Since the Green Request for Proposals (Green RFP) program launched in 2010, more than $1 million has been allocated to implementing student-requested sustainability projects on the Virginia Tech campus.

LED lighting for residence halls, sidewalks, streetlamps, select parking lots, and the Burruss Hall tunnel are among the most visible examples of the successful program. Solar power charging tables, water bottle refill stations, and bike racks are also among the 81 approved and funded Green RFP projects currently in operation or in the planning stages across campus.

At the start of each academic year, the Office of Sustainability seeks proposals from student groups for campus sustainability projects that support Virginia Tech’s Climate Action Commitment, with a strong focus on energy conservation and efficiency.

One of the program’s most unique features is that the entire process takes place in the same academic year. Proposals are submitted in the fall, reviewed during winter break, and presented to university senior leadership for approval and funding consideration in the spring. Project implementation is initiated prior to commencement.  

The Green RFP program provides students with distinct learning and professional development opportunities in the sustainability sector. In crafting their proposals, students gain firsthand project management, business writing, and budgeting experience. They also get unique mentorship from faculty subject matter experts who volunteer their time to help students fine-tune their proposals.

Proposals are reviewed by the Office of Sustainability and submitted to the university Energy and Sustainability Committee for consideration. The committee prioritizes the proposals and forwards their recommendations to the Office of Budget and Financial Planning for further review, approval, and funding consideration.

Nine years after launch, momentum doesn’t seem to be slowing for the Green RFP program. In fact, the Office of Sustainability received a record 66 proposals in fall 2018. Of those, 16 were selected to receive a total of $350,300 in university funding.

What’s driving the Green RFP program’s growth on campus?

“The fact that students are able to contribute to the sustainability movement firsthand is a strong contributor to the Green RFP’s continued success,” said Sustainability Director Denny Cochrane. “That, coupled with top-notch professional development experiences really make it a unique student program.”

While the Green RFP program continues to gain strong engagement from the university community, it has also received recognition at the national level. This July, the Office of Sustainability will be honored with the 2019 Sustainability Award for achievements in sustainability for the Green RFP program from APPA, Leadership in Educational Facilities.

From the replacement of nearly 1,000 fluorescent lights with energy-efficient LED lights across campus, to the installation of a new bat box to foster local bat species growth, the 2018-19 Green RFP projects selected to be implemented will help the university deepen its environmental stewardship efforts.

Just some of the 2018-19 projects set to be implemented can be found below.

Energy conservation

Replacement of fluorescent lights with energy-efficient LED lighting:

  • Barringer, Johnson, Newman, Miles, and Vawter halls: Replacement of 582 overhead fluorescent sink lights with LED lights.
  • Payne Hall: Replacement of 264 fluorescent hallway lights with LED lights.
  • Cassell Coliseum parking lot and surrounding sidewalks: Replacement of 55 fluorescent lights with LED lights.

 

Additional energy conservation projects:

  • Ten residence halls will receive new energy-efficient hot water infrastructure.
  • Hahn Horticulture Garden will receive a battery-powered leaf blower to replace a gas-powered unit.
  • Bishop-Favrao Hall will receive a new solar power charging table.

Water conservation

  • Hahn Horticulture Garden will receive a new 500-gallon rainwater catchment system.
  • Kelly Hall will gain two new water bottle refill stations.

Erosion and creek restoration

  • Virginia–Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine will receive funding to support a new outdoor dog run that will help mitigate soil erosion and storm water run-off.
  • As part of continued Stroubles Creek Riparian Restoration efforts, approximately 800 native seedlings will be planted (extension of 2017-18 Green RFP project).

Species growth

  • A new bat box in the vicinity of the Duck Pond will be installed to foster local bat species growth on campus.

All full list of 2018-19 funded projects can be found here. Learn more about the Green RFP program by clicking here.

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