West Virginia University forged ahead with its commitment to sustainability by signing a partnership agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today (Sept. 21).
WVU is now one of eight companies and institutions in West Virginia that will draw assistance from the EPA as a member of the agency’s Sustainability Partnership Program.
“This opportunity that we discussed today to work with the EPA will take sustainability at WVU to the next level, and it will also enable the EPA to share our best practices with their other partners,” said WVU President James P. Clements.
“We are proud to join this partnership, and we look forward to working with the EPA staff. Through our united effort, WVU can become an even greener campus.”
Through the program, the EPA will offer technical assistance and resources as the University continues to plan and implement sustainable efforts that will conserve energy and improve the local environment.
Shawn M. Garvin, administrator for the EPA’s mid-Atlantic region, told guests at the event in WVU’s Stewart Hall that the EPA would assist WVU in its efforts and showcase the University’s success.
“As a partner, EPA will contribute technical support and tools to help you succeed, and we will hold your success up as a model for other organizations to follow,” Garvin said.
Garvin said he was pleased to work with such a “capable” partner as WVU, which has already begun a variety of sustainable initiatives.
“For EPA, signing a formal sustainability agreement with WVU offers us special satisfaction of partnering with a university which already has a long track record of sustainability,” Garvin said.
WVU is engaging in a variety of programs and initiatives that cut down on waste and conserve energy.
Clements highlighted a few ways in which the University is working toward sustainability:
• WVU is investing more than $98 million, and the efforts of 100 faculty members in energy-related research.
• The University’s performance contract is expected to invest $50 million in making campus buildings energy efficient by 2016. This is expected to make the University’s carbon emissions a third less than a typical university its size.
• WVU’s efforts in alternative transportation, including the Personal Rapid Transit system, and approximately $900,000 a year in contributions toward the Mountain Line bus service.
• WVU has an in-house recycling program that recycles paper, aluminum, #1 plastic and cardboard. The University sends items such as electronics, fluorescent bulbs, scrap metal and toner cartridges to a contractor for recycling.
• Residence halls take part in a sustainability competition called Ecolympics every year. In 2009, half of the halls reduced energy consumption by 10 percent, 10 of the halls reduced consumption by at least 20 percent.
• WVU and the community saved 60 tons of material from the landfill this year in the annual Blue and Gold Mine yard sale and sent thousands of dollars to charity.
• WVU’s dining halls donate excess food to area charities and send used cooking oil to a biodiesel processor. Four of the dining halls have gone trayless, which has cut down on waste.
• Brooks Hall has a variety of sustainable improvements, including a green roof, natural lighting through energy-efficient windows, and an optimal energy-efficient heating ventilation and air-conditioning system.
Greg Adolfson, sustainability officer for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, pointed to the work of the University’s sustainability committee and the Mountaineers Recycle program that encourages recycling at football games.
“By signing this sustainability partnership agreement today, West Virginia University is well on their way to preparing our young people for generations of sustainable living through its education, its fabric and its daily practices,” Adolfson said.
“WVU students, staff and faculty need to be commended,” he said. “You’re clearly excited about the ways that you can and are going green, and we’re proud of you for making this commitment to sustainability. You’re a leader among West Virginia’s higher education.”
Following the event, Garvin, Adolfson and other guests were given a tour of the 12,000-square-foot green roof on Brooks Hall, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building. As part of this University pilot program, dense plants on the roof form a covering that works to keep the building cool and lengthen the life of the roof.
For more information on the EPA’s Sustainability Partnership Program, visit http://www.epa.gov/reg3wcmd/spp/index.html
By Diana Mazzella
WVU University Relations-News
CONTACT: WVU University Relations-News