Please describe your institution's greenhouse gas mitigation strategies.
VCU will utilize a portfolio of expected strategies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions including:
1. Demand Side Management (Infrastructure) related to electrical and mechanical processes including building envelope, lighting, heating and cooling, building automation and the maintenance of LEED Silver as the baseline standard for all new construction.
2. Demand Side Management (Behavior) related to energy, water, and materials conservation by faculty, staff and students including, waste, recycling, foodservices, transportation and parking.
3. Supply Side Management (Renewable Energy) including biomass boilers, parking deck rooftop solar photovoltaic systems and residence hall rooftop solar thermal systems for heating water.
4. Offsets including on-campus carbon sequestration (tree planting, wetlands conservation and vegetated roofs) and the purchase of renewable energy certificates (Dominion Virginia Power Green Power) and carbon offsets (university air travel).
Please describe your institution's plans to make sustainability a part of the
curriculum for all students.
VCU will immediately begin to develop a plan for implementing sustainability academics across the institution. This process, facilitated by VCU Life Sciences and guided by a leadership group that is representative of all major units of the University, will begin with the convening of a "sustainability curriculum" working group open to all faculty interested in sustainability academics. This group will incubate ideas on promoting sustainability as a cross-disciplinary, systems-based part of the educational program of the University. It would be expected that a variety of course offerings, graduate and undergraduate certificates and eventually stand-alone programs would emerge from this process.
VCU offers courses covering sustainability-related topics such as:
the interdependence of humans and the environment;
how to assess the effects of human population dynamics on humans and on the biosphere;
energy extraction, production and use;
human activities such as agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, building and recreation;
the relationship of population, consumption, culture, social equity and the environment;
how to apply the principles of sustainable development in the context of their professional activities;
technical, design, scientific and institutional strategies and techniques that foster sustainable development, promote energy and natural resource efficiency and conservation, prevent and control the generation of pollution and waste, remediate environmental problems, and preserve biological diversity;
social, cultural, legal and governmental frameworks for guiding environmental management and sustainable development;
strategies to motivate environmentally just and sustainable behavior by individuals and institutions.
Please describe your institution's plans to expand research efforts toward the
achievement of climate neutrality.
The VCU "sustainability curriculum" working group will also act as a means to facilitate cooperative teaching and research on sustainability issues across the disciplines. The working group will also have a goal of promoting cooperative research with VCU international partner institutions aimed at reducing carbon emissions, as a part of the Climate Action Plans goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.
Opportunities for stimulating sustainability-related research include:
Encourage sustainability to be built into new and existing research programs;
Encourage a jump-start of sustainability-related research with dedicated multi-year seed funding;
Work with international VCU partners, many of whom are already engaged in sustainability-related research and education.
Please describe your institution's plans to expand community outreach efforts toward the
achievement of climate neutrality.
VCU aims to ensure that all stakeholders (students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, and others) have the opportunity to contribute towards the improvement of VCUs sustainability performance. This includes establishment of sustainability objectives (including those already in existence as part of VCU Goes Green and other programs, as well as those in this Climate Action Plan); attainment of these objectives (both one-time and continual); and communication of these objectives to internal and external stakeholders. These goals can be divided into two parts: (a) internal training for establishment and attainment of objectives; and (b) communication of motivations, actions, progress, and implications to internal and external stakeholders.