Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sierra's Top 100 Cool Schools

Sierra's fourth annual Coolest Schools survey was sent to 900 colleges and universities across the United States. A total of 162 schools responded to the questionnaire and detailed their sustainability efforts.

This year, after consulting the Club's conservation experts, Sierra shifted the weighting of its survey question. The new ranking system now gives more weight to each school's energy supply. That adjustment caused a significant reorganization of the schools in the list compared to last year.

Although energy supply carried the most significance, nine other categories were considered in measuring a school's commitment to sustainability: efficiency, food, academics, purchasing, transportation, waste management, administration, financial investments, and a catchall section titled "other initiatives." No school scored a perfect 100; Green Mountain came closest, with 88.6.

1. Green Mountain College (Poultney, VT) Score: 88.6
GMC excels in most categories, and it's the MVP when it comes to creativity. The campus gets power and heat from biomass and biogas and plans to be carbon-neutral by next year.

2. Dickinson College (Carlisle, PA) Score: 86.1
Dickinson integrates sustainability studies across its curricula, maintains a high-efficiency energy plant, and runs a hands-on biodiesel shop.

3. Evergreen State College (Olympia, WA) Score: 85.9
The student body's self-imposed clean-energy fee enables Evergreen to purchase renewable-energy credits for 100 percent of its electricity.

4. University of Washington (Seattle, WA) Score: 84.7
UW's annual solutions-oriented Environmental Innovation Challenge, which teams students from disparate departments, represents interdisciplinary eco-thinking at its best.

5. Stanford University (Stanford, CA) Score: 84.6
Stanford's $225 million Global Climate and Energy Project focuses on diverse cutting-edge technologies to help lower carbon dioxide emissions.

6. University of California, Irvine (Irvine, CA) Score: 84.4
Incentives for alternative transportation minimize car commuting to UCI, even though it's in SUV-obsessed Orange County.

7. Northland College (Ashland, WI) Score: 84.2
Northland's 12-year-old, pre-LEED McLean Environmental Living and Learning Center has composting toilets, low-flow water fixtures, solar panels, and a wind turbine.

8. Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) Score: 82.8
America's oldest college invests in the future with a revolving fund that loans money for recycling and solar projects. Payback comes in the form of efficiency savings.

9. College of the Atlantic (Bar Harbor, ME) Score: 82.5
A sustainable-business curriculum and an affiliated "venture incubator" encourage eco-entrepreneurs.

10. Hampshire College (Amherst, MA) Score: 82.4
Hampshire's responsible-investing committee, one of the oldest in the country, aims to make the school's endowment benefit the environment.

11. [Tie] University of California, Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA) Score: 82
The UCSC Banana Slugs have an impressive 73 percent waste-diversion rate and plan to reach 100 percent by 2020.

11. [Tie] Middlebury College (Middlebury, VT) Score: 82
A team of ambitious undergrads made the finals of the prestigious, tech-heavy 2011 Solar Decathlon, a notable feat for a small liberal-arts school.

13. University of Colorado, Boulder (Boulder, CO) Score: 81.9
A national environmental leader, CU Boulder is the home of the influential Center of the American West, a think tank that addresses Western land and energy issues.

14. Warren Wilson College (Asheville, NC) Score: 81.8
Warren Wilson gets more than a third of its food from farms within 500 miles of campus--including from its own six-acre organic garden.

15. University of California, San Diego (San Diego, CA) Score: 81.6
UCSD's dining halls offer "Meatless Mondays" to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. No matter what day it is, 35 percent of the school's cafeteria food is organic.

16. [TIE] University of California, Davis (Davis, CA) Score: 81.2
Davis students can learn ecologically viable farming methods by majoring in sustainable agriculture and food systems.

16. [TIE] University of Vermont (Burlington, VT) Score: 81.2
Over the past decade, UVM has cut its number of car commuters by half, thanks to incentives for students who use alternative transportation.

18. University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) Score: 80.7
By awarding grants to faculty and students for innovative sustainability proposals, Penn spurs competition to help execute its climate action plan.

19. New York University (New York, NY) Score: 80.6
NYU plans to install a 6,500-square-foot green roof atop its 11-story Stern School of Business, in Greenwich Village.

20. Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA) Score: 80.5
Georgia Tech has a full-time alternative-transportation manager and is constructing a million-gallon cistern to reduce its stormwater runoff by 30 percent.

21. Cornell University
22. Colorado College
23. Oberlin College
23. Oregon State University
25. UCLA
26. Yale University
27. Portland State University
28. Princeton University
29. Furman University
30. Smith College
31. Pomona College
32. UC Berkeley
33. University of New Hampshire
34. Arizona State University
35. Marlboro College
36. University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
37. Brown University
38. Macalester College
39. UC Merced
40. UNC-Chapel Hill
41. Colorado State University
42. Emory University
43. Washington University in St. Louis
44. UC Santa Barbara
45. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
46. Bowdoin College
47. University of Michigan
48. Western Washington University
49. Boston University
50. University of Connecticut
51. Wellesley College
52. Willamette University
53. Villanova University
54. Duke University
55. Pacific Lutheran University
56. University of Louisville
57. DePaul University
58. George Washington University
59. Naropa University
60. Seattle University
61. Williams College
62. Northern Arizona University
63. Bard College
64. Carnegie Mellon University
65. Sterling College
66. Dartmouth College
67. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
68. State University of New York At Binghamton
69. University of La Verne
70. San Francisco State University
71. Colby College
72. Case Western Reserve University
73. Point Loma Nazarene University
74. Western State College of Colorado
75. Rochester Institute of Technology
76. Whitman College
77. Lewis & Clark College
78. Swarthmore College
79. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
80. Humboldt State University
81. Drexel University
82. University of Florida
83. Mills College
84. Elon University
85. Hamilton College
86. University of Idaho
87. Amherst College
88. Metropolitan State College of Denver
89. Central Michigan University
90. Hobart & William Smith Colleges
91. Allegheny College
92. University of Missouri-Kansas City
93. Appalachian State University
94. University of Georgia
95. Bentley University
96. Southern Oregon University
97. Knox College
98. Montclair State University
99. Augsburg College
100. University of San Diego

To see of a list of all 162 schools go to Sierra's Cool School Rankings.

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