Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sierra Magazine's Top 10 Green Schools

Sierra Magazine's third annual list of “Cool Schools,” reviews the top 10 greenest colleges and universities. Sierra's top schools were assessed in ten categories: building policies, energy, food, investment, procurement, transportation; curriculum, activism, waste management and overall commitment to sustainability.

1. Oberlin College: A third of the food served in its dining halls is produced locally, the school hosts the first car-sharing program in Ohio, student activity fees subsidize public transportation, and half of its electricity comes from green sources. A real-time monitoring system tracks 17 dorms and displays the levels of electricity being consumed. Last spring Oberlin held its first ecofriendly commencement, with biodegradable utensils and programs printed on 100 percent recycled paper.

Visit Oberlin's Office of Environmental Sustainability.

2. Harvard University: A front-runner in getting the most structures certified by or registered for the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. A $12 million loan fund provides interest-free financing for ecofriendly projects—such as installing motion-sensor lights in classrooms and converting a recycling truck to run on waste vegetable oil from one of the dining halls. Such efforts generate enough savings to pay back the loan.

Check out Harvard's Green Campus Initiative.

3. Warren Wilson College: A sustainably managed farm, garden, and forest that provide food and lumber for the campus; streetlamps that reduce light pollution; and community service as an integral part of the curriculum.

Explore the campus sustainability initiatives at Warren Wilson College.

4. University of California: The University of California has pledged to generate ten megawatts of renewable power by 2014, increase use of low- to zero-emission vehicles by 50 percent by 2010, and achieve zero waste by 2020 at its ten campuses. While UC Davis improves its agricultural sustainability, UCLA fights gridlock with a bicycle master plan that has increased ridership by 50 percent. The newest campus, UC Merced, received the second-highest LEED rating for its first building complex; the oldest, UC Berkeley, has a certified organic kitchen in one of its dining halls and a new major in society and environment.

Read about agricultural and environmental stewardship at the University of California.

5. Duke University: The Blue Devils are turning green, mandating certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for all new construction, improving on-campus bike trails, collecting 17 types of recyclables, and pouring money into wind and small hydropower projects.

Read about environmental sustainability at Duke.

6. Middlebury College: Students lobbied hard for the $11 million biomass plant now being built, which will be a big player in making Middlebury College carbon neutral by 2016. They've also convinced residence halls to lower their thermostats two degrees in the winter; exchanged more than 2,000 incandescent lightbulbs for energy-efficient ones; and worked with the college's ski facility, the Snow Bowl, to offset its carbon dioxide emissions. Wood used in on-campus construction comes from sustainable, local forestry operations, and a ten-kilowatt wind turbine provides power to Middlebury's recycling facility, which has helped divert more than 55 percent of the college's waste since 1994.

Check out Middlebury's environmental affairs site.

7. Berea College: Ecovillage is the school's housing complex for students and their families, it incorporates passive-solar design elements, heavy-duty insulation, efficient appliances and fixtures, and rainwater collection. Dining-hall menus feature campus-raised produce and meat to the new solar array on the roof of the Alumni Memorial Building.

Visit Berea's Sustainability and Environmental Studies department.

8.Pennsylvania State University: A system-wide goal of LEED certification of all new buildings, a $10 million annual investment in retrofitting and efficiency, and a 17.5 percent decrease in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2012.

Visit the Center for Sustainability at Penn State.

9. Tufts University: Home of the first university environmental policy in the country, this OG (original green) school keeps itself current with solar panels on its newest residence hall, energy-saving motion sensors on campus vending machines, and an electric tractor to mow its organically tended baseball field.

Read about sustainability efforts at Tufts.

10. Carnegie Mellon University: The school has student-designed green roofs on several buildings, the country's first ecofriendly dorm, and a collaborative research center with a modular raised-floor system that doubles the amount of fresh air circulating in the building.

Explore Carnegie Mellon's Green Practices.


Related Articles
The Shining Stars of Green Schools
Green Schools are Cool
Princeton's Green Schools Honor Role
Back to School Environmental Tool Kit
Green Curriculums
Top 10 College Environmental Programs
Back to School (2008)
Back to School Mobile Marketing Campaigns

No comments: