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