Learning Through Research





The University of Kentucky recognizes that in its mission to improve the lives of Kentuckians, one of its greatest challenges is to engage the University community to create policies and programs that will simultaneously advance economic vitality, ecological integrity and social equity, now and into the future. As such, it calls upon all levels and constituencies of the University to participate in a continuous and on-going effort to institute the teaching, research, and practice of sustainability and to establish an institutional culture of sustainability.-Commitment statement from the University of Kentucky Sustainability Policy


In 2012 the University of Kentucky received a Silver rating from the STARS program of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Many of the programs and innovations that contributed to our Silver rating will be on display and available to you during NCUR 2014. The sections below highlight a number of these efforts. We encourage you to take advantage of these resources during your stay and to be a part of our growing sustainability initiatives.


Recycle Blue

The University of Kentucky offers single-stream recycling for aluminum cans, plastic bottles, office and glossy paper, cardboard and glass bottles in all campus buildings and along major campus pathways.  Just look for the blue bins. The University also has a wide variety of programs for diverting less common items from the landfill and operates a surplus property program to reuse or auction everything from office furniture to medical equipment. 


Bottle Filling Stations

Inspired by the work of Student Leaders in the UK Student Center, the University has installed more than 100 bottle filling stations across campus and they can now be found in more than 50 campus buildings.  The UK Student Center, Whitehall Classroom Building, and the Singletary Center for the Arts all have permanent bottle filling stations that make it convenient and easy to refill your bottle with free, cold, filtered water.  Temporary bottle filling stations will be set-up in Memorial Coliseum during NCUR 2014. 



Riding a bicycle is a great way to get around our campus and explore our community.  The Wildcat Wheels Bicycle Library has partnered with NCUR 2014 to provide a limited number of bicycles to NCUR attendees at no charge. All bikes are equipped with a lock and helmets are available upon request. The University of Kentucky has been awarded Bronze status as a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclist for our growing and connected network of bicycle lanes and paths as well as our innovative programs focused on education, safety, and encouragement.
Request a bike.


Energy Conservation

Most of the facilities hosting NCUR 2014 are connected to sophisticated efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of their operation by reducing energy demand. The University has a long-standing commitment to energy efficiency and conservation and our efforts in these areas have significant environmental and economic benefits.  The biggest savings come from the centralized energy management of campus buildings by control centers that are staffed around clock seven days a week.   This effort uses a variety of strategies to conserve energy and saves UK more than $3 million a year in electricity costs.  These "negawatts" (avoided electricity use) reduced the greenhouse gas emissions of the University by 54,007 metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2013, a 10% reduction of our carbon footprint. UK has been honing these energy management strategies for decades and continues to develop new approaches to energy saving including a recent $25 million project to upgrade and retrofit equipment in 61 campus buildings, the creation of Empowered.uky.edu-a real-time, web-based energy dashboard-  and the hiring of an energy engineer charged with maximizing savings with a building-by-building approach.