Explore the ways UVM has committed to energy efficiency.
Conservation and efficiency first.
- UVM operates its own efficient, on-campus central heating and cooling plant that reliably supplies heating, cooling and hot water to most buildings on campus.
- The $13 million Energy Revolving Fund pays for energy efficiency projects that have a simple payback period of seven years or less.
- Energy efficiency projects typically address water conservation as well, since thermal energy is carried by steam to heat building spaces and provide hot water.
- Water conservation initiatives include a Dining policy to thaw food in the fridge instead of under running water, and signs remind people to report drips and leaks.
Commitments have paid off.
- In 2007, students asked for a $10/semester fee to create the Clean Energy Fund to support cleaner energy sources and wiser use of energy. Today, the fund’s $200,000 annual budget continues to support new campus energy systems as well as educational and research activities.
- In 2010, UVM approved a Climate Action Plan committing to a path toward carbon neutrality, starting with energy efficiency upgrades.
- Since 2015, UVM's electricity is carbon neutral. In addition to generating electricity from our on-campus solar arrays, UVM has purchased certified renewable power from local farms and from Midwest wind projects equivalent to 100% of electricity use.
- In 2018 and 2019 the Student Government Association calculated its clubs' energy use from buildings and transportation, and bought carbon offsets to cover all of the related greenhouse gas emissions.
- The Clean Energy Fund has paid for 17 solar trackers at the Forestry building on Spear Street, and solar panels on the Miller Research Complex, Votey, and the library.
- Water use has dropped 33 percent per square foot since 2007.
Grassroots Effort: Ending The Sale of Bottled Water at UVM
In response to student activism, UVM ended the sale of bottled water on its campus in January 2013.
Many aspects of beverage service have changed since 2013, including increasing the ratio of healthy beverage options and refilling stations for multiple beverage types. In 2016 UVM rolled out a campus-wide campaign called UVM Hearts Water to remind the campus community of the health benefits of drinking local water and the environmental benefits of refilling reusable bottles.
Additional changes made in 2016 include:
- Free, filtered cold water is now available in all retail dining outlets via fountain beverage machines.
- UVM Dining has updated its healthy beverage standard requiring that at least 50% of beverage offerings contain 40 or fewer calories per 8-ounce serving. This standard is stricter than UVM’s previous 30% standard, both in definition and in percentage of compliant beverages.
- UVM Dining has introduced Coca-Cola Freestyle machines — with a free water option— in several retail and residential dining outlets.