Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.24
Liaison Rob Andrejewski
Submission Date March 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Richmond
PRE-2: Points of Distinction

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete N/A Rob Andrejewski
Director of Sustainability
Office for Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s featured sustainability program, initiative, or accomplishment:
Eco-Corridor

A brief description of the institution’s featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:

The Eco-Corridor is natural area restoration project on the southern portion of the University of Richmond that includes four key components: construction of a multi-use recreational trail, removal of invasive plants, management of storm water, and restoration of Little Westham Creek. This project is a prime example of campus stewardship that will improve the health of Little Westham Creek and the surrounding area for years to come.

Little Westham Creek and the land surrounding it perform critical functions in our watershed. Improvements made through the Eco-Corridor project align with a vision first described in the Campus Master Plan. Since opening in 2020, the Eco-Corridor has been home to dozens of student projects and served as the focal point for the faculty Eco-Corridor Think Tank, which resulted the area being integrated into future coursework for a number of classes.

Study of Little Westham Creek and the effects of its restoration are a prime example of engaged scholarship with potential to inform real-world practices. See https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/8658c8f7b03e4ecc8b6d41d0b95a63ba for student-engaged work. Some of the topics are below:
• Restoration of Little Westham Creek
• Realignment and paving of 10-foot-wide Gambles Mill Trail with planting of shrubs, buffer trees, and ground cover along trail
• Creation of a pollinator meadow walk with native plantings
• Siting of an outdoor classroom
• Planing of native trees, shrubs, perennials, and grasses
• Historical investigation of a wastewater remnant site and Earthen Dam
• Design and installation of gates, bollards, and signage at the north and south ends of the trail
• Improvements to the Community Garden with new water bibs
• Stormwater management demonstration areas, including a bio-swale, rain garden, and level spreaders

The stream restoration and water quality changes have been monitored and are available for study. Features of the stream restoration include the following a small, main channel through a wide, well-vegetated floodplain;
installation of riffles, pools and wood habitat structures along the main channel; installation of stone steps and pools along the tributaries; seeding and planting of native species throughout the stream banks, floodplain, and uplands. See https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/2427b955b205496d9bed20d7bf5d0afc for more.


Which of the following impact areas does the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement
Grounds
Water

Website URL where more information about the accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
OP-9

A photograph or document associated with the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:
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Name of a second highlighted sustainability program/initiative/accomplishment:
Spider Solar

A brief description of the second program/initiative/accomplishment:

The University of Richmond matches 100 percent of its electricity needs with a single solar power source. Spider Solar is a 20-megawatt solar energy facility that replenishes the electric grid with the same amount of renewable solar energy that the campus uses to run day-to-day operations. The 47,000-panel solar array began operating on Dec. 31, 2020, and will produce 41,000 megawatt-hours of solar energy annually, equivalent to the annual electricity use of 5,000 homes. Spider solar will allow University of Richmond to eliminate Scope 2 emissions, putting us in a great position to aim for carbon neutrality.”

Spider Solar is located in Spottsylvania County, about an hour north of campus. It was built by sPower and is operated by AES as part of a utility scale power purchase agreement. Spider Solar is UR’s second power purchase agreement. In 2016, the university constructed the first solar array in the Commonwealth under Virginia’s PPA pilot program, installing 749 solar panels on the roof of the Weinstein Center for Recreation and Wellness.


Which impact areas does the second program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Air & Climate
Energy
Purchasing

Website URL where more information about the second program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the second program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
OP-6

A photograph or document associated with the second program/initiative/accomplishment:
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Name of a third highlighted program/initiative/accomplishment:
Heat Watch - Urban Heat Island Study

A brief description of the third program/initiative/accomplishment:

Staff and students at the University of Richmond, along with other community volunteers, took part in a statewide initiative to measure temperature differences in 10 Virginia cities, including Richmond, to find the areas where people are most at risk during times of extreme heat. The initiative is called "Heat Watch."

University of Richmond Associate Professor of Geography and the Environment Todd Lookingbill is in charge of the efforts in Richmond to study urban heat island effect. The urban heat island effect refers to the idea that cities are warmer than their surrounding environments. Increasingly disruptive heat burdens are disproportionately distributed across our neighborhoods. A lack of trees in the city (trees pull water up from the ground and respire it through their leaves and that cools the surrounding area) and the dark colors of impervious, paved surfaces that absorb more energy and reflect less than lighter-colored surfaces contribute to urban heat island effect.

Data collection teams traveled around 12 sections in the city taking temperature and air quality data at three points throughout the day. The team collected data in late July when temperatures peak, which is usually in the 90s in Richmond. Higher temperatures lead to greater disparities in urban and suburban/rural temperatures an air quality.

This work builds upon a 2017 study led by the Science Museum of Virginia. In addition to Richmond, studies are conducted in Petersburg Abingdon, Arlington, Farmville, Harrisonburg, Lynchburg, Petersburg, Salem, Virginia Beach, and Winchester.


Which impact areas does the third program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement
Public Engagement
Air & Climate

Website URL where more information about the third program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the third program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
AC-8

A photograph or document associated with the third program/initiative/accomplishment:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.