Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 63.30
Liaison Dennis Cochrane
Submission Date March 19, 2013
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

Virginia Tech
PAE-4: Sustainability Plan

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Dennis Cochrane
Director, Office of Sustainability
Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure and Facilities
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Does the institution have a sustainability plan that meets the criteria for this credit?:

A brief description of how multiple stakeholder groups were involved in developing the plan:

During the fall 2007 semester, student leaders of the Environmental Coalition met with Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger to discuss whether or not Virginia Tech would become a signatory of the Presidents Climate Commitment (a national initiative). Instead of signing the initiative, during Earth Week 2008, President Steger tasked the Energy & Sustainability Committee with developing a climate action commitment and accompanying sustainability plan that were unique to Virginia Tech and achievable. He encouraged student participation in the drafting of these documents.

To develop a draft plan, the Committee established a 20‐member subcommittee representing all facets of the university, from facilities to campus life, from to academic faculty to students. For a complete list of the members of the subcommittee and additional stakeholders that collaborated on the plan, please see the “Acknowledgements” page of the VTCAC&SP at http://www.facilities.vt.edu/documents/sustainability/sustPlan.pdf

The Energy & Sustainability Committee developed the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment Resolution (VTCAC) and accompanying Sustainability Plan (SP) and recommended these to University Council for approval. On April 22, 2009 (Earth Day), University Council recommended approval of the resolution and plan. In June, 2009, the Board of Visitors unanimously approved the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment Resolution and accepted the accompanying Sustainability Plan.

The 14-point VTCAC Resolution is university policy. Highlights of the VTCAC Resolution include establishing GHG emission reduction targets, requiring the purchase of Energy Star rated equipment, increasing recycling and alternative transportation rates, the pursuit of LEED Silver certification or better for all campus buildings, and the creation of the Office of Energy & Sustainability.

The Sustainability Plan is a working document that provides actions and measures to direct the university toward achieving the goals and targets in the VTCAC Resolution.

Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment Resolution: http://www.facilities.vt.edu/documents/sustainability/climateAction.pdf

Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment & Sustainability Plan: http://www.facilities.vt.edu/documents/sustainability/sustPlan.pdf

A brief description of the plan’s measurable goals :

The Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment Resolution outlines fourteen (14) resolution points. Many of these points establish measurable targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and waste reduction. Additionally, these points establish measurable targets for increases in energy and heating efficiency, transportation efficiency, number of LEED certified buildings, recycling rate, and purchasing of materials with recycled content and/or local and sustainable products.

For the complete VTCAC Resolution, please see: http://www.facilities.vt.edu/documents/sustainability/climateAction.pdf

The Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment Resolution sets forth the following measurable goals:

Resolution #3: Virginia Tech will establish a target for reduction of campus GHG emissions to 80% below 1990 emission level by 2050, and interim targets from 2006 emissions of 316,000 tons consistent with the Virginia Energy Plan, the Governor’s Commission on Climate Change, the Town of Blacksburg, and the federal administration: for 2012, 295,000 tons (on path to 2025 target); for 2025, 255,000 tons (2000 emission level); and for 2050, 38,000 tons (80% below 1990 emission level).

Resolution #4: Virginia Tech will work toward these emission reduction targets through improved energy efficiency, reduction of energy waste, replacement of high‐carbon fuels, and other measures identified in the VTCAC&SP.

Resolution #6: Virginia Tech will pursue LEED Silver certification or better and exceed ASHRAE 90.1 2004 energy performance by 35% (ASHRAE 90.1 2007 by 30%) for all new buildings and major renovations. Capital budgets should account for future energy price, cost of building operation, return on investment, and environmental benefits of achieving this level of performance.

Resolution #7: Virginia Tech will improve electricity and heating efficiency of campus facilities and their operations, including the heating and cooling infrastructure and operation, lighting efficiency, controls and operation, and equipment efficiency and controls.

Resolution #8: The university will adopt at least 4 reduction measures in the Waste Minimization component of the national RecycleMania competition. Virginia Tech Recycling will adopt a goal of 35% recycle rate by 2012 and 50% by 2025.

Resolution #9: Virginia Tech will require purchase of Energy Star rated equipment, maximum practicable recycled‐content paper, and other low life‐cycle cost products, with exceptions for special uses.

Resolution #11. Virginia Tech will improve transportation energy efficiency on campus through parking, fleet, and alternative transportation policies. Alternative transportation use will increase from the current level of 45%, to a goal of 52% in 2015, and 60% in 2020.

Resolution #13. The university will monitor energy use and GHG emissions as well as changing internal and external conditions, prepare an annual 'report card' showing progress towards targets, and periodically reevaluate targets, making adjustments to targets as appropriate based on changing internal and external conditions and evolving technologies.

Additional VTCAC Resolutions include:

Resolution #1: Virginia Tech will be a Leader in Campus Sustainability.

Resolution #2: The university will represent the VTCAC&SP in the Virginia Tech Strategic Plan.

Resolution #5: Virginia Tech will establish an Office of Sustainability to
a. Coordinate programs for campus sustainability,
b. Oversee implementation of the VTCAC&SP,
c. Monitor annual electricity and other energy use and GHG emissions, and
d. Work with faculty and departments, manage a campus-wide student internship and undergraduate research program using the campus as a sustainability laboratory

Resolution #10: Virginia Tech will engage students, faculty and staff through education and involvement to reduce consumption of energy, water, and materials in academic and research buildings, dining and residence halls, and other facilities.

Resolution #12: The university will create and support a virtual Virginia Tech School of Sustainability or similar mechanism to coordinate, develop, and communicate related instructional, research, and outreach academic programs.

Resolution #14: With regard to all the items in this resolution, major personnel and investment decisions, including capital projects, associated with implementing the VTCAC&SP will be based on a joint review of costs and benefits by university financial and facilities staff and be subject to availability of funds. Virginia Tech will provide funding to support sustainability programs through a variety of sources, which might include savings from reduced electricity and energy fuels, E&G funds, loans, a Green Development Fund from private sources, and a student Green Fee.

A brief description of how progress in meeting the plan’s goals is measured:

The Office of Energy and Sustainability is responsible for overseeing implementation of the VTCAC&SP. The Office of Energy and Sustainability has developed the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment and Sustainability Plan “Status Report” spreadsheet, which tracks the progress of over 80 actions and measures identified for implementation in the Immediate Phase (2009-2012) of the VTCAC&SP. Additionally, the Office of Energy and Sustainability submits an Annual Report on Campus Sustainability at Virginia Tech which provides an update on the process of the VTCAC&SP goals.

To view the most recent version of the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment and Sustainability Plan Status Report, please see" http://www.facilities.vt.edu/sustainability/

To view the most recent version of the Annual Report on Campus Sustainability at Virginia Tech, please see: http://www.facilities.vt.edu/sustainability/annualRpts.asp

The website URL where more information about the sustainability plan is available:
The year the plan was developed or last updated:

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