Signing Ceremony Makes UVM’s New Green Building Policy Official
Release Date: 09-02-2005
The University of Vermont’s status as a major environmental university took another step forward after a signing ceremony at Ira Allen Chapel gave the official imprimatur to the institution’s new green building policy, which went into effect this summer.
UVM president Daniel Mark Fogel signed the two-page document during Friday's convocation ceremonies.
“Making sure our building practices are environmentally sound and sustainable is a vital part of UVM’s goal of becoming the nation’s leading environmental university,” Fogel said. “The new policy is important in several respects. It shows we are acting on our principles, not just talking about them; it contributes to the excellence of our academic program in the environment, since students will be able to observe first hand how green buildings are designed and built; it connects us with the Vermont community; and it enables us to continue to play a leadership role in higher education on environmental issues.”
The policy sets the university on an environmentally sustainable course in two important areas of its building design and construction program. UVM will now be required to develop environmental objectives for every new building and every major renovation it plans. The policy states that the objectives must, at a minimum, be equivalent to LEED certification. LEED, for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. It is widely used as a measure of a building’s environmental quality.
The policy also recommends that the university purchase Vermont goods and services whenever “possible and financially feasible.”
The LEED standard ties together many of UVM’s existing best practices in environmentally responsible building and operations, including energy efficiency programs, recycling systems, stormwater management, transportation, and purchasing. The ever-evolving LEED program also provides a structure for information exchange with building professionals in Vermont and around the country.
While the policy is aimed at UVM’s future buildings, four of the university’s major current construction projects are in compliance with it, including the Dudley H. Davis Center, the University Heights Student Residential Learning Complex, the Marsh Life Sciences addition, and the Wing/Davis/Wilks residence hall renovation.
UVM students have long taken the initiative in promoting environmentally friendly building practices at the university. For many years, students have been active in promoting environmental values as participants in building committees, and in February 2005 the Student Government Association Senate passed a resolution supporting green building.
The new policy should contribute to UVM’s growing reputation as an environmental leader in higher education. In a recent survey of peer institutions conducted by Cornell University, the University of Vermont was cited as one of five universities in the country that have emerged as leaders in campus sustainability programs. UVM ranked second, behind Harvard, in the number of times it was cited by survey respondents under the category “leaders in the environmental field.”