Vanderbilt University’s Green Invest Program partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Nashville Electric Service has been recognized with a 2021 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced July 8.
The annual honors are considered the most prestigious environmental and conservation awards in Tennessee and support the governor’s priorities of job and economic development and health and welfare while also supporting TDEC’s priorities of public-private partnerships and positive environmental outcomes. Now in its 35th year, the awards program recognizes exceptional voluntary actions that improve or protect the environment and natural resources with projects or initiatives not required by law or regulation.
Launched in January 2020, Vanderbilt’s Green Invest Program partnership with TVA and NES to procure off-site large-scale renewable energy to help mitigate the campus’ greenhouse gas emissions served as a model for other companies and schools within the TVA region. In its second phase, a supplemental agreement partnering with Metro Nashville was established in November 2020, showcasing the university’s commitment to collaborating with other leaders in the region to make impactful change.
“We invested time and resources to collaborate with TVA and NES to construct this new program because it not only will benefit our city and Middle Tennessee, but it also is scalable across the TVA region,” Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said. “This project is a tremendous model of how the university’s mission of research and positive societal impact can be brought to bear to address an immediate problem and also serve as the foundation for future innovation and progress.”
The program will allow for educational and research opportunities at the renewable energy facilities once they’re opened—including internships, research studies and outreach events.
The award comes shortly after the announcement of the university’s newest collaboration with nonprofit Climate Vault. This collaboration allows Vanderbilt to address the full extent of its carbon footprint now, achieving carbon neutrality decades ahead of its initial 2050 goal.
The university also continues to accelerate its positive impact in addressing global warming through investments in on-site clean energy, decreased carbon footprint from vehicles, additional green spaces on campus, reduced waste consumption and sustainable infrastructure.