Friday, September 6, 2013

Top 10 Green Universities

As Labor Day weekend comes to a close, college students around the nation head back to campus to start the fall semester. Some of these students have the benefit of attending environmentally-friendly campuses, and studies show that this has a positive impact on the way the students interact with the environment themselves. The Sierra Club has rated the top 10 green universities around the nation, taking everything into consideration, from clean transportation to renewable energy in the classrooms.

University of Connecticut
  1. University of Connecticut- The Sierra Club named this college the 2013 winner. At UConn, 40% of its faculty do academic work and research in environmental fields. The university has decreased its water usage by 15% in the past six years and has renovated its buildings to reduce carbon emissions by 2,640 tons in the past two years. 
  2. Dickinson College- This smaller college located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania uses wind power to meet its energy needs. Students at Dickinson have even collected grease from nearby restaurants to use as biodiesel for the school's vehicles. Several of its buildings meet LEED Gold standards and the school has decreased its paper usage by 60% in just four years. 
  3. University of California, Irvine- UC Irvine uses solar panels to generate energy, saving 20 million kilowatts a year. Along with LEED Silver buildings, the school also features a botanical garden on campus.
  4. University of California, Davis- This UC is dedicated to agriculture and features weekly farmers' markets in the spring and fall. Additionally, over 60% of its trash is recycled or composted, and the school hopes to increase it to 100% by 2020. 
  5. Cornell University- Cornell has decreased its greenhouse gas emissions by 25% in the past two years and are planning to be a net-zero campus by 2050. Students at Cornell can choose from over 300 classes in sustainability and can minor in climate change. The campus features a botanical garden and arboretum.
  6. Green Mountain College- This Vermont school only contains about 600 students. The school uses sourced woodchips to provide 85% of its heat and 20% of its electrical power. Students have taken initiatives to build gardens, grow produce, and has even derived energy from methane produced by cows.
    Green Mountain College
  7. Stanford University- Stanford has raised over $430 million for its Initiative on the Environment and Sustainability and is planning on building a new facility that will cut its carbon emissions by 50% and its water usage by 20%. 
  8. Georgia Institute of Technology- Georgia Tech is located in downtown Atlanta and has access to several forms of transportation, including buses, trains, and cars. All of its buildings built after 2008 are LEED certified, and its water usage hasn't grown since 2001 due to its efficient storm water collection system.
    UC Santa Barbara
  9. American University- American University, located in Washington DC, plans on having 30 of its buildings LEED Silver certified. It recycles and composts 2/3 of its waste and has the largest solar hot water system in DC. 
  10. University of California, Santa Barbara- UC Santa Barbara has 44 LEED certified buildings, 321 sustainability courses, and 10 miles of bike paths. 94% of its students take alternative forms of transportation to class. 
For more information, read the Sierra Club's full report here.