LEED-ing the way?

LEED-ing the way?

Despite the fact that TCU has
invested millions in environmentally
friendly buildings, the
university is still receiving below
mediocre marks from the College
Sustainability Report Card.

The overall grade of a C- is
based on an average score from
various aspects of a sustainable
university, such as administrative
policies, energy consumption,
food and recycling, green
building, student involvement
and transportation as well as investment
priorities and endowment
TCU’s only A is in investment
priorities, thanks to the university’s
holdings in renewable energy
The report does recognize Adduco
Viridis, the student environmental
club, but despite the
purple bike efforts and the recycling
bins around campus, overall
student involvement received
a grade of a D.
This year’s overall average is the
same as in 2009, but there have
been changes in the individual
TCU dropped from a C to a D
in the climate change and energy
category, and from a B to
a C in transportation, but rose
from a D to a C in food and recycling.
In both 2009 and 2010, the
university received an F in the
endowment transparency category.
Chancellor Victor Boschini said
he didn’t think the report card
score was adequately representative
of the school’s efforts to
become more sustainable.
“The survey marks us down for
not making our endowment
holdings public, which the College
Sustainability Report Card
says is a way to make the university
more sustainable,” Boschini
said. “We aren’t currently doing
that and probably won’t do it in
the future.”
In comparison to the overall
grades of other Mountain West
schools, the University of Utah
and the University of New Mexico
both received B’s, the University
of Wyoming was given
a B-, and both Colorado State
University and the University of
Nevada-Las Vegas were given a
C+. Brigham Young University,
the only school in the Mountain
West to score lower than TCU,
received a D-.
Boschini said he’s more interested
in doing what is best for
the campus community than
worrying about the results of
the report card.
“We never do anything to specifically
meet those ratings,”
Boschini said. “We’ll look at the
most recent one and then we’ll,
of course, be aware of what
it says. Then we’ll respond to
whatever we think is important.
But I’m bigger on doing what’s
right for our students.”
And the university has in recent
years become increasingly more
committed to lessening the environmental
impact. Scharbauer
Hall opened in January as the
first newly constructed building
on campus to be certified
in Leadership in Energy
and Environmental
Design. Only one other
building on campus has
earned such recognition.
Sherley Hall was awarded
an LEED Gold certification
after its
renovation in
Boschini said the
has made a commitment
that all
new buildings will
be built to LEED
Zaida Basora, chief
building official for the
city of Dallas and vice
chair for the U.S.
Green Building
Council North
Texas chapter, said
eligibility for LEED certification
is based on considerations
of five issues: sustainability of
the site, water efficiency, energy
and atmosphere, materials and
resources, and indoor environmental
To qualify for certification,
a building must receive at least
40 points on a 100-point scale.
Silver certification is awarded to
buildings with 50 points and
gold certification requires 60
points. The highest LEED certification,
platinum is reserved
for the most sustainable buildings,
ones who are awarded
more than 60 points.
The approval process begins
when an institution or business
submits the building specifi-

cations online, Basora said. A
committee studies the information
and will request additional
information if necessary.
Provost Nowell Donovan, vice
chancellor for academic affairs,
said constructing LEED certified
buildings is slightly more
expensive in the upfront costs,
but in the long run, the university
ultimately saves money on
energy costs.
Keith Whitworth, instructor
of sociology and founder of
the Purple Bike Program created
last year’s theme “Think
Purple, Live Green.” In order to
jumpstart a movement toward a
greener TCU, an online environmental
pledge was presented
to faculty, staff and students as
part of the theme. To sign the
pledge, an individual had to
pick 12 items from a list of tasks
they could do to help the environment.
Mike Slattery, department of
environmental science chair and
director of the Institute for Environmental
Studies, said Adduco
Viridis began meeting in
2007 after a group of students
requested to start an environmental
club on campus. The
students wanted to bring together
green and environmental
initiatives to create a club that
would be the rallying point for
environmental issues on campus,
he said.
The club’s biggest ongoing initiative
is the Green Macaw
Project in Costa Rica,
Slattery said. Because the
birds are an endangered
species, students raise money
to help preserve the Almendro
trees that the green macaws
use as nesting sites. Each
tree costs $500 to preserve, he
In the past two years,
students have purchased
two fullgrown
planted 18
saplings and
raised $3,000
for a bird rehabilitation
Lee Tatlock, junior
marketing and entrepreneurial
management double major
is the resident assistant in the
on-campus Living Learning
Community that is dedicated to
green living, the Green House .
Tatlock said he often hosts
green-theme events for the residents
including a screening of

C- The overall sustainability grade.
A For the university’s investment priorities.
D Overall student involvement..
D In climate change and energy category.
C In university transportation.
C For university food and recycling.
F In the endowment transparency category.

the Disney movie “Earth,” and
a presentation from Tony Burgess,
professor of professional
practice in environmental science,
on living roofs.
Tatlock said it would be beneficial
to have recycle bins next to
every trashcan on campus but
he said realistically he knows
that could be a challenge.
Other schools such as the University
of North Texas and
Harvard University have created
offices, and hired faculty
whose sole responsibility is to
implement and maintain sustainability
projects. TCU has
yet to do so and according to
the administration, the university
isn’t looking into hiring any
full-time faculty to address sustainability
issues on campus any
time soon.
Boschini did say that the university
is constantly finding new
ways to help make TCU a more
green friendly campus.
“Last year, we purchased more
bikes, and built Scharbauer
Hall, which uses rain water to
irrigate around it,” Boschini
said. “We’re also building Mary
Wright Admission Center,
which is going to be off the grid
and generate its own power.”
To continue to improve awareness
on campus, Whitworth
said he and Provost Donovan
are working to include more
sustainability courses in the curriculum.
Currently, there are only a handful
of courses, Sustainability:
Environmental, Social and Economic
Issues, Environmental
Stewardship, Chasing Carbon,
Environmental Justice, Human
Rights and Agriculture and a
graduate-level course titled Sustainability
and Education.
Donovan said the timeline
for when more classes will be
implemented is still uncertain,
but the classes could eventually
become part of the core curriculum