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Business and Policy Areas
Business and Policy Areas

153 Campuses Named "Cool Schools"

August 25, 2015

More than 150 four-year colleges and universities recently garnered the designation as one of the "greenest" in the country in a new ranking from environmental magazine SIERRA.   

The list, known alternately as "America's Greenest Universities" and "Cool Schools 2015," ranks participating higher education institutions on an array of initiatives related to sustainability, including those in campus energy, investments, food, innovation, academics, planning, purchasing, transport, waste, and water.   

Institutions had to voluntarily complete a survey through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education's (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) site to be considered for the list. Out of 153 schools, Sierra determined these to be the top 10 "greenest:"

1.            University of California, Irvine
2.            University of California, Davis
3.            University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh
4.            Colorado State University
5.            Oberlin College
6.            University of Connecticut
7.            University of California - San Diego
8.            University of Washington
9.            Lewis & Clark College
10.          University of California, Berkeley

But while each of the schools included on the list has made great strides in sustainability, Sierra notes there remains "room for improvement." In the survey, institutions could garner up to 1,000 points, and  the highest on the list-the University of California-Irvine-earned 859.75.

"Our results suggest that while many universities are making admirable progress, no school has yet attained complete sustainability," SIERRA notes.

All four-year, degree-granted undergraduate colleges and universities can participate for free in the annual ranking process. The survey on sustainable practices is online through at AASHE's STARS website.

If your institution is interested in gauging your campus elements but not prepared to participate in the extensive AASHE survey, check out the APPA/NACUBO Key Facilities Metrics Survey. For a second year, NACUBO members can answer five questions on BTU and electrical (energy), waste (recycled and garbage), water, and carbon footprint. The survey is available now and will remain open through Dec. 14, 2015.


Sally Grans Korsh
Director, Facilities Management and Environmental Policy