Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 71.02
Liaison Dennis Cochrane
Submission Date Oct. 15, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

Virginia Tech
PAE-5: Climate Action Plan

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Dennis Cochrane
Director, Office of Sustainability
Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure and Facilities
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a plan to mitigate its greenhouse gas emissions that meets the criteria for this credit?:
Yes

A brief summary of the climate plan’s long-term goals:

The Energy & Sustainability Committee developed the “Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment and Sustainability Plan (VTCAC&SP)” during calendar year 2008. The Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment (VTCAC) consists of 14 distinct points and it is subset of the overall Sustainability Plan. During the 2009 spring semester the VTCAC&SP was advanced through the Commission on University Support and subsequently to the University Council for review and approval. On April 22, 2009 (Earth Day) the University Council recommended approval of the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment (VTCAC) and accepted the 200-page accompanying Sustainability Plan (VTCAC&SP). On June 1, 2009 the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors unanimously approved the VTCAC and it became university policy (Presidential Policy Memorandum Number 262).

During Academic Year 2012-2013 the E&SC conducted a detailed review of the VTCAC and developed a proposed revision. Using the university governance system, the University Council approved the revision on May 6, 2013. Former Virginia Tech President Steger approved the revision on May 9, 2013 (Presidential Policy Memorandum Number 262, Revision 1). The Revision included a Sustainability Definition, Vision, and Mission.
See: http://www.it.vpas.vt.edu/docs/sust/op18/PPM262rev1.pdf

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.

Eight of the 14 points directly address our goal to reduce GHG emissions. They are as follows:

3. Virginia Tech will establish a target for reduction of campus GHG emissions to 80% below 1990 emission level of 188,000 tons by 2050. Interim targets from 2006 emissions of 316,000 tons will be: 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).

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.

6. Virginia Tech will improve the sustainability of its built environment by:
a.Achieving LEED Silver certification or better for all eligible and applicable new buildings and
major renovations.
b.Evaluating the feasibility of LEED for Existing Buildings certification for its existing buildings.

7. Virginia Tech will improve electricity and heating efficiency of campus facilities and their operations by:
a.Exceeding the most current version of ASHRAE 90.1 energy performance by 10% for all new
buildings and major renovations. Capital budgets should account for future energy price, life cycle
cost of building operation, and environmental benefits of achieving this level of performance.
b.Improving the heating and cooling infrastructure and operation, lighting efficiency, equipment
efficiency, and metering and controls of its existing buildings.

8. Virginia Tech will minimize waste and achieve a 50% recycle rate by 2020.

9. Virginia Tech will:
a.Require purchase or lease of Energy Star rated equipment and maximum practicable recycled
content paper, in accordance with University Policy 5505, with exceptions for special uses.
b.Consider a product's life cycle cost and impact when making purchasing decisions.

11. Virginia Tech will improve transportation energy efficiency on campus through parking, fleet, and
alternative transportation policies and practices. The university will continue to implement
programs that encourage the use of alternative transportation methods and will continue to
implement programs and services that promote eco-responsible fleet management.

13. Virginia Tech 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 re-evaluate targets, making adjustments to targets as appropriate based on changing
internal and external conditions and evolving technologies.

The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory for Virginia Tech, the Town of Blacksburg, and community was prepared by Professor Emeritus John Randolph and Professor Damian Pitt (Urban Affairs and Planning, College of Architecture and Urban Studies) and their students in March 2008, Please see: http://www.facilities.vt.edu/sustainability/emissions.asp

The Office of Energy and Sustainability is also responsible for submitting a sustainability annual report. Progress on meeting measureable goals are contained in each of the past four annual reports (2010-2013).
See: http://www.facilities.vt.edu/sustainability/annualRpts.asp


A brief summary of the climate plan’s short-term goals:

The short-term goals are consistent with is shown for the long-range goals above.

The short-term goal for GHG emission reduction is as follows: 316,000 tons will be for 2012.


Year the climate plan was formally adopted or approved:
2,009

An indication of whether institution has made a commitment to reduce GHG emissions a specific amount by a target year:
Yes

List which emissions (scope 1, 2, and/or 3) are included in its GHG emissions commitment:
Scopes 1, 2, and 3

The reduction level (percentage) institution has committed to:
38,000 tons by 2050, or 80% below 1990 emission level of 188,000 tons

The baseline year the institution used in its GHG emissions commitment:
---

The baseline emissions level institution used in its GHG emissions commitment:
1990 emission level of 188,000 tons

The target year the institution specified in its GHG emissions commitment :
---

The website URL where information about the climate plan is available:

Virginia Tech Presidential Policy Memorandum #262 Revision 1 dated May 9, 2013:

1. Virginia Tech will be a Leader in Campus Sustainability. Sustainability is an integral part of the fabric of the university as it pursues enhanced economic stability and affordability, diversity and inclusion, environmental stewardship, expansion of knowledge, and education of future leaders.

2. Virginia Tech will represent the VTCAC&SP in the university's Strategic Plan.

3. Virginia Tech will establish a target for reduction of campus GHG emissions to 80% below 1990 emission level of 188,000 tons by 2050. Interim targets from 2006 emissions of 316,000 tons will be: 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).

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.

5. Virginia Tech will maintain a sustainability office 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.Working with faculty and departments, manage a campus-wide student internship and
undergraduate research program using the campus as a sustainability laboratory, and
e.Coordinate communication regarding campus sustainability initiatives and programs to the
university community and external audiences.

6. Virginia Tech will improve the sustainability of its built environment by:
a.Achieving LEED Silver certification or better for all eligible and applicable new buildings and
major renovations.
b.Evaluating the feasibility of LEED for Existing Buildings certification for its existing buildings.

7. Virginia Tech will improve electricity and heating efficiency of campus facilities and their operations
by:
a.Exceeding the most current version of ASHRAE 90.1 energy performance by 10% for all new
buildings and major renovations. Capital budgets should account for future energy price, life cycle
cost of building operation, and environmental benefits of achieving this level of performance.
b.Improving the heating and cooling infrastructure and operation, lighting efficiency, equipment
efficiency, and metering and controls of its existing buildings.

8. Virginia Tech will minimize waste and achieve a 50% recycle rate by 2020.

9. Virginia Tech will:
a.Require purchase or lease of Energy Star rated equipment and maximum practicable recycled
content paper, in accordance with University Policy 5505, with exceptions for special uses.
b.Consider a product's life cycle cost and impact when making purchasing decisions.

10. Virginia Tech will engage students, faculty, and staff through education and involvement to
develop and implement innovative strategies for efficient and sustainable use of energy, water,
and materials in all university-owned facilities.

11. Virginia Tech will improve transportation energy efficiency on campus through parking, fleet, and
alternative transportation policies and practices. The university will continue to implement
programs that encourage the use of alternative transportation methods and will continue to
implement programs and services that promote eco-responsible fleet management.

12. Virginia Tech will continue to develop and implement innovative sustainability-related academic
programs in instruction, research, and outreach, and will coordinate and communicate these
programs to the university community and external audiences.

13. Virginia Tech 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 re-evaluate targets, making adjustments to targets as appropriate based on changing
internal and external conditions and evolving technologies.

14. Virginia Tech will work to provide funding to support sustainability programs. 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.

Sustainability Definition:

Sustainability is the simultaneous pursuit of environmental quality, economic prosperity, and
social justice and equity, through action, education, and engagement to address current needs
without compromising the capacity and needs of future generations.

Sustainability Vision:

Virginia Tech serves as a model community for a sustainable society. Sustainability is an
integral part of the fabric of the university as it pursues enhanced economic stability and
affordability, diversity and inclusion, environmental stewardship, expansion of knowledge, and
education of future leaders.

Sustainability Mission:

The pursuit of sustainability is achieved through Virginia Tech's administration; physical
environment and operations; student life and experience; campus culture and behavior; and
academic learning, discovery, and engagement.

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.