VWCC is the 5th largest community college of the 23 community colleges in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is a single 70-acre campus inside Roanoke City.

Sustainability Achievements

Since 2005, Virginia Western Community College has been able to achieve a 35% reduction in energy consumption by a series of incremental steps and a comprehensive strategy. New buildings use high efficiency equipment and a well-insulated building envelope.

Strategy for Sustainable Campus Operations

Energy Management

  • Replace bulbs on regular maintenance schedule and replace with LED
  • Motion sensors installed in classrooms to turn off lights when no one is present and use of light harvesting sensors
  • Outdoor lighting put on computerized timers
  • Replace old mechanical units with high efficiency units
  • Replace single pane windows with insulated glass
  • Replace old commodes using 4.5 gallons with new using only 1.5 gallons per flush

Campus Master Planning Initiatives

  • New buildings and major renovations use International Green Construction Code (IGCC) requirements for design
  • Commitment to preservation of green space and view sheds. Locating new buildings to create inviting and useful outdoor spaces for students and using infill buildings to increase density
  • Encouraging use of public transportation
  • Converting surface parking to green space to reduce stormwater run off and increase absorption. Trade impermeable area for permeable. Use native plants and avoid irrigation
  • Evaluating feasibility of using renewable energy sources

Stormwater/Clean Water

Virginia Western has its own MS4 Stormwater Permit with DEQ.

  • There are 2 vegetative roof gardens on campus. VWCC houses the Community Arboretum, that demonstrates using native plants and absorptive and water filtering vegetation.
  • VWCC recycles cardboard, paper and plastic to keep these out of the waste stream and environment.
  • There are 2 large detention ponds and one underground storage take to store water in a storm surge and dissipate it slowly to prevent erosion.
  • There are absorptive swales in the north edge of Lot 14 and remaining surface water is channeled into the Lot 14 rain garden. There are an additional 3 rain gardens serving parking areas and 1 rain garden in the middle of the Fralin Center plaza. The Fralin Center site also has 2 absorptive underground storage areas. Sediment and runoff to outfalls is minimized.
  • VWCC maintains Best Management Practices (BMPs) and Minimum Control Measures (MCMs) that are part of our permit.
  • VWCC maintains E&S and SWPPP plans and implements these as relevant to project regulatory requirements.
  • VWCC provides FMS and FPD staff training on BMPs, MCMs, E&S, SWPPP, inspections of inlets and outfalls and other relevant training.
  • VWCC provides public outreach and sponsors public awareness events.
  • VWCC has partnered in a coalition with the City of Roanoke, Roanoke County, City of Salem, and City of Vinton to share practices and outreach information.
  • Inspections of stormwater inlets and outfalls occurs on a regular basis to assure waste or sediment are removed from storm drain areas.
  • Illicit discharges or hazardous spills (such as vehicle radiator fluid) are contained, cleaned up and disposed of according to established procedures to keep these contaminates out of the water and environment.
  • An approved nutrient management plan is maintained to reduce nitrates.
  • Biodegradable and green friendly chemicals are used in custodial and snow removal operations.
  • VWCC submits 3 year plans and annual reports to DEQ on compliance activities for accountability.