Skip to content Menu

A record-high number of colleges and universities were ranked on this year’s Sierra Magazine Cool Schools list.

The list was created with assistance from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and used participating institutions’ valid Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment & Ratings System (STARS) scores as the basis for evaluation. Upon receiving STARS scores from AASHE, Sierra ranked submissions across 18 weighted categories including curriculum, research, energy, and innovation.

The top 10 institutions, most of which are NACUBO members, are as follows:

  1. University of California, Irvine
  2. Stanford University (CA)
  3. Thompson Rivers University (BC)
  4. Arizona State University
  5. University of California, Merced
  6. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  7. Colorado State University
  8. University of Connecticut
  9. University of New Hampshire
  10. Colby College (ME)

The University of Massachusetts Lowell, a newcomer to the Cool Schools top 20, also was one of four NACUBO member institutions to share their efforts and success as part of NACUBO’s 2020 Campus Efficiencies Posters.

In addition to celebrating sustainability successes in higher education, the report suggests there is still significant room for improvement. None of the top 10 institutions scored in the 90s out of the magazine’s 100 possible points, indicating that work still can be done.


Neil Gavigan

Policy and Advocacy Manager


Related Content

New EPA Report Includes Solar and Wind Energy Use in Higher Education

While the use of on-site renewable energy systems for commercial buildings has greatly increased in the last decade, higher education still appears to be lagging behind its counterparts in sustainable energy generation.

IRS Seeks Comments on New Energy Credits

The Department of the Treasury and the IRS have issued six notices asking for public comments on various aspects of extensions and enhancements of energy tax benefits enacted in the Inflation Reduction Act. The credits offer new opportunities for colleges and universities to invest in renewable energy.

Treasury and IRS Propose Guidance on IRA Prevailing Wage and Apprenticeship Rules

For organizations and institutions interested in claiming bonus amounts of federal tax benefits for clean energy and green building projects under the Inflation Reduction Act, the Treasury Department and the IRS have proposed regulations detailing the requirements, correction processes, and penalties related to the wage and apprenticeship provisions in the act.