East Campus: Getting to Green

leaf.jpgThe University, its development team and East Campus Steering Committee meet Tuesday, September 4 at 7:30 pm in 0100 Marie Mount to discuss environmental issues for the project. (Committee contact info here.) The University has been a leader in this area and should continue by integrating its environmental objectives with this project’s goals. This should be straightforward as the University has already made environmental stewardship a key component of its Master Plan. President Mote also recently signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. Taken together, these set the stage for East Campus to demonstrate environmental and architectural innovation, creating a mixed use development with a carbon neutral footprint.

The East Campus Request for Proposal (RFP), however, is squishy at best on what measures might be employed: “The University’s Environmental Stewardship Guidelines which are incorporated into the Master Plan should be taken into consideration in the development of a concept, and if selected, a project.” Similarly, the objectives for the East Campus plan merely call upon the developer to “exhibit sensitivity to the environment.” While the development team included some green practices in its initial conceptual plan, Committee members have no solid information thus far. Hopefully, specifics will be forthcoming and posted in advance of the Sept. 4 meeting to allow the public and community representatives to provide informed comments. Make the jump for great resources

The stewardship guidelines and climate commitment should set the baseline for relevant materials, practices and performance criteria in the East Campus project plan. A good start would be for the University‘s Center on Integrative Environmental Research to include the project in its campus-wide green house gas inventory so that the plan’s potential impact is understood by the university and surrounding community and its overall carbon footprint can be reduced, if not eliminated. Comparing the current stewardship guidelines and climate commitment to the developer’s RFP response could determine what actions will ensure the University’s environmental record remains consistent and positive. The University should also review the best components of other bid responses and add the best and brightest ideas and innovations to the current committee dialogue. Looking at the growing collection of useful examples and successful solutions that abound across campuses and have also been popularized in recent Time and Newsweek would also be worthwhile.

The University should encourage and incorporate additional input and feedback from its student body. A Smart & Sustainable Campus will take place Sept. 5 as part of the campus Sustainability Speaker Series.

Important environmental issues are not easy to boil down to one meeting. It’s true that there is much that can and should be done to minimize the environmental impacts associated with the design, construction and use of the mixed use buildings comprising a destination development, including the impacts of future tenants. However, the long-term “green-ness” and overall sustainability of East Campus will also be determined by its transportation planning and management, i.e., how smart the University can grow. In its Developer Information Session, the University responded to questions about including the Purple Line in proposals with: “Include it, we want it to happen.” The University has currently slated Oct. 8 to discuss Transportation. Thus, getting-to-green may include not only LEED Platinum, Neighborhood and specific LEED Market Sector integrations, but also the color Purple and many other traffic mitigating measures to help keep the sky blue.–John Shoaff

Current University Commitments
Master Plan See the bottom of page 7, project planning and site selection, transportation and purchasing, along with the facilities management section on pp 10-11..
Presidents Climate Commitment 1.a), 2 a, b, d, e & g) are relevant, as is this.

Green Building Information
LEED Ratings: Construction & Market Sectors
Whole Building Design Guide
Green Globes & Green Building Initiative
EPA Green Building Page

Green University Information
NWF Campus Ecology Yearbook of Conservation Activities
EPA College & University Sectors Initiative Partners

Costs & Benefits of Building Green
The Cost of Green Revisited
Report on the Relationship between Public Health & the Built Environment
The benefits of green schools

Site & Relocations Discussion for 9/4/07
Information on the Metzerott Rd. landfill and asbestos-lead surveys

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Filed under East Campus, Environment, Public Input, Public Transit, Sustainability, Traffic, Transportation

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