University of Vermont

Greening UVM

Greening Campus Operations

Expansion with a Conscience

UVM is committed to green building, and so is our president. During UVM's 2005 convocation ceremony, President Daniel Mark Fogel signed a green building policy requiring that environmental objectives, with accompanying standards for measurement, be developed specific to each new building and major renovation.

What does this mean? At a minimum, environmental objectives will include achieving a level equivalent to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)–certified and formal building commissioning. Read the UVM green building policy (PDF format).

Green building in action:  UVM has five buildings that are LEED certified, including:

  • The Carrigan Wing Addition to the Marsh Life Sciences Building, LEED Silver, 2006
  • University Heights Student Residential Complex, LEED Gold, 2007
  • Wing/Davis/Wilks Residential Hall Renovation, LEED Silver, 2007
  • The Dudley H. Davis Center, LEED Gold, 2008  See the Davis Center's Building Dashboard 
  • 438 College Street, the Dean's Office of the College of Arts & Sciences, LEED Gold, 2008

Recycling: A UVM Tradition

Measured success: UVM has been recycling for over a decade, and diverts approximately 35% of solid waste through recycling and composting efforts. We strive to make this number grow each year. In addition, the UVM Recycle Office coordinates donations to local non–profits at the end of each academic year and coordinates zero-waste student Orientation sessions.

Materials recycled: The materials UVM recycles includes paper, containers, cardboard, food waste, cooking oil, books, scrap metal, wood, appliances, batteries, film and transparencies, computers, electronics and laser printer cartridges. In conjunction with the Green Building policy, construction and demolition waste is also recycled to the fullest extent. Examples of this include the deconstruction of University Heights, reusing waste from deconstruction of Carrigan Hall, and stringent management of Davis Center construction materials. Learn more on the UVM Recycling and Solid Waste website.

Cleaner Public Transportation

Step 1: Trading cars for buses: UVM's Transportation and Parking Services worked with the Campus Area Transportation Management Association in Burlington to develop a program where students, faculty and staff can ride local buses for free. This program has met tremendous success. An ongoing environmental studies class helped promote the effort.

Step 2: Getting greener buses: UVM is actively replacing part of its bus fleet with six compressed natural gas–fueled buses over six years as part of a collaborative project with the city of Burlington.  Learn more about this effort in a UVM news article.

Step 3: Still need a car?  UVM is a partner in CarShareVermont, a car-sharing organization that started in 2008. Two of the CarShare cars are housed at UVM. Learn more at CarShareVermont's website.

Energy Efficiency on Campus

UVM's Energy Management Office works with local utilities to save electricity and natural gas. Between 2000–2005, they calculate a savings of $2,460,000 in electric and $1,997,000 in natural gas.

What can you do? There's much to do, and you can help.  See some of the tips on the Energy Management website. 

Cleaner Laboratories at UVM

UVM's 500 laboratories are creating 40% less normalized chemical waste thanks to the UVM's Environmental Safey program's participation in the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) development of a new performance–based regulation for laboratories. This pilot program resulted in the EPA's May 2006 proposal of new national regulations for laboratory safety. Learn about this new performance–based regulation on the Campus Consortium for Environmental Excellence website.

Land Use Campus Master Plan

The 2006 Campus Master Plan for UVM declared the university's intention to become a "model for environmental sustainability." Aside from aforementioned LEED–certified construction and environmental principles, the plan also contains a vision for a pedestrian campus with less land used for parking and best practices in stormwater management. Read the plan on the Campus Planning Services website.

Water Conservation

To minimize the amount of water used on campus, the Grounds crew limits irrigation to new plantings, athletics fields, and the historic green as needed. Fortunately there is an abundance of rainfall to grow healthy lawns and plantings in the Green Mountains of Vermont. However, we do have water concerns. Our campus is on a hill overlooking beautiful Lake Champlain, our drinking water source and wastewater destination. To protect water quality the university is decreasing the use of salt and winter sand, monitors storm water ponds and basins and keeps them clean and operational. Staff and consultants work with the Environmental Science faculty and students to strive for continuous improvement.

  • A graduate student group in Engineering received a grant and successfully installed a rain garden in one of our problematic parking lots, and the hope is to install more in other parts of campus.
  • Our LEED Gold student center includes a green roof to reduce stormwater runoff.
  • At the university farm a constructed wetland assesses the efficiency of various treatments of effluent and runoff.

Paper Purchasing 

UVM aims for 100% recycled content in copier paper, and reducing paper use overall. The Office of Sustainability estimated in 2007 that two-thirds of the copier paper purchased on campus had at least30% recycled content, with one quarter 100% recycled. Departments are now asked to purchase 100% recycled copier paper, available through a central contract. In 2008, all bathroom towels and tissue were switched to GreenSeal certified paper, following student pressure.

For  more information on tracking UVM's environmental progress, go to the Office of Sustainabilty website.
Take Action:

Green up our beautiful city by donating your time.
Volunteering can make the place where we live a better version of itself. Pick up litter on a Vermont Green–Up Day (or any day!), help with a river clean–up, or volunteer at one of the many local non–for–profits that care about the environment such as Recycle North  or the Friends of Burlington Area Community Gardens.

Last modified May 14 2009 10:54 AM

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