The university has signed an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency for a new partnership.
WVU is now the second college in the state added to the EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region’s Sustainability Partnership Program.
The EPA and university will strive to develop a comprehensive “green” plan.
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection will assist.
This plan includes ways to save energy, reduce waste, and minimize the use of natural resources.
President James Clements says the university has a history of trying to care for the environment.
“We have recycling programs, and we’ve gone tray less in some of our cafeterias,” he said.
“I think this is an agreement that says we are willing to do more.”
Clements was joined by representatives of the West Virginia DEP and the EPA at the signing ceremony.
He says over the last four years, WVU has performed more than $98 million of energy-related research.
By 2016, the university will have spent $50 million on energy-saving renovations across campus.
“When the work is finished, our experts tell us that WVU will produce 31.5 percent fewer carbon dioxide emissions than the typical comparable university,” Clements said.
Following the signing, EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin and members of the media were given a tour of Brooks Hall, which has a “green roof.”
It houses the school’s geography and geology departments.
The roof is 12,000 square feet and is covered by six different plant species.
It is designed to reduce energy use, improve human health and enhance storm water management and water quality.
“I think that West Virginia University, not only entering into this agreement, but the things that they have done even prior to being involved with the sustainability partnership, has shown their commitment to protecting our natural and human resources,” Garvin said.
Program areas of interest include water conservation, materials management and recycling.
Shawn Garvin says universities provide both resources and personnel to help the effort.
“I think it’s an important place for us to be partnering with, one because they have the environmental stewardship of their students, as well as there is a lot of great opportunities at universities and colleges to be more sustainable and to help our environment,” he said.
Marshall University entered a similar agreement with the EPA earlier this week.
It’s providing refillable water-bottles and hydration stations, and installing environmentally friendly lights.
Marshall also wants to develop a rain garden and conduct a sustainability assessment.