ACUPCC Reporting System

Implementation Profile for Virginia Commonwealth University

Submitted on August 27, 2008; last updated on May 13, 2014

Institution Information

Basic Carnegie Classification RU/H: Research Universities (high research activity)
Control Public
Location Richmond, VA
Community Setting Mid-size city
USDOE Climate Zone 4
Current President or Chancellor's Name Michael Rao
Current President or Chancellor's Title President
Main Website
Sustainability Website

Implementation Structure

Implementation Liaison's Name Erin Stanforth
Implementation Liaison's Title Director of Sustainability
Implementation Liaison's Department Office of Sustainability: Physical Plant Department
Format of Structure Committee
Number of Individuals in Structure 21+
Stakeholder Groups Represented Faculty, Students, Executive, Staff
Description VCU Sustainability Committee consists of the following positions:

Provost & Senior VP for Academic Affairs- co-chair;
COO & Senior VP for Finance & Administration - co-chair;
Degree Audit & Edit Administrator;
Vice-Provost of Community Engagement;
Director of Service-Learning Program;
Executive Director, VCU ASPiRE;
Associate Dean, Curriculum & Assessment, School of the Arts
VCU Faculty (9);
Associate Professor, Interior Design
Professor, Marketing,
Associate Professor, Teaching & Learning, School of Education
Associate Professor, Social Psychology
Assistant Professor, Urban Studies & Regional Planning (2)
Associate Professor, Homeland security/Emergency Preparedness
Assistant Professor, Focused Inquiry
Associate Professor, Chemical & Life Sciences Engineering
Assistant Director-Center for Environmental Studies;
Assistant VP for Research;
Executive Director of Health Sciences Resources & Planning- VCUHS;
Director of Recreational Sports;
Director of VCU Business Services;
Dining Sales & Services Manager;
Associate Vice-President of Facilities Management;
Executive Director of Physical Plant/Deputy for Facilities Management;
Assistant Director of Design Services;
Interior Design Project Manager;
University Planner;
Director of Support Shops & Special Projects;
Superintendent of Grounds;
Energy Manager;
Director of Sustainability;
Sustainability Coordinator;
Sustainability Reporting & Outreach Coordinator;
Sustainability Program Coordinator;
Director, Parking & Transportation;
Asst Manager, Parking & Transportation;
Alternative Transportation Coordinator;
Chief Human Resources Officer;
Director of Procurement & Payment;
Assistant Director of VCU Technology Services;
Associate University Librarian for Admid & Policy Development;
Office of Community Policing, VCU Police;
Associate Dean of Student Affairs/ Dean, Student Affairs MCV;
Assistant Director of Facilities/Conferences;
Asst Director & Nutrition Services Coordinator;
Senior Director, Marketing Communications;
Public Relations Specialist - Communications & Public Relations;
Associate University Librarian for Administration & Policy Development;
Manger, Contract Administration, Procurement Services;
Staff Senate;
VCU MPC students (3);

Tangible Actions

1. Establish a policy that all new campus construction will be built to at least the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Silver standard or equivalent.

Yes: Per Commonwealth of Virginia Executive Order 19: Conservation and Efficiency in the Operation of State Government all new or renovated buildings of more than 5,000 GSF shall conform to LEED Silver or Green Globes two-globe standards.

With 821,714 SF of LEED certified building space, Virginia Commonwealth University has one of the larger portfolios of LEED certified buildings in the Commonwealth of Virginia. VCU will continue its legacy of excellence in sustainable building construction on its campuses in the coming years. Over a three-year period, VCU has invested over $215 million and received LEED certification for ten buildings (821,714 SF) that have been constructed and/or renovated. Over the next three years, an additional five buildings (754,000 SF) that have been designed to a minimum of LEED Silver standards will be constructed and/or renovated for over $315 million. The 15 buildings represent an investment by VCU of over half-billion dollars and total just under 1.5 million SF spanning various building uses from classroom space to research labs to art exhibition space to gymnasiums and residence halls.
Currently, one-eighth of the total campus gross SF is comprised of LEED designed buildings. By 2015, one-sixth of the total campus gross SF will be comprised of LEED designed buildings.

VCU LEED Certified buildings (9):
The Walter L. Rice Educational Building was certified as the first LEED Platinum building in the Commonwealth of Virginia on March 27, 2009 (4,776 SF)
W. J. Baxter Perkinson, Jr. School of Dentistry Building – LEED Silver – 4-16-10 (55,439 SF)
Jonah L. Larrick Student Center – LEED Silver – 10-1-10 (33,210 SF)
Molecular Medicine Research Building – LEED Silver – 12-15-10 (122,660 SF)
Cary Street Recreation Center – LEED Gold – 1-5-11 (178,205 SF)
Institute for Engineering and Medicine – LEED Certified – 2-15-11 (24,728 SF)
Robert Blackwell Smith Building (Renovation) – LEED CI Silver – 6-27-11 (20,000 SF)
Grace and Henry Street Parking Deck - East - LEED Silver - June 2012 (142,390 SF)
Laurel Street Parking Deck - LEED Silver - Octiober 20912 (78,306 SF)
West Grace South Residence Hall - LEED Silver – May 2013 (162,000 SF)

Constructed but not certified (3):
School of Medicine – LEED Silver – (204,000 SF)
University Learning Center – LEED Silver – (102,000 SF)
West Grace North Residence Hall - LEED Silver – (148,000 SF)

In design (2)
James Branch Cabell Library Addition & Renovations - LEED Silver (2015) (162,000 SF)
VCU Inastitute for Contemporary Art - LEED Platinum (2015) (38,000 SF)

VCU ENERGY STAR building (2):
PPD Administration Building is first certified ENERGY STAR building on campus – 6-20-11
President's House is second certified ENERGY STAR building in 2012

VCU Facilities Management Division has completed VCU Facility Design Standards to be used by the architects and engineers that design new VCU facilities as well as renovations of existing VCU facilities. The Standards go beyond simply stating that LEED Silver is the required minimum design standard but gives examples of preferred VCU sustainable design solutions.

2. Adopt an energy-efficient appliance purchasing policy requiring purchase of ENERGY STAR certified products in all areas for which such ratings exist.

Yes: Per Commonwealth of Virginia Executive Order 19: Conservation and Efficiency in the Operation of State Government, Commonwealth agencies and institutions shall purchase or lease Energy Star rated appliances and equipment for all classifications for which an Energy Star designation is available.

All new copiers, faxes and other such office equipment purchased or leased by the Commonwealth that uses paper shall be recycled paper-compatible.

The Commonwealth shall purchase only recycled paper except where equipment limitations preclude the use of recycled paper.

3. Establish a policy of offsetting all greenhouse gas emissions generated by air travel paid for by our institution.

No: Recommended action in VCU Climate Action Plan (May 2010).

4. Encourage use of and provide access to public transportation for all faculty, staff, students and visitors at our institution.

Yes: VCU operates inter and intra-campus shuttles that are free to students, faculty and staff, hours have been expanded and frequencies increased to encourage use and minimize personal car travel between campuses.

VCU partners with the the local transit provider (Greater Richmond Transit Authority) to offer bus passes to students to encourage the use of public transportation - $100/semester.

VCU offers a pre-tax employee transit program with consideration of a fully-funded program in the near future.

Dining contractor acquired a 15-passenger van to provide transit services to employees working after the public transit program stopped service for the night.

Two VCU Mobility Hubs are intended to reduce traffic congestion, fuel consumption, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that result from commuting in single-occupancy vehicles by linking multiple mobility options at one intersection or “hub”. Each hub consists of:
VCU Mobility Hub information kiosk
GRTC Bus stop and/or VCU Campus Connector (Groome)
Public bicycle shelter (Arch model) with Hi Roller bike rack
Bike air compressor with Presta and Schrader valves
Zipcars (2)
VCU CarPool Program
Preferred parking for low-emitting & fuel-efficient vehicles
L2 electric vehicle (EV) charging station (2)
PV solar panel arrays on upper level of parking deck

VCU RamBikes program

5. Within one year of signing this document, begin purchasing or producing at least 15% of our institution's electricity consumption from renewable sources.

No: VCU has had discussions with local power provider (Virginia Dominion Power) and the purchase of renewable sources of electricity (for example wind generated electrical power) is not currently available.

VCU Renewable Energy Projects:

VCU Rice Center Boathouse – 36 PV Panel Array – provides 20% of energy use.

Ginter House – Solar Thermal domestic hot water (50 Gal) – 2 PV Array - output: 8,469 kBtu - energy savings: 304.2 Therms – GHG reduction: 0.9 MTCDE.

VCU Central Steam Plant – 30 PV Panel Array (smoke stack) – output:6.6 kW – energy savings 4,884 kW - GHG reduction: 3.54 MTCDE.

“N” Deck parking garage - 710 PV Panel Array - output: 163.3 kW DC - energy savings: 184,000 kWh - GHG reduction: 100 MTCDE.

West Broad Street Deck parking garage - 780 PV Panel Array - output: 179.4 kW DC - energy savings:200,000 kWh - GHG reduction: 115 MTCDE.

Three pole-mounted dual-axis tracking PV systems - output: 3.6 kW DC each - energy savings: 24,000 kWh - GHG reduction: 15 MTCDE.

Shafer Court Dining Center - Solar Thermal domestic hot water (750 gal) - energy savings: 20,978 Therms - GHG reduction: 111 MTCDE.

Geothermal heating/cooling (36 wells)l at VCU Rice Center.

Demonstration wind turbine on Pollak Building.

6. Establish a policy or a committee that supports climate and sustainability shareholder proposals at companies where our institution's endowment is invested.

No: It has been recommended to appropriate university departments managing endowments to have discussions with other universities, colleges and investment firms on their policies.

7. Participate in the Waste Minimization component of the national RecycleMania competition, and adopt 3 or more associated measures to reduce waste.

Yes: VCU has participated in RecycleMania since 2008.

VCU Recycling currently recycles 30% of the VCU waste stream (approx. 1,000 tons annually). New processes and techniques are being employed to increase the rate to 35%, such as using VCU custodial staff to remove office materials, cans, bottles, etc. to points outside the building to be picked up by VWS.

VCU has placed outdoor recycling stations (40+) in high traffic areas on campus beginning in August 2008.

VCU purchased a 24 solar trash compactors (Big Belly) for a high traffic area on campus since August 2008. A photovoltaic solar powered trash compactor has been installed at the VCU Siegel Center in the fall of 2008.

VCU purchased two electric trucks to be used by the VCU Grounds Department to pick up trash and recycling containers.

In FY2007 VCU entered into a third-party contract for secure document destruction to securely divert sensitive and confidential paper material from the VCU waste stream.

Construction & Demolition (C&D) debris recycling

Water Cooler/Bottle Filling Stations (41) – 2 million+ bottle refills in first year

Student Move-In and Move-Out Reuse/Recycle Program

Recycling Center at 500 Academic Centre (Broad St & Ryland Ave)

VCU has operated a campus surplus propertyl program/department for over two decades.

Market 810 in Shafer Court Dining Center is a VA Green Restaurant serving 30,000 meals weekly.

Fryer oil refined to bio-diesel fuel (RECO contract)

“Tray-less dining” was initiated during the summer 2008.

Purchases recycled content paper towels and toilet tissue; disposable dishware (biodegradable/compostable); reusable mug and reusable dishware; reusable to-go containers.

Biodegradable disposables are utilized for outdoor dining events.