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UVM's External Sustainability Commitments

Topic Commitment Implications

Green Building

2005– President Fogel committed UVM to a new construction policy adhering to practices defined by the US Green Building Council, and requiring formal commissioning.

2007– Policy included minimum of LEED Silver level.

Policy: All new buildings LEED Silver or higher, striving for Gold

Allows participation in national green building rating system for new buildings and major renovations. Standardizes processes, provides recognition, trains local firms in best practices. Since 2005, this policy and related system efficiency upgrades have reduced overall campus energy and water use per student and per square foot, even with campus growth.

Contact: Director, Capital Planning & Management and Green Building Coordinator.

Higher Education


2006– President Fogel committed UVM to active membership in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

Participate in national dialogue and advance systematic improvement

Membership in the primary professional organization for campus sustainability brings national visibility and credibility to UVM initiatives, and gives access to extensive database. UVM faculty, staff and students present at AASHE’s large national conference and collaborate on projects with other leading institutions.

Contact: Projects Coordinator, Office of Sustainability 

Carbon Commitment

2007– President Fogel signed the pledge on behalf of UVM as a Charter member of American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

2010– Climate Action Plan approved with ambitious targets.
Goal: Climate neutral by 2025

2015Second Nature changes commitment structures; UVM's plan transitions into the Carbon Commitment.

Membership in Second Nature makes UVM’s climate action goals public and allows UVM to maintain visibility and credibility by reporting progress annually using a public database. UVM goals:

     2015: Local, renewable electricity

     2020: Carbon-neutral heating and cooling

     2025: Carbon neutrality for all major activities

Contact: VP for Finance, and Director, Office of Sustainability

Real Food


2012– Interim President Bramley signed the Real Food Campus Commitment, supported by student leaders and faculty in the Food Systems Spire.

Goal: 20% Reliance on Real Food by 2020

UVM among first campuses outside California to join. Commits UVM to at least 20% reliance on Real Food by 2020, now estimated at 11%. Real means "local, organic, humane, and/or fair trade certified." Dining Services, operated by Sodexo, has used the Real Food Calculator since 2010.

Contact: Real Food Challenge Committee co-chairs.

Energy Efficiency


2012– UVM Trustees established a $13M Energy  Revolving Fund as part of UVM’s commitment to the Sustainable Endowment Institute’s Billion Dollar Green Challenge

$13M for energy efficiency projects

Borrows from the University’s low interest-bearing cash account to invest in campus energy efficiency projects of up to $3M, with a payback of less than seven years. Strict conditions include returning 5% to the general fund. The first project in 2012 replaced 1,300 outdoor light bulbs with LED fixtures.

Contact: VP for Finance oversees; Office of Sustainability reports.

Public Reporting

2013 – President Sullivan commits UVM to STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System sponsored by AASHE.

Sustainability reporting every three years, with letter from the President

Commits UVM to reporting sustainability data about academics, research, co-curriculum, operations, policies, administration, and outreach. UVM submitted data and received a rating of Gold in 2014.

Contact: Director, Office of Sustainability