At UVM we are stewards of both tradition and innovation—our physical spaces reflect care for the world around us and our drive to propel academic life ever forward. Explore some of the thoughtful, intentional decisions that create our sustainable surroundings.

 

Commitment to environmental design in new and renovated buildings

US Green Building Design badge -- LEED

In 2006 UVM created a green building policy for all new buildings and major renovations, requiring at least a Silver rating in LEED, (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). By 2020, six buildings were rated Gold, six Silver, and one, the Aiken Center, achieved Platinum. Learn more about our LEED buildings on campus. 

Maintenance Makes a difference

Sustainability also includes being good stewards of our built environment, including our historic buildings. For nearly two decades, UVM has invested in addressing the deferred maintenance needs of its facilities, and performing regular preventive maintenance on building systems to ensure our campus buildings are sustained into the future. 

Learn more about campus building decision on the Planning Design and Construction website.

Thoughtful Grounds Management

UVM's Grounds staff strive for ecologically responsible practices in all aspects of their work. Take snow and ice removal. Keeping roadways and walkways safe for the campus community is high priority but can be tough on the environment. By pre-treating road salt with a liquid product made from refined corn carbohydrate and magnesium chloride, salt usage is reduced. And did you know that UVM uses Integrated Pest Management practices to minimize use of chemical pesticides on campus? 

Catching Stormwater

The 459 acres of Main Campus are in four different stream watersheds (Centennial Brook, Englesby Brook, Potash Brook and Winooski River) that discharge to Lake Champlain. UVM takes runoff seriously. 

  • UVM uses best management practices to prevent, control, and treat stormwater runoff from campus, including use of swales and ponds and limits on where and how impervious surfaces can be established. Learn more
  • UVM also works collaboratively, with the cities and towns we inhabit, to create facilities that help municipalities meet their stormwater obligations. This includes a combination irrigation and stormwater pond at the UVM Horticulture Farm, preservation of wetlands in Colchester, and smaller stormwater treatments on UVM land in South Burlington.
  • UVM reps work with regional partners promoting the Rethink Runoff campaign. Check it out!

Academic Connections

If you walk around campus you'll find a variety of physical facilities related to stormwater, some student-initiated, some research-related, and some demonstration projects providing real-life curricular opportunities:

  • Green roofs on the Davis Center, Aiken Hall and University Heights South.
  • Raingardens near the Votey parking lot, and near Redstone Apartments.
  • Research into stormwater treatments near Jeffords Hall. 

Green roofs in action: the Aiken Center's roof features eight research watersheds, sloped sections that channel unabsorbed water into separate drains for measurement and further data collection. While the roof's plantings actively absorb runoff, the roof also acts as a testing environment to improve green roof designs of the future.

 

51%

Of UVM-owned land is designated as a natural area.

 

Green Building Pride: The Davis Student Center

UVM Davis Center

Davis Center is a building you can feel good about. Its mission of promoting social and environmental responsiblity contribute to a healthy campus and community every day.

Some highlights:

  • LEED Gold certification
  • The Davis Center uses half of the energy than a conventional building of the same size (186,000 square feet)
  • The building was designed to use 41% less water than a conventional building of comparable size 
  • During construction 92% of construction waste was diverted from a landfill by reusing and recycling it
  • 65% of building materials from within a 500-mile radius)
  • No campus green space was consumed in constructing the Davis Center, rather we added green space. The Davis Center was constructed over a parking lot and joined to the Carrigan Building.

Explore more pride points of our student center.

Academic Connection

Our Green Building and Community Design minor allows students to explore the integration of design principles and application of renewable energy, natural building materials, and ecological landscape into building design and community development.

Students Contribute to Real Solutions

Read about how UVM students in Research Associate Gary Hawley internship class helped the Rubenstein School plan for buildings that use net zero energy. In 2019 students completed projects including measuring solar energy offsets in Rubenstein buildings, and researching the school’s carbon emissions from business travel, commuting, club travel, paper use and waste management. Another group focused on water usage in the Aiken Center, investigating how stormwater from the green roof could be used to water plants in the Aiken Solarium.