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The Tempe campus has the largest collection of energy-providing solar panels on a single U.S. university campus. ASU subsidizes bus and light rail passes for all students and employees and offers car-sharing and a carpool program with special parking privileges. A student-run bicycle co-op offers low- or no-cost bike repairs and free bike rentals.
COA has been carbon neutral since 2007. All electricity comes from renewable hydropower; new buildings and some old are cleanly heated via renewable wood pellets. An organic Beech Hill Farm (partially powered by a wind turbine, thanks to student effort) offers organic produce to campus, local schools and food banks. Recycling bins are in every office, composting bins in every kitchen and composting toilets in all new buildings.
Evergreen has purchased a fleet of electric cars to replace many of its gasoline and diesel vehicles. Evergreen students pay a self-imposed clean energy fee to ensure that 100 percent of the college’s electricity comes from renewable sources. The school has also reduced its landfill waste by more than 97,000 pounds since 2008.
In 2008, Georgia Tech was recognized as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. Besides using environmentally friendly hand soap, paper products, cleaning equipment and other supplies, Georgia Tech requires that all vendors provide green products. The Institute’s cleaning equipment uses 70 percent less water and 90 percent less chemicals than traditional equipment. To further conserve water resources, Georgia Tech’s dining halls initiated a trayless system. The Institute’s inaugural football game day recycling program collected nearly 12 tons of aluminum cans and glass and plastic bottles from home game attendees.
Harvard’s goal is to reduce emissions 30% below a 2006 baseline by 2016. Harvard now has 62 building projects in process toward achieving LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, a 55% recycling rate, renewable energy projects on campus, composting in residential and commercial dining halls, organic landscaping in Harvard Yard, and a drive-alone rate of only 16.5%.
At Northeastern University, a campus-wide installation of 70,000 low wattage T-8 fluorescent lamps was recently completed that will reduce carbon emissions by 686 tons annually. Over 8% of buildings under University operational control are now LEED Gold certified. NU’s International Village was awarded LEED Gold certification in 2010. IV's college dining facility was the first in the U.S. to earn both the 3-star certified Green Restaurant® distinction and LEED Gold status. As a result of “Compost Here”, an aggressive food composting initiative formerly known as “Project Clean Plate” approximately 594 tons of dining hall service and catering food waste were composted in 2009. Northeastern's recycling program started over 20 years ago and has expanded to include thirteen different categories of collected items, including asphalt and construction materials.
Northland’s environmentally-conscious residence hall, the McLean Environmental Living and Learning Center, was a model of excellence for green building before LEED existed. The college has committed to obtaining LEED Silver certification on all new buildings on campus. Northland has two wind towers, numerous solar panels, geothermal heat in the campus center and library, and furniture made from recycled materials. Students have even built a campus building that is entirely off the grid, using locally-produced materials. Northland’s dining services offer sustainably-harvested seafood, organic and fair trade options, free-range meat, and plenty of non-meat options. Dining services provides each student with a free mug, and offers drink discounts when they reuse it.
State University of New York at Binghamton: An energy conservation contest pits residential communities against one another to see who can reduce energy consumption the most over a nine-week period. The 2009 contest resulted in a 7.5 percent overall reduction in electricity consumption. Each year approximately 2,500 pounds of compostable waste is collected around campus. Binghamton either recycles or composts more than 90 percent of its current service ware.
Unity College goes by the moniker “America’s Environmental College.” It derives 100 percent of its energy from renewable energy sources, all of its grounds are maintained organically, and it uses only Green Seal-certified cleaning products. The president and his wife live on campus in the Unity House, which is built from local wood and recycled building materials. The house uses solar energy for electricity and hot water, and has zero net-energy consumption and carbon emissions.
University of California–Berkeley has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2014 (six year sooner than the rest of California). To meet this target the campus will complete over 200 energy efficiency projects. The university’s primary food service operator was the first in the country to receive organic certification, and organic salad bars are now a staple at campus dining facilities. Berkeley has more than 80 academic degrees, 90 research centers, and 25 student-run organizations with an environmental focus. Student projects have reduced energy consumption by over 8.5 million kWh and water usage by 3 million gallons. UC Berkeley publicly reports its sustainability metrics each year.
University of California–Santa Barbara’s sustainability goals are ambitious: to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and to be carbon neutral by 2050. Home to the most LEED-certified buildings in the UC system (six), all new construction at UCSB must meet LEED Silver standards. Through HVAC and lighting retrofits, delamping, and campaigns like “Flex Your Power,” the campus has decreased its electrical consumption by 31 percent and its natural gas consumption by 23 percent since 1998. UCSB’s Custodial Services department uses only Green Seal-certified products, and its Housing and Residential Services department heads an extensive waste reduction program that includes recycling used cooking oil for biofuel, composting food waste, and purchasing local and/or organic foods.
University of California—Santa Cruz has been awarded several honors in recognition of its sustainability efforts, including making the top ten of the Sierra Club’s Coolest (i.e. greenest) Schools list. The EPA ranks the campus among the top ten green power purchasing colleges, and faculty and students have won a number of awards for specific sustainability-focused projects and research. The campus boasts a 70 percent waste diversion rate and gets 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources.
The University of Georgia has taken aggressive steps to conserve water on campus, such as installing rain gardens, planting native species, installing low-flow toilets and showerheads, recycling water in research labs, and even limiting flushes in stadium bathrooms during football games. The result of this “Every Drop Counts” campaign is that water use on campus is down 30 percent. More than 100 members of the UGA faculty have joined together to create the Academy of the Environment, “a venue for cross-disciplinary collaboration in research, graduate and undergraduate training, and public education and outreach.”
The University of Maine provides free bicycles to be used by faculty, staff, students, and even visitors not affiliated with the school. Old bikes are donated by members of the community, refurbished by student groups, and placed around campus. A free shuttle also takes students from campus to downtown Orono. The university has made a commitment to avoid sprawl, restore local habitats, and achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. UM’s new student orientation includes sustainability programming, and Eco Reps in residence halls coordinate recycling programs and lead other environmental initiatives. UM recycles over 500 tons of paper products per year, and every office and classroom has at least one paper-recycling bin. All new buildings on campus must meet LEED Silver standards, and existing buildings are going green—two are already outfitted with residential-scale solar thermal systems.
University of Maryland—College Park’s recycling rate increased from 17 percent in 2003 to an impressive 50 percent in 2008. In October 2009, the university was named “America’s Greenest Campus” by Climate Culture for having the largest number of campus community members register to calculate their carbon footprint, which brought a $5,000 prize to student organizers to support sustainability on campus. A new University Sustainability Council is spearheading new green efforts on campus, including a commitment to LEED Silver standards for new buildings, energy-conserving renovations, a green roof, low-flow faucets, toilets, and showerheads in dorms, water- and energy-efficient dishwashers used by dining services, a composting program, discontinued use of styrofoam containers in favor of biodegradable ones, and use of water-conserving grass on the university’s golf course.
Warren Wilson College was one of the first in the country to institute on-campus recycling in the 1980s. Much of the food served by the school’s dining halls comes from an on-campus farm and garden. An Environmental Leadership Center provides sustainability-focused events and opportunities for both students and the local community, including a regular radio program broadcast on Asheville’s WPVM. Among the residence halls on campus is the LEED Platinum EcoDorm built by student teams with wood that was repurposed or sustainably harvested on campus. The dorm also features solar panel window awnings, compost toilets, a rainwater catchment system that helps irrigate the adjacent garden, and many other waste-minimizing features.
WVU’s trayless dining initiative has reduced waste in dining halls by 42 percent. Excess food is donated to charities, and used cooking oil is sent to a biodiesel processor. WVU promotes student involvement in campus sustainability through events like Ecolympics, a competition between residence halls to conserve the most energy and recycle the most waste. Last year, the two winning buildings reduced energy consumption by 20 percent and recycled more than 2500 pounds of waste. During WVU’s A-WEAR-ness campaign, students collect bags of clothing and donate them to the homeless. Over 1,700 bags of clothing were collected for this project in one year.
Yale has implemented solar and wind projects to provide renewable energy. It also has its own co-generation power plant and is building another. Kroon Hall, the new home of its school of Forestry & Environmental Studies is a model of energy-saving design and is expected to earn a LEED Platinum certification. The Yale Sustainable Food Project directs a sustainable dining program, manages an organic farm and runs diverse educational programs.