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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 61.37
Liaison Preston Jacobsen
Submission Date April 3, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Tennessee at Knoxville
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.75 / 4.00 Preston Jacobsen
Sustainability Manager
Facilities Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a published strategic plan or equivalent guiding document that includes sustainability at a high level? :
No

A brief description of how the institution’s strategic plan or equivalent guiding document addresses sustainability:
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A copy of the strategic plan:
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The website URL where the strategic plan is publicly available:
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Does the institution have a published sustainability plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
Yes

A copy of the sustainability plan:
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The website URL where the sustainability plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a published climate action plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
Yes

A copy of the climate action plan:
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The website URL where the climate action plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have other published plans that address sustainability or include measurable sustainability objectives (e.g. campus master plan, physical campus plan, diversity plan, human resources plan)? :
Yes

A list of other published plans that address sustainability, including public website URLs (if available):
Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Though the sustainability plans incorporate components of Education and Outreach, there are no measurable, time-bound goals at this time. The Climate Action Plan is currently being updated, and the newer version expected to be published later in 2017 will include measurable goals.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Research?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Research and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Climate Action Plan commits UT to take a leadership role in mitigating human influences on climate in their day-to-day operations, curriculum and research. Future updates to the Climate Action Plan will include measurable, time-bound goals.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The University of Tennessee's Environmental Policy states that the faculty, staff, administration, and students will strive to increase awareness of environmental problems and will promote sound environmental practices. The Environmental Progress Report includes a measurable sustainability objective recommended to be reached in the five years from publication date of June 2016. To increase student involvement with sustainability objectives on campus, the EPR aims to "Increase non-voting student participation among Green Fee Committee."


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The University of Tennessee's Environmental Policy states that the university will ensure full compliance with existing environmental laws and regulations and will seek to lead the community in developing beneficial laws and regulations. The Environmental Progress Report includes a measurable sustainability objective recommended to be reached in the five years from publication date of June 2016. To increase public engagement and awareness of sustainability work on campus, the EPR states a goal to "Include Environmental Leadership Awards into the Chancellor's Annual Award Ceremony."


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The University signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in 2007 and in 2010 followed this commitment up with a formal Climate Action Plan. In this plan, UT pledges to reduce its carbon emissions with a 5 step plan, eventually leading to climate neutrality. The Climate Action Plan commits the university to reducing/offsetting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 20% below fiscal year 2007-08 levels by 2020-21, 40% by 2030-31, 60% by 2040-41, 80% by 2050-51 and to achieve climate neutrality by 2060-61.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Environmental Progress Report includes sustainability objectives recommended to be reached in the five years from publication date of June 2016. One such objective is to "Implement [the] Green Office Program campus-wide." ;;;;;;;;Additionally, University of Tennessee Knoxville buildings abide by the Sustainable Design Guidelines and the Tennessee High Performance Building Requirements (Manual). Though not necessarily measurable or time-bound, "the HPBr categories include groups of credits with the performance and sustainability criteria for state projects. The HPBr was developed based on the existing framework of the State of Tennessee Sustainable Design Guidelines (SDG), which borrowed structure and content from the LEED Rating System." These categories include Land Management, Water Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Innovation in Design and Construction. The HPBr is to be used as a mandatory design, construction, and operations tool for all SBC projects including: new construction, additions, and renovation/maintenance.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Environmental Progress Report contains a list of the top ten recommendations that the Committee on Campus Environment will continue to bring attention to and strive for over the next five years (five years from publication date of June 2016). Measurable energy initiatives include: "Utilize thermal and/or battery storage systems to transfer electricity use away from peak periods", "Create an interactive Energy Dashboard within buildings across campus", and "Sign onto a Power Purchase Agreement for renewable energy". Other recommendations in this document following the same time frame goal include: "Expand Energy Policy beyond temperature settings to include suggested actions during campus breaks such as turn off/unplug power strips, computer power down, lights. etc." The UT Climate Action Plan includes several plans to reduce energy consumption and increase energy efficiency in on campus buildings. The objectives of the Climate Action Plan include replacing transformers in 4 campus buildings to reduce total campus electricity use by 248,219 kWh per year, upgrade lighting in multiple buildings to save 11,999,908 kWh per year, and to design new buildings to use 20% less electricity per SF than existing buildings, among other plans.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Environmental Progress Report recommends the following sustainability objectives to be met by June 2021: "Collect, analyze and publish dining expenditure and operation impact annually", "Develop a Food Policy that promotes local, organic, vegan, and Fair Trade goods", Perform annual outreach campaigns to promote current sustainable food options", "Develop a Sustainable Food Policy task force every three years to assess and identify opportunities", "Create position for Sustainable Dining Coordinator housed in the Office of Sustainability" and "Meet 100% of STARS criteria for Dining."


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Campus Landscape Vision and Site Standards lays out the goals for grounds development at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. One of the five main principles of the plan is sustainability, outlining a dedication to augment the integrity and performance of the campus landscape by employing sustainable practice. Focuses in this category include implementing sustainable landscape principles and practices, supporting sustainable practices for construction and maintenance, and encouraging and supporting sustainable practices by the UTK community and showcasing sustainable elements as they are incorporated into the campus.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Environmental Progress Report contains a list of the top ten recommendations that the Committee on Campus Environment will continue to bring attention to and strive for over the next five years (five years from publication date of June 2016). Number 8 states: "Create a task force on green purchasing that would study current purchasing practices, compare them with the best practices and make recommendations."


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Environmental Progress Report contains a list of the top ten recommendations that the Committee on Campus Environment will continue to bring attention to and strive for over the next five years (five years from publication date of June 2016). Measurable sustainability transportation objectives include: "Develop an alternative transportation task force to identify potential green transportation initiatives and a pathway to fund these initiatives" as well as "Fund a greenway reroute project to connect greenway from main campus below Neyland Stadium, to Neyland greenway upstream of G10 parking garage. Other recommendations in this document following the same time frame goal include "Implement 'green' technology into parking garages (e.g. solar panels on garage, LED lights, EV Charging, Smart Parking Tech)", "Implement fuel saving measures and progams to reduce average overall fuel consumption for 2016 and 2021 levels", "Evaluate campus vehicles to assess percent of alternative fuel vehicles to expand their use," and "Every two years assess bicycle infrastructure access, awareness, and possible opportunities for expansion."


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Environmental Progress Report contains a list of the top ten recommendations that the Committee on Campus Environment will continue to bring attention to and strive for over the next five years (five years from publication date of June 2016). Measurable tasks include: "Develop a Zero Waste Policy for all campus operations, including but not limited to Athletics, Dining, Student Organizations, and Community Vendor-Sponsored and Supported Events" and "Implement a campus-wide ban on Styrofoam products including but not limited to Athletics, Dining, Student Organizations, and Community Vendor-Sponsored and Supoorted Events." Other recommendations in this document following the same time frame goal include "Achieve an increase in diverstion rate year after year to meet Zero Waste goal."


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Water?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Water and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Landscape Site Standards Plan lays out strategies to improve water use and quality around campus. Goals include minimizing pavement to increase opportunity for groundwater recharge, utilizing pervious pavements to minimize non-point source pollution to local waterways, and employing best management practices for stormwater management, including stormwater harvesting to reduce demands on water systems for irrigation.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Human Resources Strategic Plan includes a sustainability objective of developing a recruitment strategy and branding program. "Steps will include: brainstorm with stakeholders the attributes of effective recruiting; develop brand with public relations and marketing team; enhance recruiting at high schools, community colleges and professional organizations across the state (with a focus on needed competencies and diversity); determine positions that need recruitment support initially (based on time-to-fill, inability to find specific competencies and lack of diversity – tailor program to HR staff resource availability) and develop annual recruitment plan for positions selected for support. Consider creation of statewide diversity recruiter. This is a 2017-18 initiative.”


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Human Resources Strategic Plan's purpose is "to provide a clear picture of UT’s workforce profile and to compare the results against future needs – ultimately providing recommendations and strategies for recruitment, employee development and retention. HR’s priorities are clustered in five categories: compensation, HR technology plan and metrics, performance management and professional development, recruitment, and workforce strategic plan and work culture enhancement." Measurable sustainability objectives include:

-Increase Minimum Rate of Pay for Regular Employees- “In 2016, we are planning for all entities to move the rate to $10/hour.”

-Develop Model for Career Development Institute - “Purpose of institute is to improve internal development and promotional opportunities for UT high performers. Job families targeted should align with organizational needs – areas where we are having difficulty finding required competencies or identifying diverse candidate pools. It will be important to align programs with opportunities – so successful program participants have an opportunity for advancement. Steps to include: benchmark other programs for best practice ideas and create statewide committee to develop this concept. This is a 2017-18 initiative.”

-Department Head Training- “Purpose is to provide leaders with knowledge and tools to perform effectively from university-wide academic policy and philosophy perspective; to increase consistency in knowledge and practices among unit and campuses; to improve communication and relationships among administrators, faculty and staff; to enhance faculty productivity to meet potential; to support academic heads in the appropriate allocation of resources and to reduce procedural errors, complaints, appeals and litigation. In late 2015, focus groups were held with department heads statewide. The feedback is being utilized the complete the training curriculum. This is a 2016-17 initiative.”

-2017 Employee Engagement Survey- “Begin preparation for the 2017 statewide Employee Engagement Survey. Steps include: changes to instrument, calendar set for implementation, preparing President and Chancellors, presurvey campus/institute meetings, administration of survey, results review, results meetings with campuses/institutes and launch of work culture improvement teams to address concerns and improve survey feedback. This is a 2017-18 initiative.”


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas (e.g. arts and culture or technology)?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body (e.g. a mission statement that specifically includes sustainability and is endorsed by the Board of Trustees)? :
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The formal statement in support of sustainability:
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The institution’s definition of sustainability (e.g. as included in a published statement or plan):
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Is the institution an endorser or signatory of the following? :
Yes or No
The Earth Charter ---
The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) ---
ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter ---
Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment (formerly known as the ACUPCC), Resilience Commitment, and/or integrated Climate Commitment ---
The Talloires Declaration (TD) ---
UN Global Compact ---
Other multi-dimensional sustainability commitments (please specify below) ---

A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above:
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.