About Darden

How We Live: Sustainability Actions and Eco-Effectiveness Metrics

Having committed to become a zero waste, carbon neutral enterprise by 2020, we will regularly report our progress in the areas of waste generation, water use, energy use and carbon emissions. We will post these Darden Eco-Effectiveness Metrics annually. Also, given that at Darden we define sustainability broadly to include both our environmental actions and our contributions to a just and equitable world, we will share that work as well.

Everyone in the Darden community plays an important role in helping Darden realize its sustainability vision. We welcome and thank you for your contributions to achieving these goals.  

Keith Crawford, AICP, LEED AP
Darden School Facilities Administrator

Erika Herz
Associate Director of Sustainability Programs


Carbon Neutrality

Darden measures its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions using the Clean Air Cool Planet methodology designed specifically for university campuses. Our carbon neutral goal relates to two types of emissions: Scopes 1a and 2b, widely accepted as being within an institution’s direct control and responsibility, and represented in metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions (MT eCO2). 2007 is our baseline year of measurement. While Scope 3c emissions are not included in our goal, we nonetheless track and take action to reduce them.

Darden has reduced carbon emissions 13% relative to our 2007 baseline. In doing so, we also avoided $104K in energy costs in fiscal year 2012.



Actions to Reduce Scope 1-2 Emissions

  • Signed contract with Aero Integrated Solutions to recommission our HVAC systems to improve performance, with the goal of reducing both energy use and energy costs.
  • Installed extensive control system utilizing Automated Logic systems for efficient operations.
  • Replaced incandescent light bulbs in exterior fixtures with compact fluorescent bulbs to reduce energy use and related CO2 emissions.   
  • Installed occupancy sensors in conference rooms for lighting control to reduce energy use and related CO2 emissions.
  • Students created voluntary program to offset the carbon footprint of their MBA education.

Actions to Reduce Scope 3 Emissions

  • Demonstrated electric bicycles and scooters to promote alternative commuting options at summer staff party. 
  • Extended bus service to provide more convenient transit options to Darden.
  • Piloted program on electronic exam distribution to reduce student commuting miles. 
  • Abbott Center incorporated up to 60% locally-sourced foods during the height of the growing season. Suppliers include The Local Food Hub, as well as farms like Double H Farm, Wolf Creek Farm and Roundabout Farm. We continue to enjoy a spring and fall all-local lunch called the Darden Market.
  • Added new covered bike storage next to Darden Garage.

a Scope I (net) emissions result from stationary sources directly controlled by Darden, including our diesel back-up generator, and natural gas-fired boilers. Also included are unintentional releases of GHGs from refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.
b Scope 2 (net) emissions relate to emissions generated outside of Darden but which are a result of our activities. Here we include electricity purchased from our utility, Dominion Power.
c Scope 3 (net) emissions include those associated with commuting and air travel by students and employees. Also included in these indirect emissions are those associated with the decomposition or incineration of our non-recycled waste, which for us is currently handled by Updike Industries. 


Darden’s net energy use is represented in million BTUs (MMBTUs). This includes Scope 1 and 2 (net building energy use).  A central component of Darden’s carbon reduction strategy is to eliminate emissions through energy conservation and energy efficiency.  Net building energy use provides a metric to assess our progress in the effectiveness of our on-site energy systems.  Actions to improve the effectiveness of these energy systems will directly lower Darden’s carbon footprint and move us closer to our Carbon Neutral Goal.  


Actions to Reduce Water Use/Water Pollution

  • Native and drought-tolerant plantings, reforestation and organic landscape methods
  • Replaced bathroom fixtures with water-efficient models
  • Reduced irrigation of grassy areas
  • Integrated pest management control

Future Plans

  •  Restroom signs to encourage turning off water completely and reporting any leaks

Solid Waste

Darden has reduced waste to landfill by 32% relative to our 2007 baseline. Approximately half of Darden's waste is now composted by Black Bear Composting. We continue to drive recycling rates through community education and the addition of recycling locations.



Actions To Reduce Impact of Paper Use

  • The Darden Report is printed on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper.
  • Executive Education team made process changes to reduce amount of paper needed to produce best-in-class programs.
  • Piloted electronic distribution of course materials to students.

Other Actions to Reduce Waste

  • Reuse of existing furnishings in building improvements – classroom chairs, learning team room tables, conference room tables
  • Utilization of recyclable materials in I-Lab Renovation – cork flooring
  • Installation of environmentally friendly Forbo Linoleum on tables throughout School
  • Conversion of roll carpet to carpet tile to minimize waste by enabling targeted carpet replacement in high traffic areas
  • Switched to environmentally-friendly amenities and biodegradable key cards, as well as organically grown coffee (Sponsors Executive Residence Center).
  • Reduced box lunch packaging and use of plastic water bottles (Abbott Center).
  • Added water filter and provided water bottles to students to reduce number of plastic bottles generated.
  • Increased number of recycling locations, co-located with trash cans for convenience.  
  • First Year students created the Darden Cups Competition, competing to minimize the number of disposable cups used at First Coffee. 
  • Students conducted trash audit to assess recycling opportunities.

d Solid Waste numbers currently do not include Sponsors Executive Residence.

Community Outreach

  • Complementing the tremendous amount of volunteering by students in the community, faculty and staff volunteer throughout Charlottesville during our winter and spring  Days of Caring, as well as on the fall United Way Day of Caring.

  • Darden students and the Building Goodness Foundation partner annually to rehabilitate homes of low-income, elderly and disabled families in Charlottesville. 

  • Darden students conduct an annual auction fundraiser to raise significant funds for the Shelter for Help in Emergency.

  • Faculty and staff participate in the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign to raise money for Virginia charities.  

  • In conjunction with the Darden Center for Global Initiatives, Darden students, led by Entrepreneurship faculty member Greg Fairchild completed related coursework and visited Haiti in order to create a business plan for a hotel that would generate revenue to support a local medical clinic.

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