Preston Jacobsen, Sustainability manager at UT, says the University of Tennessee is continuing to become closer to reaching sustainability goals. The University of Tennessee has recently made it onto two prestigious lists for sustainability.
The Princeton Review considers 2,200 universities, and Tennessee has made it on the list of the 350 Green Schools. The Sierra Club has also moved Tennessee up from 96 to 80 on its list of “Cool Schools” For Energy Sustainability.
The university has a goal of gaining “carbon neutrality” by 2061 by cutting dependence on carbon-producing energy and balancing the amount of carbon released with an equivalent carbon credit.
“Here we are 2017 and we are 48 percent from the baseline to date. We are well ahead of our curve,” Jacobsen said.
This goal is being met through several energy efforts, including solar panels on the eleventh street parking garage. The energy from these panels is used to power electric and hybrid vehicle refueling stations, and the rest goes into the campus energy grid. These and other solar projects are generating 70,000 kilowatt hours of energy on campus per year.
Other initiatives on campus include using geothermal heating and cooling in sorority village, implementing rain gardens and bio swells along Cumberland Avenue, using recycled rainwater from rooftops for washers in dorms, and being among the top five university football stadiums for waste recycling. The list goes and will continue to grow as the University of Tennessee continues to push for sustainable initiatives.
“We are very strategic in what we do,” says Jacobsen. “We don’t throw projects out and take them back. We can cut through issues by using numbers to show that we are able to save the campus dollars, that we are able to make it environmentally sustainable and that we can make it a better place to learn, live and work.”