Archive for the 'Building & Development' Category

Winter session course: Rating Sustainability

Rating Sustainability

ARCH 4395/5395

Winter session, Dec. 20 – January 12

Monday – Friday, 8:30-11:50

The course will present an overview of various national and international systems used to rate and guide environmentally conscious building and living systems.  Discussions concerning rating systems from various countries will include history, methodology, regulatory agency, acceptance, and perceived success. There will be in depth discussions of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system developed by the United States Green Building Coalition.  In addition, the course will discuss specific examples of projects and organizational techniques utilized to guide the building process within the context of individual cultures and political systems.

For more information, please contact Prof. Kurt Ortley.

Update on carbon footprint reduction

Yesterday I updated the PSC Steering Committee on the carbon footprint reduction initiative. The committee requested that Sustainability Director Meghna Tare prepare a proposal on how to formally get footprint reduction planning underway.


Special Events Center is expected to meet LEED Silver standard

The university has announced that the design for the $78 million Special Events Center is expected to qualify for a “silver” rating from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. It incorporates numerous features to conserve energy and water, use native plants, and minimize waste. The building, to be completed in 2012, is expected to be the campus’ second LEED Silver building, following completion of the Engineering Research Building in 2011.

Star-Telegram story, Nov. 15

Press release, Nov. 12

North Central Texas Campus Climate Summit

On October 28th UTA hosted the North Central Texas Campus Climate Summit. The event was co-sponsored by the University of Texas at Arlington, the National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology Program and the Texas Regional Alliance for Campus Sustainability. The student groups involved with bringing this event to campus were:

Air & Waste Management Association at UTA

Environmental Society at UTA

International Business Society at UTA

Student Planning Association at UTA

UTA Volunteers

The first-ever North Central Texas Campus Climate Summit brought together over 50 participants from 15 different universities and colleges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The summit provided opportunities for faculty, students, staff and administrators from the region to get together to share ideas, best practices and resources to accelerate climate change and sustainability solutions. The main themes explored were 1) Transforming the Curriculum to Address Eco-literacy 2) Green Workforce Development and 3) Comprehensive Greening of Campus Operations.

NCTCCS Website

Program and Agenda

Mission Statement

Presentation Files

Workshop Descriptions

Sponsors and Organizers

AASHE overview for 2008

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, of which UT Arlington is a member, has issued its annual compendium of developments in campus sustainability. The 356-page volume provides an overview of sustainability efforts on hundreds of campuses, including UT Arlington.

AASHE Digest 2008 (pdf)

UT Austin carbon footprint project

UT Austin hired a contractor to perform the university’s first carbon footprint analysis. The results were published this spring.


Update on carbon footprint reduction planning

At the December 2008 meeting, the PSC voted to develop a carbon footprint reduction plan by the end of June 2009.  Early in the spring semester, as the first step of this process,  several of the PSC work groups (along with Environmental Health & Safety) formally responded to the 2008 carbon footprint report.

Building & Development

Energy & Water

Environmental Health & Safety

Landscaping & Habitat (6/22/09)

Transportation (6/23/09)

Waste Reduction

As I noted at the May 12 meeting, however, the planning process is behind schedule because hiring of the Sustainability Director has taken longer than expected. The work group responses will be assessed during the upcoming carbon footprint reduction planning course that begins June 3. Recommendations developed during the course will be made available to the PSC and Sustainability Director in August, with the expectation that a revised timeline for the reduction planning process can be presented at the PSC’s August 11 meeting.

Comments on the work group statements are welcome and will be taken into account during the summer analysis.

Student groups work together for Sustainability Awareness Campaign

The Environmental Society and The Student Planning Association get together to raise awareness on issues of sustainability at UT Arlington, in the context of sustainable land usage decisions (for parking lots)
Wednesday, April 29th 2009, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., UTA University Center.

Last Friday, April 24th, the Environmental Society hosted an open forum to discuss the parking lots as a campus sustainability issue, particularly about the proposed Parking Lot 54. The forum was part of a growing effort to develop conscientious discussion on the many problems associated with parking lots on campus. It invited ideas and comments from the university community and the general public.

During the event on Friday, it became obvious that there was considerable interest in continuing the conversation about sustainable options to solve parking problems other than laying down more parking lots afresh. However, as it stands, construction on this lot is slated to commence in Fall 2009. In an effort to raise awareness and urge UT Arlington to think about sustainable ideas further, members of the Environmental Society and the Student Planning Association will host an awareness campaign in the University Center this Wednesday, April 29th from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

At this event, members of both groups will speak to the campus community about the proposed lot and other sustainable ideas (as alternatives to the lot), and will encourage students, faculty and staff to take action on this issue. Additionally, there will be petitions available at the table for members of the campus community to sign. If you are interested in signing the petition and will be unable to stop by the table on Wednesday, or you would like to help out with the table please contact Brooke Kapur at

For more information on the parking lot issue, use following links:

Lively discussion on campus parking and its environmental impacts

On Friday (April 24) the Environmental Society sponsored a forum on the environmental context of planned changes in campus parking. The event was prompted by the administration’s recent announcement that it plans to turn a tree-covered parcel on the southeast corner of campus into a small parking lot, designated Lot 54. About 20 people attended.

  •  * Vinodh Valluri, graduate student in Environmental & Earth Science and the organizer of the discussion, displayed photos of the parcel and the surrounding lots and questioned the need for more parking.
  • * John Hall, vice president for administration and campus operations, provided extensive background on plans to build the Special Events Center and two large parking garages on land now occupied by surface parking lots. He noted that the campus master plan calls for converting some lots to greenspace in the long term and that the university currently has excess parking capacity. But he argued that while the garages are under construction, additional surface parking will be necessary and development of Lot 54 is under consideration. He presented plans for preserving some of the parcel’s trees  and using permeable paving to allow rainwater to penetrate the soil.
  • * David Hopman, assistant professor of landscape architecture, discussed other options for greening Lot 54.
  • * John Darling, president of Arlington Conservation Council (also the university’s compost specialist and a resident of the neighborhood near Lot 54), called attention to the parcel’s value as habitat and expressed concern about the university’s continued conversion of undeveloped land to parking lots and buildings.

Valluri presentation

Hall presentation

Hall table

Hopman presentation

Campus master plan

Shorthorn story, April 27

Shorthorn story, April 22

Valluri posting on opinion poll,  April 4

Howard posting on controversy, March 20

Summer course — Carbon footprint reduction planning

 Project Planning:

Campus Carbon Footprint Reduction

CIRP 5332 (course no. 51241)

Summer 2009

Wednesdays, 6:00-9:50 p.m., June 3 – August 13

Instructor: Dr. Jeff Howard, School of Urban & Public Affairs,

This graduate course will be devoted to assisting the University of Texas at Arlington with planning reductions in its “carbon footprint” – that is, reductions in its direct and indirect emissions of greenhouse gases responsible for climate change. During a parallel course in summer 2008, students and the instructor developed a report on the university’s carbon footprint, which now serves as the starting point for the President’s Sustainability Committee’s effort to plan effective means to reduce the footprint.

In collaboration with the instructor, students will examine preliminary recommendations included in the 2008 report, assess these in light of initial responses from the sustainability committee, and use tools such as the guide produced by the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education to develop further analysis and recommendations for formal presentation to the committee and the campus community.

Because climate change is increasingly prominent in public policy nationally and internationally, the course will provide students an opportunity to develop a skill set, conceptual base, and practical experience that can be applied in municipalities and institutions across the world. It also provides concrete assistance to a large university devoted to making improvements in its environmental impacts.

The course is expected to be of particular interest to students in Urban & Public Affairs, Environmental & Earth Science, Environmental Engineering, Architecture, and Business but is open to graduate students from across the campus (and conceivably to senior undergrads). Students interested in taking the course are invited to contact the instructor.