Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 57.98
Liaison Jay Price
Submission Date March 6, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Tennessee at Knoxville
IN-27: Innovation D

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Jay Price
Sustainability Manager
Facilities Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Incorporating Bioswales and Tree Wells into Campus Beautification Project

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

Volunteer Boulevard is the main road on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s campus. The Volunteer Boulevard Campus Beautification Project aims to improve the roadway’s functionality as well as its aesthetic in order to better address the needs of the campus community. The recently completed Phase 1 focused on the 0.3 mile stretch of road between UT Drive and Pat Head Summit Street.

Prior to this construction project, this strip of road contained parallel parking spaces adjacent to the sidewalk. Street parking resulted in many drivers circling the road and idling, waiting for parking spots to become available. Because a new parking garage was constructed, these parking spots were removed creating more space for pedestrian lighting, streetscape features, and two 11-foot shared vehicle/bike lanes into the four lanes of traffic will help improve traffic and safety on campus for cyclists and motorists as cycling becomes a more popular mode of transportation.

In addition to beautification accents, the university saw the opportunity to incorporate green infrastructure to help manage stormwater while simultaneously making the stretch of road more natural and appealing to students and visitors. Major landscape improvements were made along each side of the road and along the newly-installed 15-foot median; almost 4,000 new trees, shrubs, and plants were curated to naturally absorb stormwater runoff in rainfall events that are one inch or less. The vegetated median and sides contain curb cuts so rain that falls onto the road can flow into permeable areas containing 60 newly-installed bioswales. Rather than this rain flowing straight into the storm drain and out to local waterways and rivers, including Second Creek, Third Creek, and the Tennessee River, the bioswales, native vegetation, and tree wells absorb the rainwater and naturally filter the water to remove pollutants before being infiltrated into the ground water. This green infrastructure has helped the university better manage stormwater, a challenge for an urban campus in a rainy region.

This project is an example of UT’s commitment to creating a more sustainable environment both on campus and beyond, and is only the beginning of what is looking to be a major change to the campus’s aesthetic and functionality.

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Coordination & Planning

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The webpage states the project's projected completion date as May 2016. This is inaccurate--the project was actually completed in Fall 2019.

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.