KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has been recognized as one of the most environmentally responsible college campuses in North America by the Princeton Review. The education services company selected UT Knoxville for inclusion in the second annual edition of its guidebook, The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges: 2011 Edition, released April 20.
UT Knoxville is one of five campuses recognized in Tennessee. Also included on the list is the UT Martin campus.
Highlights of UT Knoxville’s inclusion in the list are the campus’ Make Orange Green program, the sustainable building policy, and the Student Environmental Initiatives Fee. Make Orange Green has been recognized as one of the top campus sustainability programs in the nation. The program coordinates environmental activities across all areas of campus, including the establishment of a broad energy conservation policy, recycling programs, and other efforts.
The campus’ sustainable building policy was established in 2007 to make Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system the standard for new construction and renovation projects exceeding $5 million. LEED-certified projects are rated based on their use of environmentally friendly building practices. Ayres Hall reopened in January after a two-year renovation and is expected to be the first building on campus to receive LEED certification. The Min Kao Electrical and Computer Engineering Facility and the new Student Health Center, both currently under construction, also will be considered for the designation.
UT Knoxville students voted in 2005 to create the Student Environmental Initiatives Fee to fund environmental stewardship programs such as energy efficiency upgrades to campus buildings and the purchase of green power. The fee funded the purchase of five thousand blocks of green power for the university, a purchase that was equivalent to removing 764 cars from the road for a year. Other student efforts include an annual light bulb exchange and environmental competition in the residence halls.
In January, Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek issued a challenge to the UT Knoxville community to reduce energy consumption on campus by 10 percent over twelve months through changes in individuals’ daily actions. The Chancellor’s Challenge is part of the Switch Your Thinking campaign which encourages energy conservation through behavior change. Students are asked to be mindful of energy use while in residence halls, and faculty and staff are asked to shut down computers and turn off lights in offices and classrooms while not in use, as well as to look for other opportunities for saving electricity.
Developed by The Princeton Review in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the Guide to 311 Green Colleges is the only free, comprehensive guidebook focused solely on institutions of higher education that have demonstrated an above-average commitment to sustainability in terms of campus infrastructure, activities and initiatives. UT Knoxville also was included in the inaugural edition of the guidebook in 2010.
The complete guidebook may be downloaded at http://www.centerforgreenschools.org/greenguide.