October 31, 2008 — Sustainability was the main focus Thursday when the University of Virginia's Community Relations Office hosted its fall Neighborhoods Advisory Group Meeting in the U.Va. Medical Center's dining conference rooms.
The meetings bring together University officials and leaders from area neighborhoods and the City of Charlottesville to facilitate ongoing conversations about University and community news. Thirty neighborhood leaders and city representatives attended.
Jay Klingel, U.Va.'s director of operations and maintenance, opened the meeting by sharing information about the day-to-day operations that sustain the University's more than 500 buildings, including landscape, housekeeping and the University's award-winning recycling efforts.
He also highlighted the University's 25-year participation in community apprenticeship programs through Piedmont Virginia Community College and Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center.
Cheryl Gomez, director of energy and utilities, discussed the success of the University's efforts to reduce water and energy usage, which have declined significantly in recent years.
She also explained the University's attention to stormwater management, with specific references to the Dell and the University's stormwater retention pond behind the South Parking Garage. In addition, she highlighted U.Va.'s controlled approach to heating and cooling, which emphasizes reducing the number of window air-conditioners and significantly cutting energy usage and carbon emissions.
Jeff Sitler, environmental compliance manager, discussed environmental impact reviews and U.Va.'s plan to compost food waste from its dining halls starting in November at Panorama Farms in Albemarle County.
He also explained how the new trayless dining at Observatory Hill and other dining halls reduces water usage and encourages diners to only take as much food as they really want to eat.
Finally, Kent Knicely, heat plant manager, led attendees on a tour of the University's recently environmentally upgraded heat plant.
For information and to view presentations from the meeting, visit www.virginia.edu/communityrelations.
-- By Jim Fitzgerald