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Director of Energy and Sustainability Loves Challenges of His Job

March 26, 2013

Zuhair Mased, the campus's newest director of energy and sustainability, came to UC Merced last year from his position as the associate director of utilities and energy management at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

Mased has worked in both the private and public sectors. Before joining University of Iowa to spearhead its energy-conservation efforts, Mased was a senior energy engineer and sustainable building advisor for the city of Seattle. He worked in construction and manufacturing environments, including for the Boeing Co., as well as on educational projects for the University of Washington. Mased has a master’s degree in energy management.

Here, Mased talks about his work for UC Merced.

Please explain what your job entails.

My job as the director of energy and sustainability at UC Merced is to oversee and manage the planning and daily implementation of various campus- and system-wide energy efficiency programs and initiatives to improve energy efficiency and achieve campus goals for zero net energy, zero landfill waste and climate neutrality by 2020 (see the campus’s Triple Zero Commitment). I oversee campus policy (and current intern support) related to recycling, and proactively monitor building performance to reduce operations and maintenance costs and improve customer satisfaction.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face?

Like many of the UC campuses, the budget is the biggest challenge. The budget impacts our capabilities to build and maintain buildings that are efficient and recruit the needed qualified staff to maintain these facilities.

What are some of the most rewarding things about your job?

I love my job. To me, it is much more than a job. It is a continuous challenge to be the best all the time and make a difference.

What made you decide to come to UC Merced?

I wanted to be part of a legacy. It is a unique opportunity to work on a campus that has many unique attributes. I absolutely love the Triple Zero initiative with all its challenges.

Tell us something about you that people on campus might not know.

Not too many people know that I come back to the campus at night and on the weekends to see what is going on. I check buildings’ lighting and HVAC systems, measure lighting levels and assess what can be done to make them more efficient.