• If you can, walk or ride your bike to campus.

  • If walking or riding your bike isn’t an option, consider carpool, vanpool, taking the bus, and/or taking the train. Click here to learn more about our alternative transportation programs.

  • Consider working an alternative schedule (reduces traffic congestion) or telecommuting (reduces GHG emissions and time spent commuting), learn more about the different options available here.

  • If you are thinking about getting a new car your replacing you old car, consider electric.  Special discounts are available to the UCSB community from several manufacturers. Click here to learn about the discounts available.  

Saving Energy

  • Here are a few things you can do at work and at home to save on our/your energy bill:

    • Use the stairs rather than the elevators

    • Turn the lights off when you leave a conference room, classroom, or your office

    • See if getting a LED task lamp is viable for you (you can then work without the overhead lights on)

    • Turn off your monitor(s) when you leave for a meeting and/or when you leave at the end of the day

    • Use the power saving mode on your computer

    • Don’t leave devices/cords plugged in when not needed (vampire loading)

    • Depending on your nightly back-up schedule, see if you can turn off your computer at the end of the day

    • Wear layers rather than turning the AC on

  • Check out your buildings energy use on the Campus Energy Dashboard. The energy usage of most campus buildings for the last day, week, month, and year are available through It also includes the expected amount of usage for each of those time frames, and then ranks buildings according to the percentage that they increased or decreased from the expectation.

Reduce and Reuse items

  • Say no to single use and bring your own reusable cups, straws, bottles, containers, cutlery, and bags with you. According to Dr. Roland Geyer who researches the fate of plastics at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UC Santa Barbara, only about 9% of plastic is recycled.

  • Think before you print, do you really need a hard copy?

  • Set your printer to the double sided option or always make sure to use the double-sided option when printing

  • Definitely prioritize reuse and reduce in the waste management hierarchy over recycling and composting. But when you need to use it and can’t reuse it, do the following:

    • If you have compostable waste after eating, be sure to take it to one of the centrally located compost bins

    • Make sure your department is using post-consumer recycled paper in their printers

    • Be sure to recycle as many materials as possible (get familiar with the current program at )

    • If your department has old signage posted, print up new waste signage and post as appropriate:

    • If the bathroom that you frequent has paper towels, keep a hand towel in your backpack or desk drawer to cut back on waste.


  • Report water leaks - Submit a general public work order to facilities.

  • Don’t let the water run if you aren’t using it. Washing the dishes, your hands, showering, or brushing teeth? Remember to switch off the water when not in use.

  • Don’t over water your plants or yourself (take shorter showers)

Sustainable Travel Guide

Evaluate Your Trip

  • Determine if the trip is necessary: Are you headed to a meeting? Now, there are a variety of tools that make virtual meetings easy simple and convenient. Join your meeting via Zoom or contact your department about available space to host a teleconference meeting! A video conference center is also available within Instructional Development.

Air Travel

  • Consider booking flights with the International Air Transport Association: The IATA has 30+ member airlines who offer carbon offset programs to neutralize the aircraft’s carbon emissions by investing in carbon reduction projects.

  • Try to book direct flights: Most of the plane’s fuel is used during take-off and landing, so non-stop flights cut down on half of the planes emissions.

  • Always book flights using Connexxus, or through a certified Small Business travel agency if using federal funds. Booking through Connexxus helps us better track Greenhouse gas emissions associated with air travel. Connexxus also offers benefits and features you won’t find on other booking sites for your personal and business travel.

  • Book coach or economy tickets: A study from the World Bank found that the emissions associated with flying in business class are about 3x as great as flying in coach. It also estimates that a first-class seat could have a carbon footprint as much as 9x times as an economy seat! This could be because business and first class seats are bigger, so fewer people are being moved by the same amount of fuel.

  • Use an e:ticket: Single use, paper tickets produce unnecessary waste when digital e-tickets are available on your cell phone.

Ground Travel

  • Carpool: Traveling with others reduces the amount of fuel and carbon emissions. 

  • Consider the size of the car: If you’re traveling alone, try to use a smaller, fuel efficient vehicle.

  • Use public transportation

    • Train: Amtrak trains depart from Goleta and Santa Barbara directly to San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles, and San Diego, including multiple stops in between. Click here to book your ticket. If you don’t own a car, train tickets could be significantly discounted through SB Car Free.

    • Bus: The bus is an affordable and convenient option, with 22 buses in circulation in the Santa Barbara area. You can access maps and schedules here.

  • Use bike share like HOPR: For short distance travel, consider one of these options!


  • Bring reusable items: This will dramatically cut down on the amount of plastic and paper items used.

    • Water bottles

    • Travel coffee mugs

    • Straws (or just leave the straw behind if you don’t need it)

    • Takeout container or plate

    • Cutlery

    • Shopping bags

    • Shampoo and conditioner in travel size bottles

  • Pack reef-safe sunscreen: Sunscreen is necessary to protect the skin from harmful rays, but seek out safer, mineral-based options that use titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Because even if you’re not going swimming, the sunscreen you wash off in the shower might end up in local bodies of water.


  • Book hotels that are Green Seal, Green Hotels Association (, LEED certified, or certified through the local Green Business Association.  Google the name of the city you are visiting and “Green Business Association” to find out the local association. Most cities have one. Hotels with these certifications integrate environmental considerations into their business practices to decrease their carbon footprint.

  • All LEED certified hotels will display their certification on their website. You can look for its distinctive logo, shown below. Many of these sustainable hotels can be found in Connexxus.  UC partner brand Marriott has a large selection of LEED certified hotels to choose from. Some hotels offer free bike rentals. Find a LEED certified hotel through the following links:

  • Check if the hotel has a recycling system: If they don’t, suggest in a comment card that they begin one.

  • Put out the do not disturb sign: This means less chemical cleansing agents, electricity used in vacuuming, and washing of bed linens.

  • Hang up your towels: Hanging up your towels signals that you are planning on reusing them. And towels don’t get washed everyday at home, so why do that at a hotel?

  • Turn of the TV, lights, and heater/air conditioner when you leave the room: Save energy while you’re away!

  • Try to avoid guest laundry services: Guests clothes are washed separately most of the time, no matter how few items there are.


  • Choose sustainable restaurants: Websites like The Green Restaurant Association and Ocean Friendly Restaurants (Surfrider Foundation) can help you find locations that meet environmental standards for things like water efficiency, waste reduction, and sustainable food. This is another great opportunity to look for the local Green Business Association.

  • Avoid takeout items that come with lots of extra stuff: bags, boxes, wrapping, napkins, utensils, packs of condiments.

  • Avoid plastic bags and straws: Plastic bags and straws account for a large percentage of plastic pollution in the environment due to their inability to be recycled.  The US alone goes through over 500 million straws a day. That’s enough straws to fill 127 school buses!

*This guide was inspired by UC San Diego’s Sustainable Travel Guide and includes some overlapping information. 

Want to do more?

Apply for a sustainability grant -


Student Orientation:

  • Incoming freshman have the opportunity to participate in a well-publicized sustainability presentation. The presentation (approx. 40 min) includes information about on-campus organizations that deal with sustainability, efforts at UCSB related to sustainability, sustainability related courses, and internship and research opportunities related to sustainability.