cannot accept metallic wrapping paper, Tyvek envelopes, photo paper, waxed paper, or transparencies.

motor oil and oil filters: Please, do not put any petroleum or hydrocarbon products in the dumpster. This protects our local groundwater. If you have these products, see the Maintenance Supervisor.

Sierra Conservation Project Recycling Guidelines

Sierra Recycle Project