|Submission Date||Feb. 18, 2021|
EN-9: Staff Professional Development and Training
|2.00 / 2.00||
Does the institution make available professional development and training opportunities in sustainability to all non-academic staff at least once per year?:
Does the institution wish to pursue Part 2 of this credit (the rate of staff participation in sustainability professional development and training)?:
Estimated percentage of regular, non-academic staff that participates annually in sustainability professional development and training:
A brief description of any internal sustainability professional development and training opportunities that the institution makes available to non-academic staff:
All members of the university community, including staff, are provided annual opportunities to participate in a variety of sustainability related workshops and seminars that are part of the annual Virginia Tech Earth Week. These programs are widely publicized through the university’s daily email announcements and flyers to employees and students. Examples of previous workshop topics include: container gardening and composting, sustainable products, effective communications for environmental advocates, sustainable forestry, “leave no trace” (for backpackers and campers), sustainable cooking, and permaculture. In addition to Earth Week, the annual Sustainability Week activities, which are hosted throughout the Blacksburg community, are widely publicized to staff, faculty, and students. To view the workshops, seminars and events that have taken place during Earth Week and Sustainability Week please see:
Additional staff development opportunities enhance the overall educational effort by targeting programs toward groups of employees based on their roles within their departments.
1. The university supports several internal employee “professional development networks”, which are available to all employees who perform specific roles, such as facilities managers or laboratory specialists, within their colleges or departments. Virginia Tech’s Office of Sustainability in conjunction with the Office of Energy Management (OEM) reaches out to these employee networks to offer programs on energy and sustainability. Presentation topics have included the campus energy and sustainability plan and initiatives, energy conservation, and recycling.
2. Facilities offers a Design and Construction Standards Manual Training for all Facilities staff and any other interested parties through Mike Vellines, Design and Construction Standards Official. The first training session occurred on August 4, 2020 and involved over 50 Facilities staff members. The presentation was recorded and posted on the Facilities website for any interested faculty/staff members to view. The training covered topics including Virginia Tech's Climate Action Commitment goals, commitment to LEED certification, Policy 5505 (Campus Energy, Water, and Waste Reduction), accessibility, and others.
3. Virginia Tech Benefits and Hokie Wellness Fair: The mission of the Virginia Tech Benefits and Hokie Wellness Fair is to provide Virginia Tech employees with information about their financial, physical, environmental, and ergonomic health. The Hokie Wellness Fair has become an annual event. There is representation at the fair from the Office of Sustainability, Environmental Health and Safety, the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise, as well as many other sustainability-related programs. In addition, faculty, staff, retirees, and adult benefited employees have the opportunity to have several health screenings, including blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, postural analysis, and bone density. There are also presentations on health topics, sustainability, ergonomics, financial planning, depression, and sleep wellness. All employees are welcome to attend and participate annually. For more about the Hokie Wellness Fair, please see: https://hokiewellness.vt.edu/
4. The university operates a nationally recognized award-winning dining program. Virginia Tech Dining Services introduced a composting program in 2009 as part of a broader set of initiatives focused on sustainable alternatives. Sustainability training is provided to managers and employees on topics such as composting and recycling.
5. The Fiscal Bunch for Lunch Group consists of administrative assistant professionals from all departments on campus. There are over 700 active staff members. The FBLG meets on a monthly basis for a meal at a dining hall on campus to discuss different aspects of campus, ranging from education, training, sustainability, budgetary changes, and many more. For the September 26, 2019 meeting, employees from the Office of Sustainability, the Department of Alternative Transportation, and Sustainable Dining all have a presentation to the group on sustainability in each of their respective areas on campus. This information was then able to be further disseminated by attendees of the meeting with fellow members of their offices.
6. The Virginia Tech 2020 Climate Action Commitment Working Group developed several mechanisms to expand community involvement including a website and email address for comment and two online surveys. Plans for face-to-face town hall meetings and conference sessions had to be reimagined when the university shut down after spring break. In place of the in-person events, the Working Group hosted 12 Zoom Convening sessions in April, attended by over 220 participants who provided excellent feedback. In anticipation of the Convening sessions, the Working Group and its subcommittees also developed ten creative videos that described the Climate Action Commitment proposals. These sessions were used as a training vehicle to update the participants (including VT employees/staff) of our current CAC.
Lights Out Power Down:
Every year, Virginia Tech and the surrounding community participates in Lights Out Power Down. During a one-hour time period on an annual basis, the university reduces its campus electrical demand. This is part of a program called the Interruptible Load Reliability Energy Reduction Program. The program is part of Virginia Tech's
agreement with PJM Interconnection, Virginia's regional electric transmission grid operator, and is managed by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy and administered by CPower.
As a large consumer of electricity in the region, Virginia Tech's participation helps mitigate the loss of power in the broader community during times of peak energy usage, such as hot, humid summer afternoons and early evenings. This program allows the university to test its ability to meet that demand should those conditions occur.
Essentially, Lights Out Power Down is our annual training run to practice for when we may be called to reduce our energy consumption by PJM.
Lights Out Power Down is a prime example of the university community's commitment to environmental stewardship in action. This program is an illustration of how Virginia Tech is making strides in reducing its environmental footprint and building sustainability awareness. The efforts are also a clear reflection of Virginia Tech's
Climate Action Commitment.
Virginia Tech has been participating in Lights Out Power Down for over 10 years now. In 2019, the university reduced its campus electrical demand to an average 20,500 kilowatts from a 28,450 kilowatts peak earlier in the day, almost an 8,000 kilowatt reduction. The demand goal for the 2019 event was 22,000 kilowatts for the hour, a reduction of only 5,200 kilowatts which we surpassed.
Since 2010, Virginia Tech has recieved more than $1.8 million by participating in the Interruptible Load Reliability Energy Reduction Program. Virginia Tech's participation helps prevents brown outs and power loss on high demand days.
Members of facilities are trained on how to respond when we are called to Power Down at the university. Additionally, managers speak to their employees about actions they can take to assist in power down, training them on how to be less energy demanding and therefore more sustainability. The entire university community participates in this event. Community members are asked to turn off lights, turn off personal computers, turn off shared electronics, unplug appliances, and turn off lab equipment that is not in use.
Throughout the day, Facilities Department employees canvass campus to encourage and assist building occupants to turn off unnecessary lights and equipment and power down. In addition, air conditioning levels in select, noncritical areas will be reduced. Those impacted will be notified prior to the event.
More information can be found at the following links:
A brief description of any external professional development and training opportunities in sustainability that are supported by the institution :
Estimated percentage of regular non-academic staff for which sustainability is included in performance reviews:
A brief description of how sustainability is included in staff performance reviews :
Website URL where information about staff professional development and training in sustainability is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
More information about Mike Vellines DCSM Presentation:
Mike Vellines, the Design and Construction Standards Official for the Virginia Tech Facilities Department, hosted a virtual training session to employees within the university community on Virginia Tech's 2020 Design and Construction Standards Manual on August 4, 2020. A portion of the manual, called the Orange Book, focuses on sustainability requirements and goals. Within the training presentation, multiple slides focused on sustainability, with highlights on LEED standards, the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment, and waste management.
Sustainability is featured throughout the DCSM in many places to include the following:
DCSM page 6, paragraph 1.2.5 Sustainability
Per the latest revision of the Presidential Policy Memorandum No. 262, the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment (VT CAC), Virginia Tech will be a leader in campus sustainability and programs to achieve sustainability goals will be represented in the University’s Strategic Plan. Innovations in construction and building design have raised the benchmark for certification standards for buildings since 2013. The VT Facilities Department will strive to incorporate a maximum amount of sustainability improvements to honor the VT CAC to the limits of affordability for each design project. The University is committed to the principles of energy conservation. All designs shall strive to maximize energy efficiency, and comply with the energy conservation requirements contained in these standards and Campus Energy, Water, and Waste Reduction Policy — No. 5505.
DCSM page 6 paragraph 22.214.171.124 Sustainable Design
In order to incorporate sustainable design solutions in new construction and renovation projects, Virginia Tech has joined the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and fully supports the principles of the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Building Rating System. The pursuit of high performance green buildings that are energy efficient and environmentally sensitive will help to lower operating and energy costs, improve employee productivity, promote improved learning, and enhance the health, and wellbeing of the students, faculty and staff at Virginia Tech. All projects shall address sustainability as it relates to site issues, water, energy efficiency, materials and resources, and indoor air quality in accordance with the VT CAC. In the early stages of design, the A/E shall strive to meet or exceed the minimum number of points needed for LEED certification under the rating system appropriate for the project in accordance with the VT CAC. The A/E shall determine the most cost effective means of achieving these points, and shall take full credit for points achieved through compliance with other University standards that address sustainability issues, such as building commissioning. The A/E shall submit for the University’s review and approval a LEED Project Checklist, identifying the specific measures proposed to be incorporated into the project to achieve the target number of points. The A/E should consider the ParkSmart certification for projects involving parking garages.
DCSM page 7, paragraph 126.96.36.199 Waste Management
Virginia Tech is a jurisdictional member of the Montgomery Regional Solid Waste Authority. All members transitioned to single stream recycling effective July 1, 2015. To achieve the recycle rate goal stated in the VT CAC, Virginia Tech requires an appropriate number of waste stations, both outside and inside of our facilities. All recycling containers for new construction and major renovations must be able to accommodate single stream recycling. 1. Outside the Building: a. The design of the waste management serving area shall provide a concrete slab 26 feet wide by 14 feet deep to accommodate an 8 cubic yard single stream recycling container and another 8 cubic yard trash container placed side-by-side. It must provide an access route to accommodate an AASHTO WB-40 Design Vehicle. In order to accommodate this design vehicle during loading and unloading operations, a concrete road surface shall be placed along the entire 26-foot width of the concrete slab and extended outward and perpendicular a distance of 8 feet. b. Outdoor waste stations for personal use should consist of an appropriate number of pairs of containers placed side-by-side with one designated and labeled for “single stream recycling” and the other designated and labeled for “trash.” The containers must conform to our design standards for outdoor furnishings. 2. Inside the building: a. Indoor waste stations shall consist of an appropriate number of pairs of non-combustible collection containers placed side-by-side with one designated and labeled for “single stream recycling” and the other designated and labeled for “trash.” b. Ideally containers will be recessed into the interior walls of the building so as to not protrude into the hallway space. If that is not possible the containers shall be placed on the floor and secured to the building structure to meet fire code. c. The quantity and design for indoor waste stations in residential buildings will vary. Coordinate with Student Affairs during the initial design.