Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.54
Liaison Jim Walker
Submission Date March 2, 2020

STARS v2.2

University of Texas at Austin
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 4.00 Jim Walker
Director of Sustainability, Financial, and Administrative Services
University Operations
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address sustainability in curriculum and/or research?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to academics and the plan(s) in which they are published:

Since 2012, when The Mitchell Foundation provided a scaffold to create new sustainability curriculum at The University of Texas at Austin, nearly 10,000 students have been enriched by new content in the classroom.

The Sustainability Course Development Awards provide grants to faculty members to either develop new courses or enhance existing ones.

“The Sustainability Course Development Awards have inspired faculty from across campus to create a wide variety of courses that teach students about sustainability,” says Jeanette Herman, Assistant Dean for Academic Initiatives and Director of BDP. “The courses that have been developed with the support of these grants are preparing our students to understand the sustainability challenges we face in the world today, and to change them for the better.”

More than 30 faculty members from a wide range of campus units—College of Liberal Arts, LBJ School of Public Affairs, Cockrell School of Engineering, College of Natural Sciences, McCombs School of Business, School of Architecture, Steve Hicks School of Social Work, Jackson School of Geosciences, and Moody College of Communication—have created new content with a Sustainability Course Development Award. Over the last seven years, 14 existing courses, which have collectively served over 8,500 students to date, were altered to include a substantial focus on sustainability. One of the earliest course conversions—a foundations in management course developed by Kristie Loescher, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Management—accounts for over 5,000 of the students reached with new sustainability content.

The other 18 courses—completed by over 700 students to date—are new offerings on campus. One such class is Environmental Anthropology which was taught to 50 students for the first time last fall. Jason Cons, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology, applied for the grant to develop a course that he thought the department needed: a gateway class that fits between large introductory courses and upper division seminars focused on climate change and political ecology. The course is listed as an option for students getting a certificate in the Environment and Sustainability in BDP, and it satisfies Global Cultures and Independent Inquiry Flag requirements for students across the university.
https://sustainability.utexas.edu/news/giving-curriculum-sustainability-boost


Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address student, employee, or community engagement for sustainability?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to engagement and the plan(s) in which they are published:

From the Sustainability Master Plan (https://campusplanning.utexas.edu/masterplan/documents/SustainabilityMasterPlan2016.pdf: Many groups contribute to bringing students together on environmental, equity and social interests. Students also rally around official athletic and cultural events such as home games, movie screenings and festivals.Develop a deliberate strategy around engagement and investment in the West University Neighborhood as a major university housing village.

•Explore with property owners and the city the opportunity to develop a revitalization
plan for Guadalupe Street, including the potential for university investment.
•Explore opportunities to collaborate with the city and state in the creation of an
innovation district in central Austin.
•Conduct an initial visioning and create a program and concept plan for the new
medical school as input to the site-selection decision and to understanding how a
medical center development on the main campus could impact program location and
infrastructure decisions in the future.
•Include the East Campus in Phase 2 master planning and engage the leadership of
the surrounding Blackland and surrounding Upper Boggy Creek neighborhoods in the
planning discussions.

Goal
•Integrate sustainability into the first-year experience
Strategies
•Create a sustainability focused living learning community within the Division of Housing and Food Service
•Support inclusion of sustainability topics in first-year interest groups (FIGs )
•Introduce all first year students to sustainability during student orientation
Outcomes
•New living learning community admits students by 2018
•First-year students demonstrate awareness of sustainability at the university
•Mandatory sustainability session during student orientation by 201

Goal
•The values and culture of sustainability are evident throughout the undergraduate experience

Strategies
•Expand co-curricular opportunities for student sustainability programs to provide experiential opportunities for students to learn about sustainable lifestyle choices
•Evaluate contribution of sustainability programs to student success
•Enhance student influence on campus sustainability decisions and program
•Increase the number of green jobs on campus
•Support events to showcase students’ contributions to campus and scholarship around sustainability
•Nominate more students for local and national sustainability awards and fellowships
•Continue the Green Fee program

Outcomes
•Increase the number of students served by sustainability programs by 2020
•Increase positive student response to sustainability related topics in annual institutional surveys
•Create opportunities for students to demonstrate basic sustainability literacy and knowledge
•Track contribution of on-campus green jobs and internships to
career placement

The graduate experience is distinctly different from the undergraduate experience. Graduate students come to UT Austin for top-tier programs to advance themselves in specific studies. They expect to focus intently on their studies with less exploration of co-curricular activities, but for many, that does not diminish their interest in cross-disciplinary
work.

Goal
•Encourage graduate-level engagement with sustainability to add value to the university experience

Strategies
•Enhance graduate student influence on campus sustainability decisions and programs
•Support graduate level symposium with professional networking opportunities
•Increase visibility, utility and convenience of sustainability infrastructure specific to graduate student facilities
•Expand co-curricular opportunities for graduate students to apply sustainability in their careers through professional study, internships and certifications related to sustainability
•Identify funds to support graduate research and employment in sustainability

Outcomes
•Increase positive graduate student response to sustainability related topics in annual institutional surveys
•Host symposium event by 2018
•Increase placement for graduate students engaged in sustainability research or activities


Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address sustainability in operations?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to operations and the plan(s) in which they are published:

The 2012 Campus Master Plan focused primarily on the quality and contribution of the physical campus environment to the operational and educational mission of the university.
Goal: enhance campus while accomodating growth Strategies •Continue to pursue the 2012 Campus Master Plan goals
Outcomes
•Summary report from Campus Master Plan Committee on growth patterns by 2020

Goal
•Continue investment in high performance buildings
Strategies
•Integrate LEED v4 and SITES prerequisites into campus standards
•Adopt LEED v4 Silver as new campus standard
•Develop green custodial procedures
•Investigate LEED Lab program bridging operations and academics
•Develop standards for evaluating actual building performance
Outcomes
•Adopt new campus standards that reflect high performance
objectives by 2018
•Adopt LEED v4 Silver as new campus capital project standard
by fall 2016
•Adopt LEED goal for major campus renovations by 2017
•Certify at least one LEED Existing Building certified building by 2020
•Adopt energy performance modeling standard by 2018

-Sustainability Master Plan, page 55

from Natural Resources Conservation Plan

Reliable and Efficient Energy System
Utilities will maintain utility system performance at, or above, its current level of reliability and annual average plant efficiency of about 88%, average electrical generation performance of about 8,500 BTU/kWh and chilling station performance at approximately 0.70 kW/Ton.

Demand Side Energy Efficiency
By August 31, 2020, the University of Texas at Austin will reduce energy consumption at the building level by an average of 20% per square foot per degree-day, using 2009 as the base year. Accomplishing this goal will require an investment in energy management staffing, centralized building energy control systems, conservation and efficiency projects and a specific resource reduction goal for each building.

- Campus Master Plan, page 180

Today, UT Austin’s power plant supplies almost 100% of the utility requirements for 20 million square feet serving 70,000 faculty, students and staff. Energy management efforts to date have enabled UT Austin to hold fuel consumption to that of 15 years ago, while the campus doubled in overall building space. Carbon emissions today are equivalent to 1977 levels.

In 2011, the Natural Resource Conservation Plan set a goal of reducing energy consumption at the building level by 20% by the year 2020 using 2009 as the base year. As of FY2014, 16.5% energy reduction has been achieved via technical efforts and campus engagement.

As the university undertakes planning efforts to meet future growth, reliable and efficient energy supply and its judicious utilization are critical components to preserve the university’s utility assets and sustain plant performance.

Goal
•Offset campus space growth and related energy plant load growth envisioned in the Campus Master Plan
Strategies
•Implement new demand-side strategic plan for energy and water conservation projects in existing buildings
•Create a sustainable energy funding process to accelerate investment in energy and water conservation in an optimal manner
•Expand lab equipment efficiency program
Outcomes
•Adopt demand-side portfolio management and revolving fund approach adopted by 2017
•Achieve 20 percent reduction in energy use per square foot in buildings (over 2009 baseline) by 2020
•Adopt energy conservation operational and purchasing policies by 2017
•Adopt lab efficiency plan by 2020
Commitment
•Investigate feasibility of avoiding the need for another thermal energy plant (estimated at $150M) to support campus growth envisioned in the Campus Master Plan

Goal
•Demonstrate leadership in renewable energy investments
Strategies
•Explore PPAs with Austin Energy and other providers
•Purchase wind power at Austin Energy supplied facilities
•Develop standard for solar array installations on campus buildings
Outcomes
•Create 2 MW of renewable generation with Austin Energy by 2020
•Adopt solar system campus standard by 201

-Sustainability Master Plan, page 50
from Natural Resources Conservation Plan

Reliable and Efficient Energy System
Utilities will maintain utility system performance at, or above, its current level of reliability and annual average plant efficiency of about 88%, average electrical generation performance of about 8,500 BTU/kWh and chilling station performance at approximately 0.70 kW/Ton.

Demand Side Energy Efficiency
By August 31, 2020, the University of Texas at Austin will reduce energy consumption at the building level by an average of 20% per square foot per degree-day, using 2009 as the base year. Accomplishing this goal will require an investment in energy management staffing, centralized building energy control systems, conservation and efficiency projects and a specific resource reduction goal for each building.

- Campus Master Plan, page 180

Today, UT Austin’s power plant supplies almost 100% of the utility requirements for 20 million square feet serving 70,000 faculty, students and staff. Energy management efforts to date have enabled UT Austin to hold fuel consumption to that of 15 years ago, while the campus doubled in overall building space. Carbon emissions today are equivalent to 1977 levels.

In 2011, the Natural Resource Conservation Plan set a goal of reducing energy consumption at the building level by 20% by the year 2020 using 2009 as the base year. As of FY2014, 16.5% energy reduction has been achieved via technical efforts and campus engagement.

As the university undertakes planning efforts to meet future growth, reliable and efficient energy supply and its judicious utilization are critical components to preserve the university’s utility assets and sustain plant performance.

Goal
•Offset campus space growth and related energy plant load growth envisioned in the Campus Master Plan
Strategies
•Implement new demand-side strategic plan for energy and water conservation projects in existing buildings
•Create a sustainable energy funding process to accelerate investment in energy and water conservation in an optimal manner
•Expand lab equipment efficiency program
Outcomes
•Adopt demand-side portfolio management and revolving fund approach adopted by 2017
•Achieve 20 percent reduction in energy use per square foot in buildings (over 2009 baseline) by 2020
•Adopt energy conservation operational and purchasing policies by 2017
•Adopt lab efficiency plan by 2020
Commitment
•Investigate feasibility of avoiding the need for another thermal energy plant (estimated at $150M) to support campus growth envisioned in the Campus Master Plan

Goal
•Demonstrate leadership in renewable energy investments
Strategies
•Explore PPAs with Austin Energy and other providers
•Purchase wind power at Austin Energy supplied facilities
•Develop standard for solar array installations on campus buildings
Outcomes
•Create 2 MW of renewable generation with Austin Energy by 2020
•Adopt solar system campus standard by 201

-Sustainability Master Plan, page 50

Food is an integral part of sustainability and health. Food fuels our bodies to learn, work and play. The quality of our food is determined in part by how it was grown and how far it traveled to get to us. Making nutritious food more attractive to the community by highlighting its freshness encourages its consumption. In turn, the food we eat can impact our health and performance. By promoting local and healthy foods across campus, we support environmentally friendly practices and strive to improve the health of our students, faculty and staff.
Goal
•UT Austin has a visible commitment to a food system that supports personal health and community services
Strategies
•Increase availability of local food choices at campus food service locations
•Expand access on campus to sustainably grown campus produce (e.g. Farm to Work, farm stands, etc.)
•Increase the number and variety of healthy and plant-based food offerings provided at campus food service locations
•Develop language for food vendor contracts emphasizing availability of healthy foods and food recovery
•Increase availability of healthy beverage options
•Continue student-run campus gardens as a co-curricular opportunity
•Evaluate food insecurity in the campus community
Outcomes
•Report on the state of the UT Austin food system by fall 2017
•Report on campus food insecurity by 2018
•Utilize periodic institutional surveys to gauge increased levels of awareness students and staff have about healthy food options

-Sustainability Master Plan, page 36

The spring 2014 UT Austin Landscape Master Plan focuses primarily on the quality and function of the physical campus environment. Landscape encompasses the aesthetic and practical makeup of campus trees, vegetation, the shape of the land, a diversity of fauna and unique features such as Waller Creek. Our campus landscape is highly interactive and a frequent area of engagement for students, staff, faculty and visitors and invites a connection to the mission of the university. The continued health and ecological function of our landscape reflects our commitment to operational excellence.

Goal
•Enhance resiliency, ecosystem service functions and beauty of the campus landscape
Strategies
•Integrate 2014 Landscape Master Plan into campus standards
•Improve stormwater management practices to reduce erosion, improve water quality, and reduce the rate of runoff
•Evaluate standards for campus trees
Outcomes
•Adopt new standards based on Landscape Master Plan and SITES
prerequisites for capital and major renovation projects by 2018
•Adopt new campus standards for trees by 2017

Goal
•Restore Waller Creek as a natural environment and campus amenity
Strategy
•Collate existing initiatives into a plan for Waller Creek
Outcome
•Adopt plan for Waller Creek by 2019

A commitment to green purchasing is one of the most impactful actions an institution can take. UT Austin has already become a member of the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council and has access to many advisory documents and best practices concerning sustainable purchasing. In addition, we already have mechanisms to preferentially support historically underutilized businesses (HUB), which are often available to us locally. A green purchasing goal commits us to working within our available legal means to reduce harm to people and planet in our purchasing decisions, and make it ever easier and more convenient for our internal purchasers to make sustainable decisions.

Goal
•Purchasing policies reflect and reinforce campus sustainability values and initiatives Strategies
•Evaluate adoption of unified standards for environmentally preferred products from the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council and other verified global leaders in purchasing
•Evaluate adoption of major vendor standards for waste minimization, including eliminating air and water pollutants, in manufacture and delivery of products
•Evaluate adoption of standards on material recyclability or compostability, takeback and reuse
•Evaluate adoption of State Energy Conservation Office requirements and the Environmental Protection Agencies Energy Star requirements for laboratory, kitchen and office equipment
•Host conference on sustainability with major vendors
•Support opportunities for study of the university’s purchasing impacts in classrooms and other academic settings
Outcomes
•Create new content for Handbook of Operating Procedures by 2018
•Report analysis of major vendor standards to chief financial officer by 2018
•Obtain 50 percent increase, from 2016 baseline, in contracts containing sustainability considerations regarding waste or other impacts by 2020
•Make purchasing data available for research purposes by 2019

-Sustainability Master Plan, page 53

By August 31, 2020, UT Austin will divert 90% of the total waste stream from landfill using a variety of methods including reuse and recycling. This will reduce the UT Austin carbon footprint by 600 metric tons of CO2 equivalent and save at least $5,000 annually.

-Campus Master Plan

Resource Recovery and Waste
Everyone has heard the slogan, “reduce, reuse, recycle.” It is synonymous with sustainable resource use and is often one of the first environmental behaviors people choose. Yet, despite this message, a significant portion of the trash now sent to the landfill by the institution could have been recycled or composted. The Natural Resource Conservation Plan set the goal of achieving a Zero Waste Campus by 2020. This goal heralded a new era in which waste is no longer seen as an inevitable byproduct of supporting the university’s educational mission. As the university continues to grow, resource recovery will continue to expand to foster the highest and best use of university resources and diverting or eliminating waste wherever possible.

Goal
•Demonstrate leadership in both reduction and diversion of waste
Strategies
•Right size solid waste and recycling infrastructure
•Develop reuse/recycle programs for special and/or not readily recyclable materials
•Develop programs to encourage highest and best use of materials
•Convert major campus events to zero waste
•Expand food waste avoidance, donation programs, and organics
diversion campus wide
•Promote UT Austin as a national model for waste diversion for a
research university by 2020
•Reduce hazardous waste generation in labs
Outcomes
•Adopt a resource recovery plan by 2017
•Achieve a Zero Waste Campus by 2020
•Achieve 50 percent per capita reduction in waste by 2030
•All food service locations participate in a food recovery program
by 2020
•Adopt a hazardous waste reduction plan by 2017

-Sustainability Master Plan, page 52


Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address diversity, equity, and inclusion; sustainable investment/finance; or wellbeing?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to administration and the plan(s) in which they are published:

CAMPUS CULTURE STRATEGIC GOAL: Advance efforts to create an inclusive, accessible, and welcoming culture on campus.

CAMPUS CULTURE STRATEGIC GOAL RATIONALE: The DDCE cultivates an inclusive campus culture that actively and intentionally engages diverse people, ideas, and perspectives to create a vibrant learning and working environment. The DDCE accomplishes this by sustaining and advancing efforts to develop a pervasive culture of inclusion in all facets of life at The University of Texas at Austin. By breaking down barriers and challenging injustices, the DDCE transforms campus culture to one in which all individuals draw strength from the university’s collective diversity. This transformation fosters success and a greater sense of belonging and respect.

-Division of Diversity and Community Engagement Strategic Plan


Does the institution have a published strategic plan or equivalent guiding document that includes sustainability at a high level? :
Yes

The institution’s highest guiding document (upload):
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Website URL where the institution’s highest guiding document is publicly available:
Which of the following best describes the inclusion of sustainability in the highest guiding document?:
Minor theme

The institution's sustainability plan (upload):
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Website URL where the institution's sustainability plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body?:
---

The formal statement in support of sustainability:
The institution’s definition of sustainability:

Sustainability refers to societal efforts that meet the needs of present users without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustain ability presumes that the planet’s resources are finite, and should be used conservatively, wisely, and equitably. Decisions and investments aimed to promote sustainability will simultaneously advance economic vitality, ecological integrity, and social welfare.

http://www.policies.utexas.edu/policies/campus-sustainability


Is the institution an endorser or signatory of the following? :
Yes or No
The Earth Charter No
The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) No
ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter No
Pan-Canadian Protocol for Sustainability No
SDG Accord No
Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment (formerly known as the ACUPCC), Resilience Commitment, and/or integrated Climate Commitment No
The Talloires Declaration (TD) No
UN Global Compact No
Other multi-dimensional sustainability commitments (please specify below) No

A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above:
---

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability planning efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The university’s highest guiding priorities are found on the university president’s page, https://president.utexas.edu

One of four major priorities is “Creating a Vibrant Texas”, which includes a commitment to “provide solutions for a changing state. Planet Texas 2050 examines the problems of rapid population growth and accelerates solutions to provide clean water, reliable electricity, and a sound infrastructure.” Within this same principle is a commitment to “provide young Texans — no matter their circumstance — an education on par with the greatest universities in the world. This university plays a key role in the upward mobility of Texas families”

Also at this highest level is a commitment to diversity and inclusion, “All students are better prepared to succeed when they receive the educational benefits of learning on a diverse campus. At UT, our commitment to diversity and inclusion is an essential part of our public mission.”

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.