Overall Rating Reporter
Overall Score
Liaison Chelsea Hamilton
Submission Date March 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

Vanderbilt University
PRE-2: Points of Distinction

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Reporter Chelsea Hamilton
Sustainability Outreach Coordinator
Sustainability and Environmental Management Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s featured sustainability program, initiative, or accomplishment:
Vanderbilt reached Carbon Neutrality in 2021, decades ahead of our initial goal, through an innovative partnership with Climate Vault. Climate Vault uses the cap-and-trade market—which is designed to limit harmful emissions—to accelerate its impact, allow

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

In 2021, Vanderbilt University began a new collaboration with the nonprofit organization Climate Vault that allows the university to address the full extent of its carbon footprint in 2021 , achieving carbon neutrality decades ahead of its initial goal of 2050. The innovative initiative effectively removes carbon pollution permits from regulated carbon markets while simultaneously stimulating research into emerging carbon removal technologies.

In 2019, the university set a goal to power its campus entirely through renewable energy and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Several large efforts are already underway to make significant strides toward this goal. While the university continues to push action and innovations on several fronts, it identified this a near-term opportunity to work with Climate Vault and use the cap-and-trade market—which is designed to limit harmful emissions—to accelerate its impact, allowing it to become the first member of the Association of American Universities to achieve carbon neutrality.


Which of the following impact areas does the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Air & Climate

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):
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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:
Large Scale Renewable Energy Green Invest Agreement

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

Vanderbilt University entered into an agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Nashville Electric Service through TVA’s new Green Invest program to procure off-site large-scale renewable energy to help mitigate the campus’ greenhouse gas emissions. Through this new partnership, Vanderbilt is tackling climate change head-on by working towards its goal of powering its campus entirely through renewable energy and committing to carbon neutrality.

Vanderbilt is the first customer to partner with a local power company on this type of agreement in the seven-state TVA region. The 20-year agreement will support Vanderbilt’s goal to power its campus entirely through renewable energy and become carbon neutral by the year 2050.

Vanderbilt will reach its renewable energy goal just over four years after the university made its initial commitment in 2019. Vanderbilt’s initial partnership, announced in January 2020, will mitigate approximately 70 percent of the university’s greenhouse gas emissions by fall 2022. Groundbreaking for the Vanderbilt One solar farm in Bedford County occurred in January 2022. The second Green Invest project will supply enough renewable energy to offset the remaining 30 percent of the university’s annual indirect greenhouse gas emissions from purchased electricity by fall 2023.
The agreement is the result of two years of intensive effort through The Large-Scale Renewable Energy Study by Vanderbilt to identify the best renewable energy strategy for the university on the basis of key criteria that include financial, social and environmental benefits and risk mitigation.


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

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):
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A photograph or document associated with the second program/initiative/accomplishment:
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Name of a third highlighted program/initiative/accomplishment:
Vanderbilt will achieve Zero Waste by 2030

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

Vanderbilt committed to achieving zero waste by the year 2030 as part of the university’s comprehensive long-term strategy to significantly reduce its environmental footprint and drive positive change in the world.
Vanderbilt has already reached a 47% diversion rate, but the Zero Waste Master Plan will accelerate the university’s efforts to reach a 90% diversion rate in over the next decade.
Once the Zero Waste Study was completed, the Zero Waste Advisory Committee outlined two specific goals for the university and two supporting actions:
Goal 1: Achieve zero waste, a 90% diversion rate, by 2030
Goal 2: Reduce the amount of waste generated on campus by 30% by 2030
Supporting Actions:
• End institutional single-use plastic bottle purchases by 2025, except in laboratories
• Expand food waste collection to include all dining areas and residential halls by 2025


Which impact areas does the third program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Waste

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):
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A photograph or document associated with the third program/initiative/accomplishment:
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