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Green Infrastructure

The University of Tennessee aims to cultivate a sustainable environment for our community to learn, work and live. UT has acknowledged the environmental and economic impacts of operating the 230+ buildings on campus by establishing the Sustainable Building Policy.

Sustainable Building Policy

Silver LEED certification icon

This policy establishes the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system as the standard for new construction and major renovation projects at UT that cost more than $5 million. Under the policy, all such projects must be designed to meet the minimum requirements of LEED for New Construction and Major Renovations (LEED-NC). Small-scale renovations utilize the LEED for Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI) rating system as applicable.

UT LEED Certified Buildings

LEED Silver

  • Ayres Hall
  • Haslam Music
  • Student Health Clinic
  • JIAM

Energy Conservation Policy

Additionally, in order to ensure UT’s buildings operate with the lowest environmental impact possible, the energy conservation policy states that university purchases of equipment, systems, and appliances will be ENERGY STAR certified whenever possible. Read more about this and other policies.

Building Highlights

Looking down elevated walkway between Student Union phase one and two.

Student Union

There are numerous aspects of the 395,088-square-foot building that not only save the university money on day to day operations, but help reduce UT’s environmental impact.

Read more about the Student Union.

Orange Hall

Rain that falls on Orange Hall is collected and travels through a series of complex treatment filters to remove impurities and prevent bacterial growth before it’s ready for reuse. It’s reused for:

  • Cold water laundry
  • Flushing toilets
  • Irrigation for landscaping

One tank of rainwater provides 2,991 loads of laundry, or 27,343 toilet flushes, or 31 days of irrigation.

Sorority Village

Sorority Village was built on top of geothermal energy, which is a type of renewable energy source.

Infrastructure Highlights

The Claxton Rain Garden

Claxton Rain Garden

The Claxton Rain Garden installation was completed during the 2016 fall semester. Encompassing a 3,500-square-foot space with approximately 2,150 native places, the garden attracts wildlife and provides an artful display throughout the year. The installation was a collaborative effort by faculty and staff all over campus and was funded by a Green Development Grant with matching funds from the Green Fee.

Volunteer Boulevard Campus Beautification Project

Landscape improvements were made along each side of the road, curated to naturally absorb stormwater runoff in rainfall events that are one inch or less. Rather than rain flowing straight into the storm drain and right into our local waterways and rivers, the bioswales, native vegetation, and tree wells absorb the rainwater, naturally filtering out pollutants as it flows into the water table.

Andy Holt Mall Extension

Proposed in July 2017, this project is a vision rooted in UT’s campus setting within East Tennessee and its founding origins as a land grant university. The Andy Holt Mall Extension project represents a major step toward a pedestrian-centered campus that prioritizes the health and well-being of its community and the ecological health of its environment.

Construction and Demolition Waste Management

Increasing in efforts to curtail construction waste, in 2017 UT’s campus produced only 11,000 tons of concrete waste, compared to 2015’s 60,000 tons of concrete waste.