As a professional facilities management organization, we are committed to integrating sustainability and systems thinking into our workplace culture, our routine operations and responsibilities, and our long-range planning and thinking.

Message from the Executive Director of Facilities Management

October 2021

This Facilities Sustainability Plan (FSP) is the result of a collaborative process involving staff from throughout the five departmental units that comprise Facilities Management (FM) at the University of Vermont.

This Plan addresses nearly every operational aspect of what our FM units do and includes goals in each section as part of a larger effort to advance sustainability at UVM. Sustainability is a high priority of our students and faculty. It is also of great importance to many staff members. In identifying sustainability goals using the planning process described in the Appendix, participants also recommended ways to strengthen our FM organization (see Appendices). A section on organizational goals is also included here, followed by sustainability goals organized into five parts: landscape, transportation, buildings, energy, and waste.

As a professional facilities organization, FM is committed to integrating sustainability and systems thinking into our workplace culture, our routine operations and responsibilities, and our long-range planning and thinking. This plan is expected to evolve in the coming years, along with the creation of a new Comprehensive Sustainability Plan for the University. In the short term, I intend for this plan’s evolution to involve revisiting goals monthly and identifying goals to tackle quarterly.

I welcome your ideas about these initiatives.

Luce Hillman, P.E.
Executive Director of Facilities Management
The University of Vermont

FSP Summary of Goals

Facilities Organization

Facilities Management was formed in February 2020 as a new organizational unit within the Division of Finance and Administration just one month prior to a global pandemic, a major disruption diverting attention from organizational development work. This section’s goals relate to Facilities Management as an organization -- important context for integrating sustainability. This is not intended to be a complete list of all FM organizational development goals, instead, these goals are leverage points for forming a more holistic organization, even in the context of continually changing conditions.

 Goals
A.Cultivate a holistic Facilities Management organization
B.Create short- and long-term Facilities Improvement Plans
C.Recruit and retain high quality FM staff 
D.Provide opportunities for career growth and offer professional development
E.Invest in Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) for a new level of information connectivity

 

Sustainability

This section highlights Facilities Management’s participation in University-level sustainability goal setting, planning, and activities. Since 2014 UVM has reached a University-level goal of achieving a Gold Rating in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS). Facilities Management contributed significantly to the Operations score by providing data on energy, transportation, waste, landscaping, and other topics. This 2021 Plan precedes the expected development of a UVM Sustainability Plan. This plan will be updated to support those broader goals, such as carbon emissions reductions goals and associated timelines. This first version of the FSP highlights ways that staff in FM departments can collaborate to increase the sustainability of campus operations and to advance toward a net-zero carbon campus. 

 Goals
A.Align facilities-related goals with campus-wide sustainability and decarbonization goals, and vice versa
B.Measure and report regularly on campus-wide sustainability and decarbonization progress
C.Engage Facilities Management staff in campus-wide sustainability efforts
D.Consider costs and value of ownership over the lifetime of structures, assets and equipment

 

Landscape

aerial view of UVM green

UVM’s land use is governed by the Campus Master Plan. UVM’s stormwater management plan defines best management practices for treatment and conveyance of water, ponds, pervious pavers, catch-basins, tanks, green roofs, and rain gardens. The main campus is currently designated as a Tree Campus USA, a Bee Campus USA, and a Gold-level Bicycle Friendly University. In addition to supporting current best practices, the goals below aim to improve accessibility, health, and safety.  

 

Goals
A.Prioritize walking, biking and ADA accessibility and safety in land use planning
B.Improve efficiency and flexibility of campus land use, and improve quality of outdoor experience
C.Employ sustainable landscape management practices
D.Continue and increase compliance with Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit

 

Transportation

electric car

UVM already supports many transportation initiatives that improve the community’s quality of life and reduce negative environmental impacts: an Active Transportation Plan, a green Fleet Vehicle Procurement Procedure, a sustainable transportation module as a parking pass prerequisite, car- and bike-sharing programs, free on-campus and local bus rides, a carpool matching service, and electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. The goals below aim to reduce negative impacts of transportation while improving the experience of getting to and around campus. Transportation infrastructure needs (bike racks, lanes, pedestrian amenities, etc.) are addressed in the Landscape and Buildings sections.

 Goals
A.Enhance convenient, accessible, affordable, low-carbon transportation options
B.Reduce single occupancy vehicles; increase use of alternatives and shared modes
C.Ensure that fleet vehicles are rightsized, shared and alternatively fueled

 

Buildings

roof of building

This section addresses how Facilities Management can sustainably plan, design, develop, construct, use, maintain and operate buildings throughout the buildings’ lifespans. Reducing the overall spatial footprint of the campus is an efficient way of making progress toward many sustainability goals simultaneously if the needs of the campus community can still be met. Goals and strategies concerning funding for buildings, energy consumption, communications and materials are addressed in other sections.  

 Goals
A.Optimize space utilization and reduce building footprint
B.Develop comprehensive asset strategy for capital renewal & deferred maintenance
C.Integrate sustainability into project planning, project management and delivery
D.Adopt sustainable, proactive and preventive practices for maintenance & operations

 

Energy

UVM operates its own efficient, on-campus Central Heating and Cooling District Energy Plant that runs on natural gas and reliably supplies heating, cooling and hot water to most buildings on the main campus. Due to major upgrades and renovations, thermal and electrical energy use in 2019 was almost the same as in 2007, despite building space increasing by 16% and population increasing by 25%. The next long-term challenge is to reduce reliance on carbon-intensive energy sources while maintaining backup systems. 

 Goals
A.Document existing conditions and compile studies, information
B.Leverage internal and external resources to invest in energy upgrades and renewables
C.Develop a balanced Energy Plan to create efficiency and a bridge to renewables
D.Implement a long-range Utility Plan
E.Explore options for carbon-neutral electricity; expand solar generation on campus
F.Improve communication and integration of information

 

Waste

UVM has been committed to responsible disposal of materials through recycling and composting programs long before the State of Vermont mandated the diversion of recyclables and organics from the landfill. UVM now maintains a 50% diversion rate (as of 2019), a level comparable to most other northeast universities. However, some are at 75%. This section focuses on ways to influence purchasing behaviors and encourage reuse in addition to proper sorting of materials. Waste-related strategies can also be found in the Sustainability section.

 Goals
A.Reduce the overall volume of waste generated on campus
B.Support innovative redistribution and repair programs
C.Strengthen recycling and organics diversion
D.Review and improve campus processes and create a zero-waste culture

 

Appendix - What "Sustainability" Means for Facilities Management

The UVM Faculty Senate defines sustainability at UVM as follows:

“UVM's vision for sustainability embraces the goal of educating all of its students to understand and contribute to the sustainability of human society. That is, we recognize that the pursuit of ecological, social, and economic vitality must come with the understanding that the needs of the present be met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

This statement has served as UVM’s official definition on sustainability since 2015 when the Faculty Senate began requiring all undergraduate students to meet a general education requirement for sustainability.

For Facilities Management, a commitment to sustainability requires us to consider environmental and social factors to be at least equally weighty as financial factors when evaluating, planning and making decisions, whether for the short term or long term. This Facilities Sustainability Plan strives to address these three factors simultaneously:

  • Social (quality of life, human factors) - Promoting health, equity, and justice for students, employees, visitors, and our surrounding community
  • Environmental (ecological health factors) - Mitigating climate change, protecting biodiversity, and maintaining or improving land, air, and water quality
  • Economic (financial factors) - Supporting UVM’s financial health over time, and securing resources within FM to integrate sustainability best practices into the management of campus facilities

Appendix - How This Plan was Developed

From January 2021 to March 2021, 75 professional and supervisory staff members in Facilities Management were invited to a weekly series. On average, 50 participants attended each weekly presentation and participated in the subsequent discussion. Presentations were recorded. 

Eight sustainability-related topics were originally identified as focus areas. Subject matter experts from within FM were invited to present an overview of their existing work and how it relates to sustainability (see the table of topics and presenters below). Presenters were asked to outline three to five big goals and associated strategies to advance sustainability, both short-term (zero to five years) and long-term (six to ten years). Presenters were encouraged to think broadly and creatively during this initial step and not necessarily to analyze and justify the details.

Participants were asked to give feedback via a brief survey following each presentation, which resulted in an average response rate of 45%. When asked how the proposed goals might affect their work, many respondents expected a positive impact for most goals and very few expected a negative impact for any goal. A summary of survey responses is below (Appendix C).

These three modes of stakeholder engagement—presentations, live questions and answers, dialogue, and written feedback afterwards—created an opportunity for participants to identify new intersections between their work and the work of other Facilities Management areas. Some ideas were repeated often, clearly transcending the individual topic areas, including remote work, staffing, and climate action. Instead of these elements repeating in several sections, they have been elevated to the first two sections, Facilities Organization and Sustainability.

Topic Presenters and Subject Matter Experts

  • FSP Core Team: Caylin McCamp, Education & Outreach Coordinator, OS; Erica Spiegel, Analyst/Planner, PPD and Gioia Thompson, Outreach Manager, OS
  • Sustainability Overview: Caylin McCamp, Education & Outreach Coordinator, OS and Gioia Thompson, Outreach Manager, OS
  • Land Use & Stormwater:  C. Lani Ravin, Associate Planner, PDC and Adam Frazier, Deferred Maintenance Project Coordinator, PPD
  • Buildings & Space Use: Dave Blatchly, Capital Renewal Engineer, PPD and Joanna Birbeck, Campus Planning Space Program Manager, PDC
  • Transportation & Mobility:  Jim Barr, Director TPS and Abby Bleything, Sustainable Transportation Coordinator, TPS
  • Building Utilities: Lynn Wood, Davis Zone Manager, PPD and Rob Boal, Retro-commissioning Engineer, PPD
  • Materials & Waste: Corey Berman, Zero Waste Program Manager, CSD
  • Central Plant: Mike Pelletier, University Engineer, PPD
  • Renewable Energy: Mike Pelletier, University Engineer, PPD and Todd Merchant, Senior Construction Administrator, PDC
  • Indoor Environmental Quality: Gerald Coleman, Director CSD and Guy Shane, Academic & Facilities Manager, CSD

ACRONYMS USED IN PLAN  

  • CATMA Campus Area Transportation Management Association
  • CMP Campus Plan
  • CMPC Campus Master Planning Committee
  • CSD Custodial Services Department
  • Exec Dir FM Executive Director of Facilities Management
  • FM Facilities Management
  • FSP Team Facilities Sustainability Planning Team
  • IWMS Integrated Work Management System
  • LAS Landscape Advisory Subcommittee of the Campus Master Planning Committee
  • OS Office of Sustainability
  • PDC Planning, Design & Construction
  • PPD Physical Plant Department
  • STARS Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System
  • TPS Transportation and Parking Services
  • VPFA Vice President for Finance & Administration