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The Commons wins state Environmental Stewardship Award for Green Buildings

Posted by on Thursday, May 21, 2009 in Green Building, News.

The Commons wins state Environmental Stewardship Award for Green Buildings

Vanderbilt University’s campus area The Commons recently received the 2009 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award for the “Building Green” category. Vanderbilt University was one of 14 winners announced by Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Jim Fyke.

“These award winners truly have taken environmental stewardship to a new and innovative level, setting an example for all Tennesseans,” said Gov. Phil Bredesen. “I am extremely proud of this year’s diverse group of honorees – including school children, grassroots organizers, public and private universities and industry leaders – demonstrating that each person can make a difference in protecting Tennessee’s natural resources.”

The Commons has a total of seven LEED-certified buildings, four Gold and three Silver, which form the largest collection of LEED-certified buildings in Tennessee, and one of the largest collections of certified buildings in the southeastern United States.

LEED certification is a designation awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program which recognizes buildings that were designed and constructed with water conservation, energy efficiency, indoor air quality and waste minimization in mind.

“These buildings are part of one of the largest construction projects in the history of our campus and will affect students for generations to come. They will stand as a lasting legacy of this generation of Vanderbilt leaders, including students who have been at the forefront of working on environmental issues,” said Frank Wcislo, associate professor of history and dean of The Commons. “LEED certification of these residential houses reflects the dedication of The Commons to helping our students become leaders in the diverse, democratic and global communities of the 21st century.”

In 2008, The Commons won a Green Schools award for the innovative environmental education that was incorporated into the freshman experience such as the Freshman Commons Seminars on sustainability, the Green Screen kiosk in the lobby of the Commons Center, and the student composting initiative implemented by Students Promoting Environmental Awareness and Responsibility (SPEAR). This year’s award in the “Building Green” category recognizes the large number of green buildings on The Commons campus which have achieved a high level of third-party environmental certification. For the 2009 award, VU competed against other commercial, industrial and governmental green building projects, not just those at other universities.

The 14 winners will be recognized for their achievements and positive impact on the state’s natural resources in an awards ceremony to be held in Nashville on June 12.

The Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards program recognizes exemplary voluntary actions that improve or protect the environment and natural resources with projects or initiatives that are not required by law or regulations. This marks the 23rd year for the awards program. Thirty-nine professionals from various public and private organizations judged more than 100 nominations to determine the award recipients.

“Because our environment impacts everything we do from recreational activities to the health of our communities, it is important to recognize those who work so hard to protect it,” said Fyke. “We are pleased to honor these fine Tennesseans who have gone the extra mile to not only preserve and protect, but to teach others how to enhance the condition of our shared environment.”

For more information about the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards program, visit

Media Contact: Missy Pankake, (615) 322-NEWS


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