We salute the following 24 schools that made our 2016 Green Honor Roll by receiving a score of 99 (the highest possible score) in our Green Rating tallies this year.

We tallied Green Rating scores for 804 colleges this year. You can find these ratings in the profiles for those schools on our site , and in the 2016 editions of our books The Best 380 Colleges and The Complete Book of Colleges .

Green Rating Press Release | Green Rating Methodology     

In alphabetical order, the schools on our 2016 Green Honor Roll are:

  1. Allegheny College (Meadville, PA)


    As a charter signatory of ACUPCC with a climate neutrality goal of 2020 and a participant in the White House's Better Buildings Challenge to increase building efficiencies by at least 20 percent across campus, Allegheny College is determined not just to participate in the green movement, but to lead. One hundred percent of the campus electricity is generated through wind sources (purchased RECs) and two on-campus solar arrays, and the school strives for energy efficiency through regular energy audits, retrofits (nearly all buildings on campus have undergone energy-related renovation or retrofitting in the past three years), geothermal wells, education, submetering, and dorm competitions that promote environmental responsibility. In line with these initiatives, Allegheny has determined that all newly constructed campus buildings will meet, at minimum, the LEED Silver certification requirements. The campus also boasts a robust composting program that processes pre- and post-consumer dining waste, municipal yard waste, and agricultural wastes daily (Allegheny was the first college in Pennsylvania to use an in-vessel composting operation for food scraps). The finished compost and compost tea is used on campus lawns, sports fields, flowerbeds, and the production vegetable garden in lieu of chemical fertilizers. Allegheny further strives to reduce waste through trayless dining, reusable takeout, and Bring Your Own Cup programs. A green roof, rain gardens, permeable paving solutions, and wildflower plantings help minimize stormwater runoff. An on-campus production garden incorporates local, organic produce into the dining halls. Students help drive campus sustainability through research in classes, independent studies, senior comprehensive projects and student organization campaigns. Allegheny also wants to ensure that its students’ dedication to the environment and sustainability issues doesn’t end after graduation; each year the college invites recruiters from green companies and organizations and alums working in sustainability to hold informational presentations for recruiting purposes.

  2. American University (Washington, DC)


    American University knows that “the American Dream is Green” — and is taking serious steps to bring that dream to campus. AU is taking a series of practical steps to make sure that its students are green-equipped all the way from the classroom to Congress. A signatory of both ACUPCC and the Talloires Declaration, and a STARS Charter Participant, the university has established a Green Teaching Certification Program to reward professors for incorporating sustainability content into the curriculum and has a climate plan that targets neutrality by 2020. Three full-time and twenty part-time sustainability staff oversee efforts to integrate sustainability across all campus activities, including the implementation of zero-waste, sustainable purchasing, and green building policies. More than twenty-five buildings on campus are participating in a LEED Volume Existing Building certification project. These twenty-five buildings are part AU's Office of Sustainability's more impressive goal: to get the majority of existing campus buildings LEED-certified. As part of that effort, AU installed more than 2,150 solar photovoltaic panels on six American University buildings resulting in the largest solar power system in the District of Columbia. In addition, 174 solar thermal energy panels were added to four campus buildings, providing hot showers to more than 2,000 students living on campus and hot water to the university's largest dining hall. In the past year AU also started composting paper towels, an act estimated to divert about 13 percent of the total campus waste from the landfill. AU has an “incredibly active and successful” environmental group called Eco-Sense that has been in place for ten years. Eco-Sense works hand-in-hand with departments across campus to implement sustainability initiatives.

  3. Colby College (Waterville, ME)


    In 2013, following the opening of a biomass heating plant and implementation of a range of energy conservation projects, Colby achieved carbon neutrality. Colby was the fourth college in the country and the first in the NESCAC to do so. Colby’s environmental studies program is among the oldest offered at U.S. liberal arts colleges. The number of majors offered in the program has grown substantially, including several interdisciplinary tracks emphasizing policy or science from an environmental perspective or an environmental track in hard sciences like biology and chemistry. Colby’s partnership with Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences offers expanded educational and research opportunities in marine sciences and climate change for students and faculty. Student projects in these programs have helped contribute to Colby’s green momentum. The campus is home to a 128-acre arboretum, much of the 714-acre campus is a wildlife sanctuary, and the college owns additional properties on the nearby Belgrade Lakes, including a kettle bog for research. A cogeneration turbine on campus supplies 10 percent of the school’s electricity needs, and purchased electricity comes from Green-e certified sources. Colby has adopted comprehensive process-focused green building standards for all new construction, renovation, and limited scope projects. These include a requirement to achieve at least LEED Silver certification on all future building projects. To date, Colby’s campus has twelve LEED-certified buildings (eight Gold, three Silver, and one Certified), and 15 percent of the campus square footage is LEED-certified space. Students play active roles in the college’s green initiatives, as members of the Environmental Advisory Committee to the college president; as recycling coordinators; Eco-Reps in the dorms; and as members of student organizations like the Environmental Coalition, the Organic Gardening Club, and Project RESCUE (Recycle Everything, Save Colby’s Usable Excess), which collects furniture, household items, and clothing left behind by students at the end of the year for a campus-wide yard sale the following fall. Any leftover materials from the sale are donated to local nonprofits. A biomass heating plant burning locally sourced fuel certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative reduces on-campus oil consumption by an astounding 90 percent.

  4. Colgate University (Hamilton, NY)


    Ever since becoming a signatory of the Clean Air-Cool Planet Climate Action Plan way back in 2004, Colgate has been at the forefront of the green movement. And their efforts are truly paying off! Notably, the university expects to achieve climate neutrality by 2019 (coincidentally their bicentennial). Energy saving measures have already been implemented on campus; the university encourages the purchase of Energy Star appliances, lighting, motion sensors, and computer sleep protocols, and operates a low emission, diesel powered, free shuttle service to help cut down on carbon emissions on campus and in the surrounding community. But the real feather in Colgate’s hat is its successful conversion to clean energy sources to power the campus. Today, the university derives 95 percent of its electricity from hydroelectric and other non-carbon emitting sources, and 75 percent of its heating needs from an on-campus, wood-fired boiler (Sayonara, fossil fuels). Last year, this plant helped Colgate avoid consuming the equivalent of 1.2 million gallons of fuel oil and saved the university more than $1.8 million in heating costs. Colgate’s location in a prosperous agricultural area helps the university source 20 percent of its food from local and sustainable farms. Already, Colgate’s Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education collects thousands of pounds of unwanted items at the end of the year and donates them to local charitable organizations. All new buildings and major renovations on campus must pursue a minimum of LEED Silver certification. One shining example is Colgate’s Trudy Fitness Center, a state-of-the-art 15,000-square-foot facility, which attained LEED Gold.

  5. Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO)


    Colorado State University has signed both the Talloires Declaration and ACUPCC, and historically the university has racked up some impressive sustainability accolades. CSU has the second highest score of all universities in the STARS reporting system. The university boasts a veritable LEED fleet with eleven LEED Gold buildings and several more pending certification. It was also the first university to collect data via satellite for weather forecasting, and it founded the first emissions control program in the United States, an invaluable resource for reducing greenhouse gases on campus. In addition, CSU was also one of the first universities nationwide to offer green power to its students. CSU brought online a 15-acre solar plant (2,000-kilowatt array with an annual expected output of 3.5 million kilowatt hours), which reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 5.5 million pounds each year. Another solar array addition has also gone live, totalling over five megawatts. CSU's recycling program works actively to ensure that all recyclable waste avoids the landfill by increasing the number of recycling bins around campus and investing in a new truck. CSU also has a taste for culinary sustainability: The campus-based, student-run Aspen Grille is the second Green Seal-certified restaurant in Colorado and provides environmentally minded cuisine by purchasing locally produced meats, cheeses, and produce. Furthering its commitment to local sustainability, CSU's Forest Service tree nursery produces 2 million seedlings annually in order to reduce carbon monoxide and to provide even more greenery for the surrounding area.

  6. Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)


    At Cornell University, students can choose from more than 400 courses and twenty-eight majors to study sustainability in every college. The Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future brings together students, faculty and staff to “help advance multidisciplinary research and cultivate innovative collaborations within and beyond Cornell to foster a sustainable future for all.” The Center provides seed grants for cutting-edge interdisciplinary research advances the local and national conversation on sustainability through activities that engage government agencies and officials, foundations, businesses, NGOs, and others. Cornell is implementing a plan to be carbon neutral by 2050 and achieved a 32 percent carbon emissions reduction since 2008. Another critical part of Cornell's carbon reduction strategy is a $46 million investment in energy conservation. Transportation Services provides free bus passes to freshman and staff, and offers incentives to use Ithaca Carshare, vanpools, public transportation, and the student-run Big Red Bikes, bike-share program. The award-winning Cornell Dining was rated the #2 most vegan-friendly food service program. There are over forty active green clubs on campus to fill every niche, including Greeks Go Green, Cornell University Sustainable Design, Dilmun Hill Organic Farm, Kyoto NOW!, Engineers for a Sustainable World, Cornell Farmers Market and the Sustainable Enterprise Association. More than 64 percent of waste on campus is recycled or composted, including 550 tons of food from the dining halls. Cornell considers itself a care-taker of the natural environment. In total, the university manages 3,500 acres of biologically diverse natural land on and around its campus. The Ithaca campus currently has one LEED Platinum and 8 LEED Gold buildings, and a policy for all new major construction to obtain LEED Silver and 30 percent more energy-efficient than national standards.

  7. Dickinson College (Carlisle, PA)


     Though Dickinson College has garnered several national awards and recognitions for incorporating sustainability into its academic programs and campus operations, Dickinson College isn’t ready to rest on its laurels—the school is always on the lookout for ways it can improve sustainability on campus and in its students’ lives. Dickinson’s most recent recognition is a “silver” rating as a Bicycle Friendly University from the League of American Bicyclists. Dickinson was one of the first institutions to sign the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), and is implementing a Climate Action Plan to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and achieve climate neutrality by 2020. Ever raising the bar, all buildings constructed since 2008 have been built to LEED Gold standards, surpassing the college’s LEED Silver standard. Now that’s leadership! Dickinson students have been a central part of its commitment to sustainability, working with the Center for Sustainability Education, the Dickinson Organic Farm, and the Alliance for Aquatic Resources Monitoring in hands-on learning opportunities that advance their knowledge and skills for creating a just and sustainable world. Examples include growing organic food for the campus and community, educating k-12 students about healthy foods and nutrition, converting waste oil to biodiesel, promoting biking and bicycle safety, designing and installing solar arrays, working with Carlisle residents on community development and helping communities across Pennsylvania to protect their watersheds. Dickinson’s commitment to sustainability follows from their long-standing mission—to prepare young people, by means of a useful education in the liberal arts and sciences, for engaged lives of citizenship and leadership in the service of society.    

  8. Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA)


    Besides having one of the world's largest grid-attached rooftop photovoltaic solar systems, the GreenBuzz portal highlights what Georgia Tech students, staff, and faculty can do to create a more environmentally friendly campus. Tech has the largest university residence hall in the world to achieve LEED Gold under the Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance rating system. Home to 2,000 students, it is a renovated Olympic Village. Tech's 1,400,000 gallon cistern collects rain and condensation water for flushing and irrigation and is the largest system on a U.S. campus. This massive cistern is integral to the Undergraduate Commons, a sustainability showcase and new freshman science building with green labs, garden roof, dashboard, solar pv, solar thermal, a chilled beam pilot, etc. The Carbon Neutral Energy Solutions Laboratory building, completed in 2012, houses energy researchers. With twenty-one endowed chairs and thirty research centers focusing on sustainability, Georgia Tech is home to the Strategic Energy Institute, which focuses on alternative energy and energy efficiency, the Institute for Sustainable Systems, the Sustainable Design and Manufacturing Center, and more. Georgia Tech, a President's Climate Commitment signatory, continues to encourage investing in energy and water efficiency by being a Found Circle partner for the “Billion Dollar Green Challenge” and participating in the “Atlanta Better Building Challenge. The school offers more than 350 courses with a sustainability focus with the goal that every student take at least one sustainability focused course by graduation. In the school's own words, it wants students to experience sustainability so that they can “take it with them throughout their careers and live it every day.”

  9. Green Mountain College (Poultney, VT)


    “Going green” is more than a catchphrase at Green Mountain College — it's a raison d'être. Impressively in 2011, the school announced its achievement of climate neutrality, becoming only the second climate neutral campus in the nation and the first to achieve it through a combination of efficiency, large-scale adoption of clean energy, and purchase of local carbon offsets. Green Mountain College, a member of the Founding Circle of the “Billion Dollar Green Challenge,” also integrates sustainability thoroughly across its exceptional curriculum. In addition to a comprehensive environmental liberal arts core curriculum, GMC also offers a renewable energy and ecological design degree program, a new sustainable agriculture and food production degree, adventure education, natural resources management, and a sustainable MBA program. More than half of GMC faculty members are actively engaged in research, and the college utilizes project-based learning to provide students with real-life problem-solving experiences. GMC's Farm & Food Project was granted use of the flash-freeze unit — designed to increase the ability of farmers to market seasonal products throughout the year — by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, in order to pilot flash-freezing of products for institutional and food pantry use. GMC continues to focus on greening its operations. In 2012 the college approved a strategic plan Sustainability 2020 which challenges GMC to meet all of its energy needs with 100 percent renewable energy by 2020. Sustainability is the overarching principle in the plan which articulates five main initiatives that will attract and retain a strong student body and innovative faculty and staff and positively impact the campus environment. Students don't soon forget the lessons they learn in GMC; forty-six percent of graduates pursue careers in the green jobs sector.

  10. Harvard College (Cambridge, MA)


    Harvard College, a school renowned for its innovation and leadership, is proving that “Green is the new Crimson.” In recent years, the college established a university-wide commitment to reducing greenhouse gas by 30 percent from 2006 levels by 2016 and has already decreased emissions overall by 16 percent, including growth. On campus, the university has eighty-eight LEED-certified buildings and an additional twenty-five LEED registered projects, as well as mandating that comprehensive Green Building Standards apply to all capital projects. Harvard also demonstrates its commitment to energy-efficiency by using a number of renewable energy sources to power the campus, including solar panels, steam heat recovery, wind turbines, ground source heat pumps, and shuttles that run on biodiesel fuel. This is bolstered by a 52 percent waste-diversion rate on campus, as well as a flawless 100 percent composting rate for landscaping waste. The college also keeps an eye on providing local produce to its students — 33–70 percent of produce served by Harvard's dining services is from local sources, depending on the seasonal variations in crops. Yet, not all changes are coming from the top. Of all students on campus, 97 percent take an alternative means of transportation to class each day. In addition, the Harvard Office for Sustainability leads the university in achieving its sustainability goals by leveraging the collective knowledge of students, staff, and faculty partners and fueling collaboration across disciplines. Environmentally minded students can take advantage of Harvard's environmental science and public policy concentration, and over 200 undergraduate and graduate environmental courses — just another example of how Harvard is committing itself to a socially responsible future.

  11. Iowa State University (Ames, IA)


    Live Green! is Iowa State University's campus-wide sustainability initiative, laying the foundation for the campus to become as green as possible. Live Green! has already led to the hiring of a Director of Sustainability, the creation of a thirteen-member Advisory Committee on Energy Conservation and Global Climate Change, and the establishment of a Live Green Loan Fund for energy conservation and sustainability projects. The university's commitment to sustainable operations is highlighted by its requirement that all new construction and major renovation projects on campus achieve LEED Gold. In fact, the university's College of Design addition and the State Gym recreational facility have both achieved LEED Platinum. Additionally, the school has signed a contract with the city of Ames allowing for 10 percent of the university's electrical energy to be derived from wind. All four of the residential dining centers on campus were made trayless, reducing food waste by 50 percent. Food waste is composted at the university's compost facility and utilized for on-campus projects, and prepared leftover food is donated to a free meal program in the community. Students have participated in the Solar Decathlon, an internationally recognized team competition to design, build, and operate energy-efficient solar-powered homes. The GreenHouse Group works to promote recycling at each campus residence and the school participates in Adopt Campus, a program initiated by Keep Iowa State Beautiful to promote campus cleanup. Interested in studying green? You're in luck. Iowa State offers an interdisciplinary sustainability minor and more than 800 green courses in more than forty departments that focus on sustainability. Want to “green your drive?” Recent implementation of a carshare program offers alternative transportation service designed to help reduce the university's carbon footprint.

  12. Lewis & Clark College (Portland, OR)


    Located in one of the world's greenest cities, Portland, Oregon, Lewis & Clark College is eagerly doing its part to keep the city sustainable. Lewis & Clark requires all new buildings to be LEED Gold certified, and a whopping 100 percent of the school's electricity is generated by “green power” sources! Portland's 2009 Climate Action Plan sought a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2018, yet Lewis & Clark has already exceeded that goal by reducing emissions over 30 percent since 2006. Lewis & Clark's location in the green mecca of Portland provides students with an abundance of opportunities to work with and learn from environmentally conscious organizations off campus. On campus, students can join groups such as SEED (Students Engaged in Eco-Defense), the Sustainability Council and SABER (Student Advocates for Business and Environmental Responsibility). About a quarter of the food served on campus is grown within 100 miles of the school. The city of Portland has long been a trailblazer — literally — in bike transportation, having over 150 miles of bike lanes. Lewis & Clark works to help students utilize this healthy and environmentally friendly mode of transportation. The student bike-sharing program was recently funded by the school's “Green Fee Fund,” giving student body access to bikes, safety gear and training. In addition, the college has started installing bike repair stations around campus for when students need a quick bolt tightening or tire pump. The school's latest construction, the LEED-certified Holmes Hall, also has a free electric vehicle charging station. In 2013, the college was recognized for its efforts by being ranked first in the Northwest Conference in the EPA's College and University Green Power Challenge.

  13. Middlebury College (Middlebury, VT)


     Middlebury College takes its commitment to sustainability seriously, as evidenced by a trustees’ resolution that mandates that the college will achieve carbon neutrality by 2016. Additionally, Middlebury is advancing the cause of sustainability on campus through the recent completion of a $12 million biomass gasification system (or, more simply put, a furnace that burns renewable wood chips), which will reduce carbon emissions on campus by 40 percent and oil consumption by a whopping 1 million gallons. The school looks to make “ethical and just decisions about production, exchange, and consumption,” while “meeting present and future human needs while protecting and restoring ecological resilience and integrity.” In 2011, Middlebury College became a member of the Founding Circle for the “Billion Dollar Green Challenge,” which encourages the college and university community to invest a total of $1 billion in self-managed revolving funds that finance energy efficiency improvements. On top of that, the college’s (gorgeous) Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest achieved LEED Platinum, making it the first building in Vermont to do so, and the seventh nationwide. Middlebury is just as dedicated to instilling a commitment to green living in students as it is to building a greener campus. The college promotes environmental internships and job opportunities through events like the annual Careers in the Common Good Week, which has “dedicated speaker panels, skill-building workshops, and featured employer information sessions with [an] emphasis on environmental careers and advice.” Middlebury has also sent a team of students to participate in the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, which challenges college students to “design, and build solar-powered houses that are attractive, cost-effective, and energy-efficient.” Their house took 4th place overall, debuting on the mall in Washington, D.C., along with eighteen other houses.    

  14. Smith College (Northampton, MA)


    Green activism is widespread on the Smith College campus. Smith’s PRAXIS program guarantees every student one-time funding for an unpaid internship. Many use this to pursue research and advocacy projects in sustainability. Another program, Smith Summer Research Fellows, funds student research with faculty and with organizations on sustainability and other related topics. A number of student environmental groups are active on campus. The student government has created two sustainability positions, and house governments elect sustainability reps for each residence. Students have the opportunity to tend to Smith’s organic community garden on campus. The administration shares the students’ passion for sustainability, and in its commitment to carbon neutrality by 2030, has created a new Center for Environment, Ecological Design and Sustainability, and an academic major in environmental science and policy. The administration has answered the students’ hunger for more sustainability by introducing concentrations in climate change and sustainable food. These address global issues of resource distribution, economics, and policy, and have capstones that focus on local solutions. Smith dining is self-operated and is focused on bringing local foods to the table by hiring a new Sustainability and Dining Manager. The Office of Campus Sustainability links student projects to campus operations. Solar panels installed on the Campus Center, indoor track and science buildings provide 2 percent of campus electricity. This electricity is augmented by power from the school’s high-efficiency, natural gas-fired 3.5-megawatt cogeneration plant, which provides 70 percent of campus electricity as well as steam used for heating and cooling. Smith is home to the world’s fifth fully certified Living Building at the McLeish Field Station, where students participate in hands-on research and humanities projects. Energy and other building resource use is available in an online dashboard at www.smith.edu/conserve. Many campus buildings have been retrofitted with energy-efficient lighting and controls, Ford Hall, the new science and engineering building is LEED Gold certified. New construction and renovation will be LEED Silver or better.    

  15. Stanford University (Stanford, CA)


     Stanford University allocated more than $900 million over the past few decades with significant return on investment in sustainability research, emission-reduction infrastructure, and energy efficiency projects for buildings. The campus recently released a comprehensive energy and climate plan that can “reduce the university’s GHG emissions at least 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2015 and enable an 18 percent savings in potable water consumption” despite Stanford’s nearly exponential growth. The plan targets high performance building design, resource conservation in existing buildings, and a greener energy supply. Further, energy retrofits of older buildings have resulted in an estimated savings of 176 million kilowatt hours of electricity—about eight months of Stanford's current use. Stanford’s recycling program (recognized by the EPA and a top contender in the RecycleMania) diverts 65 percent of its solid waste from landfills. Stanford’s Transportation Demand Management program (also recognized by the EPA) includes a “free bus system powered by biodiesel and diesel-electric hybrids; a commute club; free/ pre-tax passes on public transportation; car rental options; commute planning assistance; charter services; and a bike program.” As a result, “the percentage of Stanford employees driving alone to campus dropped from 72 to 46 percent” in the last decade. Additionally, the university participated in the Bay Area’s Bike to Work Day. With over 1,100 Stanford riders rolling to campus, an estimated 3,611 miles of car trips and over 3,400 pounds of emissions were avoided. A partner in the university’s $433 million Initiative on the Environment and Sustainability, the Woods Institute for the Environment offers an opportunity for students to research and create practical, interdisciplinary solutions to environmental challenges.

  16. State University Of New York–Stony Brook University (Stony Brook, NY)


     The State University of New York—Stony Brook University is a recognized leader in the field of green awareness and environmental sustainability. Through partnership and collaboration, the University implements sustainable solutions to mitigate impact on the natural environment. Recent achievements include the University being named a Tree Campus USA, Groundwater Foundation Green Site and Bicycle Friendly University. As a signatory of the ACUPCC, SBU manages an Office of Sustainability and also offers a Sustainability Studies program, which includes bachelor’s degrees in everything from coastal environmental studies to environmental humanities. Stony Brook University is home to a variety of buildings with green features, including the Advanced Energy Center, Frey Hall, Marine Sciences Research Center, Nobel Halls, Simons Center for Geometry & Physics, Walter J. Hawrys Student Recreation Center, Southampton Library and West Side Dining. The University utilizes a variety of solar and energy-efficient solutions, including solar powered shelter lighting, solar pay stations as well as LED lighting. The SBU Transit fleet operates using biodiesel, includes multiple electric/hybrid vehicles and enhanced mass transit services are available. In addition, SBU offers an automated bike share system that allows the community to access bicycles at solar powered stations, car sharing services and multiple electric vehicle charging stations. In June 2006, the University invested in facility infrastructure improvements that continue to reduce energy costs in excess of $4 million annually and has saved a total of $35 million since 2006-07. Recently, the University has partnered with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to create a campus Master Energy Plan. From this Plan, additional energy conservation projects will be identified and funded through utility savings. The University has gone paperless in many departments, and various recycling initiatives engage students, faculty and staff and generates more than 50 tons of recycled materials annually.    

  17. University of California–Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)


    UC Berkeley keeps tabs on its sustainability progress through yearly assessments that detail all aspects of the school’s environmental impact, including emissions from staff and student commuting, solid waste and recycling, air travel, and water usage. The school’s Office of Sustainability is charged with overseeing its Climate Action Plan, which details the progress to date and the future direction with regard to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Strategic Energy Plan documents the application of the $25 million the school has allocated to energy-efficient projects. In addition to this, UC Berkeley has taken a proactive approach to combating climate change by forming the Cal Climate Action Partnership, a coalition of students, faculty, and staff who are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions on campus to 1990 levels by 2014. UC Berkeley reached that goal in 2012, two years before the school’s own time line and eight years ahead of the state mandate. UC Berkeley has mounted an aggressive campaign to increase energy efficiency on campus by promoting sustainable transportation and ensuring that all new building and renovations be LEED-certified (not to mention diverting up to 90 percent of waste during construction). Additionally, more than 50 percent of major buildings have undergone an energy related retrofit in the last few years. UC Berkeley also reaches out to the campus community through newsletters, presentations, and student projects. With thirty-five environmentally focused clubs and groups on campus, including Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative, Boalt Environmental Law Society, and Building Sustainability @ Cal, the school’s efforts seem to be working.

  18. University of California–Irvine* (Irvine, CA)


    UC Irvine adopted a policy on Sustainable Practices back in 2004 in order to promote environmentally conscious construction and fixtures on campus. After signing the ACUPCC, the school completed a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and began pinpointing where to focus its environmental efforts. UC Irvine has determined that all new construction on campus must seek LEED Silver at a minimum. In fact, eight buildings on campus have achieved LEED Gold and eleven have achieved LEED Platinum. UC Irvine has installed a 1.2-megawatt DC solar power system, which is “expected to produce more than 24 million kilowatt hours (equivalent to offsetting 25.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide) over twenty years.” UC Irvine is also setting the example when it comes to alternative transportation. Through its initiatives, the campus reduces more than 43.6 million vehicle miles and 14,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. Even UC Irvine's Dining Services is working to combat wastefulness. A study was conducted showing trays caused 430 pounds of food waste per day. By eliminating trays, waste was reduced by 180 pounds in 2008. Through further education of students and employees, waste was reduced an additional 70 pounds in 2009. Since then, the total number of residents and meals served have increased dramatically. Waste per day at the dining commons is 237 pounds, but waste per person has continued to decrease significantly to 1.41 oz./person per meal.

  19. University of Maryland, College Park (College Park, MD)


    The University of Maryland—College Park, located in the D.C. metro area, has signed the ACUPCC, and published its Climate Action Plan. The Sustainability Studies minor is the school’s most popular minor. UMD works to integrate sustainability across the university curriculum, and the school has been recognized as a leader in the green movement by such organizations as the Maryland Green Registry, Climate Culture and Sierra Magazine and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education with a STARS Gold rating. The University Sustainability Council is in place to advise the president, the Office of Sustainability, and the campus community about issues related to the integration of sustainability into campus operations. UMD Dining Services has been a heavy participant in campus sustainability, leading the way with their expanding rooftop gardens, a sustainable food truck, a campus vegetable farm, and a campus food pantry. The student-led Food Recovery Network helps to salvage and donate unused leftovers. Many other green initiatives have been put into place across campus, including: a commitment to LEED Silver for new buildings; energy-conserving renovations; green roofs; an impressive storm water management system; low-flow faucets, toilets, and showerheads in dorms; water- and energy-efficient dishwashers used by dining services; a composting program; discontinued use of Styrofoam containers in favor of biodegradable ones; and use of water-conserving grass on the university’s golf course. Recycling is also a success story at UMD: The campus recycling rate has more than tripled since 2004. For students looking for a career in the green sector, there is the sustainability studies minor and the Career Center hosts an annual Green Jobs Fair to help students incorporate sustainability into their career plans.

  20. University Of New Hampshire (Durham, NH)


    University of New Hampshire boasts the oldest endowed sustainability program among colleges and universities nationwide, and it is this Sustainability Institute that has worked to develop “UNH’s unique sustainable learning community model” as well as promote sustainability locally, statewide, and regionally. UNH has a comprehensive Climate Education Initiative and is a member of the ACUPCC, both of which have propelled the campus to become the first institution of higher education in the United States to meet a significant portion of its energy needs with landfill gas. Talk about renewable: UNH is powering its campus with enriched and purified natural gas, courtesy of the local landfill, meaning that every bit of trash that ends up there ends up powering the school while lowering energy costs and decreasing environmental impact. UNH sells Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from this project and reinvests part of the proceeds back into energy efficiency initiatives on campus. Seventy percent of UNH”s heating and 28 percent of total energy are provided by renewable energy sources. UNH also extends its commitment to sustainability to local farms by being the first land grant university to have an organic dairy farm and education/research center. This dairy is an integral part of the university’s Food and Society Initiative, which seeks to both encourage healthy food production and consumption habits as well as support suppliers of local and organic foods. UNH offers a unique dual major in Eco-gastronomy for undergraduates that includes a study abroad component in Italy and France. UNH also offers sustainability internships that help interested students find work experience at sustainability-focused organizations in New Hampshire and beyond.

  21. University of Northern Iowa* (Cedar Falls, IA)


    Scope and sustainability go hand in hand at the University of Northern Iowa, as the university’s greening efforts go beyond campus borders to impact the entire state of Iowa. UNI’s Center for Energy and Environmental Education (CEEE) provides insight and direction on issues of energy conservation, renewable/alternative energy sources, local food systems, and sustainability to state organizations and businesses while providing opportunities for faculty and student research. The Iowa Waste Reduction Center addresses waste issues throughout the state and is in the midst of a regional program to build community and business composting infrastructure. On-campus, environmental issues are also tackled in the classroom with sustainability-focused courses offered in the fields of education, natural sciences, and social and behavioral sciences. UNI’s liberal arts core program incorporates the issue of sustainability and environmental responsibility within the curriculum and the capstone course “Environment, Technology, and Society” has specific modules devoted explicitly to the topic. UNI’s Green Plaza at the McLeod Center is a green roof project that acts to cool the air, reduce noise, prevent fire, conserve water and reduce storm water runoff. Dining services is also making a difference by eliminating the use of many disposable items, implementing refillable mug programs, and converting to centralized food processing to reduce waste. A local buying program reduces packaging and shipping waste and use of a primary local vendor for food and supplies results in the use of fewer delivery trucks. Currently, an impressive thirteen buildings are in the midst of a new, single-stream, recycling pilot program that is expected to dramatically increase campus waste diversion rates.

  22. University Of Vermont (Burlington, VT)


    With hometown Burlington known for its hippie vibe, and its location on the edge of a lake that touches not just two states but also two countries, it makes sense that the University of Vermont is known as a green campus. The UVM Environmental Program is forty years old and offers interdisciplinary and individually designed concentrations, including a track in Sustainability Studies. The Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources offers majors in forestry, wildlife and fisheries biology, and natural resources. Internships, class projects, and lectures—like the George D. Aiken Lecture Series on conservation topics—bring together campus and community members to increase awareness of and create solutions for environmental problems. UVM’s Office of Sustainability tracks environmental performance, recommends environmentally responsible practices, and works with the university community on environmental projects. Recent energy efficiency investments around campus have yielded millions of dollars in savings and helped the university move incrementally closer to its goal of carbon neutrality by 2025. Additionally, the university has developed a Clean Energy Fund which generates $225,000 each year from a dedicated student fee to support renewable energy projects on campus—ideas for such projects come from the university community. Much of the advanced research performed on campus relates to healthy and sustainable communities, and the Office of Community-University Partnerships and Service Learning supports collaborative projects between the university and the surrounding area. Fall and spring career fairs emphasize green jobs and internship opportunities. UVM is home to two environmentally focused residence halls. Student activism has ended sales of bottled water and supported the university’s participation in the Real Food Challenge.

  23. University of Washington (Seattle, WA)


     As you would expect of a university surrounded by one of the nation’s greatest forests, the University of Washington (UW) takes sustainability seriously and promotes ecologically sound practices. Its sustainability goals involve reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving natural resources, measuring and reporting activities, and increasing interdisciplinary collaboration to foster sustainability in research and curriculum. The number of LEED-certified buildings on campus has more than doubled since 2010, with thirteen more in the works. The most recent, the Husky Union Building (HUB), features water use reduction, chemical and pollutant control, optimized energy performance, and reducing heat island effects. Recycling and composting is a way of life at the UW. Its comprehensive waste reduction program provides education, infrastructure and services to minimize waste and maximize reuse. Through these efforts, the UW currently diverts 61 percent of its total waste away from landfills toward organizations that give materials a second life. To reduce utility costs and increase energy efficiency, UW has installed solar panels, retrofit fixtures and replaced 1,800 inefficient toilets. Savings include an estimated 50 million gallons of water annually, avoided costs of nearly $50 million over ten years from all energy conservation efforts. Fifty-three percent of food served on campus is organic, local or fair trade. The university also has a fleet of more than 400 alternative-fuel vehicles. The four-part Climate of Change video series (https://green.uw.edu/climate-of-change) explores the University of Washington's sustainability efforts in the areas of research, teaching, co-curricular programs, and campus operations. Students are the heart of sustainability on campus. The UW encourages student engagement in sustainability through its Climate Action Plan, outreach efforts, curriculum, research grants, internships and more. Students participate in sustainability-related projects, events, clubs, and even initiated a student fee, called the Campus Sustainability Fund, that goes toward student-led campus projects with environmental impact. In 2013, the UW established the Green Seed Fund, which provides grants for faculty, students and staff research projects that contribute to campus sustainability goals. The UW maintains a culture of sustainability so that students learn by example and actively contribute to global change, in college and beyond.    

  24. Willamette University (Salem, OR)


    Willamette shares a robust vision of sustainability through its “Four E’s” approach: “Education,” teaching ecological literacy; “Environment,” creating a smaller ecologic footprint; “Equity,” social justice; and “Economics,” sustainable campus operations. The university recently formed its Sustainability Institute and hired a full-time director to administer a host of academic, co-curricular and operational initiatives. This includes management of Willamette’s 305-acre Zena Forest property. At Zena, students take advantage of diverse experiences and research opportunities — from sustainable forestry to art, writing, astrophysics and more. One student built a wind turbine. Others worked with a professor to write a book about the history of Zena Forest. Another used Zena’s observatory to study a pulsating star. Students are working now on interpretive maps for visitors. Students can borrow outdoor gear, check out a bike from the on-campus bike shop, join a range of clubs involved in environmental and social justice issues, and apply for funding to support their own projects or research interests. A Flex Car program encourages students to use alternate modes of transportation, and the plentiful, student-led Campus Recreation trips use school vans. With so much happening on and near campus, many students forego personal vehicles altogether while attending. Willamette is dedicated to decreasing its carbon footprint. The newest campus building is LEED-certified, and the university is accredited by Oregon Tilthe for its sustainable landscaping practices. Recent eco-friendly installations include a range of energy efficient lighting and utility upgrades, photo-voltaic panels, solar hot water heating, rainwater reclamation for flushing toilets, low-flow plumbing fixtures, water bottle filling stations and the use of wind power offsets.