January 11, 2008 — The University of Virginia has been honored by Businesses for the Bay, a coalition of businesses, industries, government facilities and other organizations that are committed to implementing pollution prevention within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Jessica Wenger, Suzy Perala and Jeffrey Sitler of U.Va.'s Office of Environmental Health and Safety accepted the 2007 award for Outstanding Achievement for Pollution Prevention for a State Agency on behalf of the University during the organization's annual meeting. The awards ceremony was held at Westmoreland State Park, located along the Potomac River in Virginia's Northern Neck.
The award recognized the University's promotion of sustainability and pollution prevention, which is seeing impressive results. In 2006, U.Va. recycled 48 percent of its waste stream, diverting a total 4,883 tons of material from landfills. A $73 million upgrade to the main heating plant is resulting in greatly reduced sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide and other air pollution emissions. Nearly 90 percent of the University's lighting systems have been replaced with energy efficient lights, and nearly 6,000 motion sensors have been installed.
The University has developed Nutrient Management Plans to minimize fertilizer application and Stormwater Management Master Plans, which include green stormwater controls, such as biofilters and wetlands that minimize pollution in runoff. Through the implementation of an Environmental Management System, ongoing improvement in pollution prevention is guaranteed. In addition, the Board of Visitors approved a measure in February 2007 requiring all new and renovated buildings at the University be LEED certified.
The City of Charlottesville also received an Outstanding Achievement for Pollution Prevention award for local government.