The new University of California campus at Merced has made a commitment to environmental stewardship including special efforts toward energy efficient buildings. The first three buildings on the main campus site are scheduled to open in the Fall of 2004. Design development has been completed for these buildings with 70% of the infrastructure design also complete. With the design of the initial phase largely defined, the campus is on track to meet its performance goal of substantially lower energy use than existing UC campuses. Improved efficiency has required intervention in the development of the Long Range Development Plan, in the selection of the Architectural and Engineering Consultants, in the facility programming process, and in the design process. Specific energy performance targets, along with the related goals of a LEED (tm) rating and pilot partnership in the Laboratories for the 21st Century Program, have all played a significant role. We review these processes, the key design strategies that have emerged, and the monitoring goals that are hoped to provide further improvements in efficiency for future phases of campus development.