Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 60.83
Liaison Parker Long
Submission Date March 2, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Virginia Commonwealth University
IN-24: Innovation A

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Joseph Costa
Sustainability Projects and Program Coordinator
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Office of Sustainability Greenwall

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:

VCU staff, faculty, interns and volunteers, along with students in the EcoVillage Living-Learning Community, transplanted more than 400 plants into containers compatible with the LiveWall vertical garden system.

Aside from their aesthetic value, the 25 varieties of plants are expected to improve the building’s energy efficiency and sequester carbon dioxide emitted by vehicles at the busy intersection of Broad and Belvidere streets. Many are native plants to the Mid-Atlantic region that will support pollinators.

Engineering associate professor Stephen Fong, Ph.D., and VCUarts assistant professor Jon-Phillip Sheridan teamed up with Christopher Gough, Ph.D., an assistant professor of biology and carbon cycle expert, to tackle poor air quality in Richmond.

Together, they launched the Green Walls course for undergraduates — thanks in part to the Institute for Contemporary Art, the Office of Sustainability and a $5,000 undergraduate research grant from the VCU UROP Research Exposure Program. The students developed detailed designs for green walls — vertical structures with living plants — to add aesthetics and carbon sequestration to urban settings. They used repurposed, recycled and donated materials to create planters and structures in which the plants could grow and climb.

Their efforts inspired another group of VCU engineering, biology and arts students, also led by Fong and Sheridan, to partner with the Science Museum of Virginia, local nonprofits and a team from Portland State University to use a comprehensive mapping tool to identify urban heat islands. The tool overlays location-specific heat data with information about demographics, air pollution and features such as roads, buildings and trees. The results allowed the group to identify and analyze the city’s hot spots, providing officials with the critical information to implement initiatives — such as green walls — in the city’s most vulnerable areas first.

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Campus Engagement
Air & Climate

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 innovation is available :
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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