KNOXVILLE — The College of Architecture and Design at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has committed to make its own building — as well as all its studio projects — more environmentally friendly. The college is one of only four design institutions in the nation to make such a commitment.
By a unanimous vote of the faculty, the college has adopted a plan to achieve a carbon-neutral design community and include the elimination or reduction of the need for fossil fuel as a central tenet in its design education.
This plan is part of the 2010 Imperative, a challenge issued to colleges of design across the U.S. to incorporate environmental principles by 2010.
The goal of the 2010 Imperative is to create young architects who realize that the less energy used in construction and operation of a building, the less greenhouse gases will be produced, and that such design not only slows environmental degradation but creates meaningful and beautiful architecture.
With input from UT Facilities Services, the college is studying ways to increase the energy efficiency of the Art and Architecture Building, in which it is housed, and reduce its carbon footprint. Simple strategies involving waterless plumbing fixtures and occupancy sensors for lights already are being implemented. Future plans include the purchase of carbon offsets and potential LEED Existing Building certification.
“We want our plan to be a prototype for change for the university and design schools across the country,” said John McRae, dean of the College of Architecture and Design. “While many institutions are working toward becoming more environmentally friendly campuses, we’re going a step further and teaching our students how to put these principles into practice.”
All courses from history to technology will consider the interface between energy, building and the environment. Perhaps more ambitious, the imperative requests that member institutions achieve a carbon-neutral design school campus by 2010.
The 2010 Imperative challenge was issued by Architecture 2030, a nonprofit whose mission is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by the building sector, with the goal that all new construction should be carbon-neutral by 2030.
Numerous national organizations are backing the 2010 Imperative, including the American Institute of Architects, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Green Building Council, American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers, and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture.
By adopting the 2010 Imperative, the College of Architecture and Design seeks to positively impact the threat of global climate change and resource depletion.
“These changes will put us at the forefront of environmental efforts nationwide,” McRae said.
The college’s action builds on a number of major environmental steps taken by UT Knoxville as part of the Make Orange Green effort. The campus was recently recognized for its work on climate change in a report by the National Wildlife Federation, and was also the first university in the U.S. certified by the Green Seal organization for green cleaning practices.
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