Green Innovations: Working to Extend Resources, Develop New Ones
More than 21,000 students. 3.6 million square feet of classrooms, labs and living spaces. 4,600 employees. We're proud to be growing! Except in one way: the size of our waste production and water and energy consumption. Even as UT Dallas' positive impact in North Texas expands, we're committed to keeping our environmental footprint as small and as light as possible.
As a result, UT Dallas has been named for the second consecutive year one of the greenest universities in The Princeton Review's Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2013 Edition. UTD was lauded for creating a more environmentally friendly campus, for recycling and composting, and for its green construction projects, efforts significantly aided by Sustainability Manager Thea Junt. To that list, we could also add our efforts in energy-focused research.
Since 2010, we have added four "green" buildings on campus. Our Student Services Building was the first LEED Platinum designated structure in Texas higher education, earning the highest recognition possible in sustainable construction. Its solar panels fuel hot water supplies. Storm-water collectors provide water for landscaping and toilets. Recycled and sustainable construction material, low-flow lavatory fixtures, purchased green power for building operation, and innovative construction that maximizes daylight are also part of the package.
The Edith O'Donnell Arts and Technology Building is LEED Silver, and the Naveen Jindal School of Management addition and the just-completed University Commons Residence Hall IV are LEED certified.
Recycling is key as well. Bins throughout campus collect paper, cardboard, aluminum, plastic, wood pallets, batteries, light bulbs and tires. The University composts 100 percent of its usable landscape waste and food scraps from the dining hall. We have our own greenhouse and grow most campus floral color from seeds. And we're also taking extra precautions to protect our landscape and conserve water by employing more drought-tolerant species, giving parts of the campus a native look that is both handsome and environmentally responsible.
We also provide transportation options that include Zipcar service, campus buses, electric car-charging stations and bike repair stations. Our new parking garage has an electronic monitoring system to inform drivers about the availability of parking spaces so they won't waste time or fuel searching for a spot.
Perhaps most importantly, sustainability is part of our teaching and research. Materials science and engineering researchers recently received a national grant to focus on lowering the cost of solar power. Dr. Kaushik Rajashekara, an expert in power electronics and renewable energy systems, recently joined us to direct the Center for Advanced Energy Systems. Students in our Renewable Energy and Vehicular Technology Lab are working on carbon-free energy solutions. Any UT Dallas student can gain a better understanding of sustainability through our new environmental studies minor. We also recognize the need to find new hydrocarbon resources and develop them safely, and are educating students to meet this technology challenge as well.
UT Dallas is committed to sustaining our community's shared resources. We are intentional about being innovative and efficient, and when we work together, UT Dallas students, faculty and staff find it's easy to be green.
About This Newsletter
The President's Viewpoint is a periodic newsletter distributed to a select group of alumni, friends, faculty and staff. It comes from the desk of Dr. David E. Daniel, president of The University of Texas at Dallas, and provides the ultimate insider’s view on the news and concerns of the University.