One thing that really stood out in this year's Princeton Review college rankings was the inception of a new category: Greenest Colleges.
Ratings in the category of Greenest Colleges are based upon the environmental practices, policies, and academic offerings of a college. What it basically measures is how environmentally friendly the college is.
Data collection survey and methodology in the ranking of the Greenest Colleges cover three broad areas:
- Whether students at the college have a quality of life on campus that is healthy and sustainable.
- How well the college prepares its students for employment and citizenship in a world defined by environmental challenges.
- The college's overall commitment to environmental issues.
The survey for the rating, sent out to colleges across the nation, included questions on energy use, recycling, food, buildings, transportation, future plans on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and environmentally related degrees and courses the college offers.
How the Princeton Review ratings work is each school is given a score between 60 and 99 in each category within the ranking. What happened in this inaugural year of the Greenest Colleges ranking is that eleven schools all tied with a score of 99. The rankings are based on data collected from schools in the 2007-2008 academic year.
Green Rating Honor Roll
Arizona State University
- Arizona State offers degree programs that advance practical solutions to environmental, economic, and social challenges.
- Their Biodesign Institute earned a top rating from the US Green Building Council, receiving platinum certification for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) marking the first time a building in Arizona has received the platinum award.
- Bates was named a Campus Sustainability Leader by the Sustainable Endowments Institute in 2007.
- Zipcar and bike share programs are available to faculty, staff, and students, helping reduce pollution.
- Bates sets aside 28% of its food budget for local, natural, and organic purchases.
College of the Atlantic
- All of COA’s electricity comes from renewable hydropower; new buildings and some old are heated via renewable wood pellets.
- Their new student residence has composting toilets, triple-paned windows, metered showers, grey water pre-heats, and construction that immediately reduces the heating load.
- Sustainability is identified as a top priority of the university.
- All new buildings are built to LEED standards, with an emphasis on energy and water conservation.
Georgia Institute of Technology
- The Georgia Institute of Technology has a goal that every student take at least one of more than the 100 courses that have an emphasis on sustainability.
- Holds an annual Green Cup challenge, an inter-House competition to determine the most environmentally conscious house on campus. Houses are judged on certain criteria, such as energy conservation, recycling and waste reduction, eco-projects, and participation in campus sustainability.
- Harvard established a $12 million revolving green campus loan fund to provide interest free loans to anyone at Harvard that has a green campus project.
State University of New York at Binghamton
- Nearly 70% of Binghamton University’s 900-acre campus is in its natural state. The majority of this undeveloped land is officially designated nature preserve, encompassing 182 acres of land, including a 20 acre wetland.
University of New Hampshire
- In January 2009 the University of New Hampshire will become the first university in the U.S. to use landfill gas as its primary (80–85%) energy source. The project, called EcoLine, will lower energy costs, provide energy security, and reduce the campus's greenhouse gas emissions an estimated 57% below 1990 levels.
University of Oregon
- From LEED-certified buildings to cutting-edge research, Oregon boasts a longstanding commitment to environmental issues and sustainability.
- The University of Oregon offers more than 200 sustainability related courses.
University of Washington
- All new campus buildings will meet at least the LEED Silver standard.
- The University of Washington's food services emphasize local organic foods and are working toward a zero-waste goal, composting post-consumer waste, and by offering dishware that is compostable.
- Yale is using solar, wind, and geothermal energy produced on campus to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. Energy conservation measures include setting thermostats higher in summer and lower in winter, using biofuels in vehicles, and giving incentives to employees who live near campus or carpool.