As Earth Day is approaching (April 22, 2011) and the members of UW's Campus Sustainability Committee say much progress has been made to achieve the university's sustainability goals.  UW always has emphasized energy efficiency when planning and building new capital construction projects. Such emphasis advanced to a new level in 2007 when UW President Tom Buchanan signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), committing UW to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Before signing on to the ACUPCC,  energy conservation measures such as increased day lighting and advanced controls systems were incorporated into the design of such facilities as a major expansion to Coe Library, the Health Sciences Center and Indoor Practice Facility.

As spelled out in the plan, the university now seeks LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver status for all new buildings, says Roger Baalman, director of Facilities Planning. LEED, the recognized standard for measuring building sustainability, provides a rating system with four certification levels for new construction: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

The Physical Plant and Facilities Planning have increased energy efficiency across campus by installing new and more efficient windows, heat recovery systems, control valves, motors and lighting in many campus buildings, Baalman adds. Other energy conservation measures are more efficient ventilation and heating systems, and automated systems to manage building system operations, insulation improvements, low-flow plumbing fixtures and other improvements.

Cheers! to the University of Wyoming to take the lead on sustainability.