The University of the South


Challenge Commitment
1.4Million Square Feet
Goals Progress
20%Reduction in Energy Intensity13%Cumulative (vs. Baseline)

The University of the South, founded in 1858, is a private liberal arts institution of 1,700 undergraduates and roughly 100 post-graduate students. Located atop the Cumberland Plateau in Sewanee, Tennessee, the campus is known for its Collegiate Gothic architecture clad in native stone. Nearly all of the undergraduates are housed in university-owned residence halls, townhomes, and smaller, converted houses. A new, LEED Silver science building opened in 2008, and a LEED Gold addition to an existing science/academic space in 2011 have moved the University to require that all new construction achieve LEED Silver certification at a minimum going forward, including for a new 114-bed residential hall opening in the summer of 2016. 

As an AASHE STARS Silver-rated campus with a public commitment to a lower carbon future, the University of the South joins the Better Buildings Challenge to keep itself on track towards strategic goals laid out in the 2013 Sustainability Master Plan. As is true of many institutions of higher education, the university has some aging, historical facilities that need to accommodate 21st century expectations of comfort and functionality. One of the most successful long-term investments has been a central chiller plant, first installed in 2000 for a new dining hall project. The foresight at that time has allowed the university to systematically bring other buildings into the plant and reap great financial, energy and carbon rewards.  Technology upgrades, structural renovations, efficient use of existing square footage and full utilization of building controls will be the charge going forward in this Challenge of 20% energy reduction by 2026.