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Back You are here: Home Renewables Water Power All News Business Sierra Club names ‘greenest, coolest’ schools in U.S.

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Sierra Club names ‘greenest, coolest’ schools in U.S.

Sierra Club names ‘greenest, coolest’ schools in U.S.
The University of Washington campus runs three farms and an extensive recycling program. Pictured above are students tending to their cabbage crop. Photo by University of Washington/Mary Levin

In time with the opening of the 2011-2012 school year, the Sierra Club released the names of the United States' "Coolest Schools," universities and colleges that execute the most notable actions to solve climate change issues and promote sustainability.

The list, released for the fifth time this year by the San Francisco-based grassroots environmental organization through its magazine Sierra, named the University of Washington in Seattle as 2011's top green school.

University of Washington was commended for sourcing 90 percent of its energy from hydropower.

Since 2006, every building completed in the university has earned a gold certification from the United States Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

The university also provides students and faculty with departments and programs that focus on environmental responsibility, including the Center for Sustainable Forestry at Pack Forest, the Alaska Salmon Program, and the Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health.

Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont took the second spot for sourcing almost half of its energy from cow manure.

The school gets the renewable energy from Central Vermont Cow Power, a utility that harnesses biogas from manure.

University of California, San Diego placed third with a cogeneration plant that provides up to 85 percent of the school's electricity and heats over 6 million square feet of the campus' building interiors.

The plant has also earned for the university the Environmental Protection Agency's 2010 Energy Star award.

Solar panels

The campus also incorporates solar panels for shade and power at their Hopkins parking structure.

Warren Wilson College (North Carolina); Stanford University; the Universities of California in Irvine, Santa Cruz, and Davis; Evergreen State College (Washington); and Middlebury College (Vermont) round up the top ten of the list.

"When students take what they've learned in the classroom and proceed to get their hands dirty in the real world, they realize the potential they have to make a difference," said Bob Sipchen, Sierra magazine's editor-in-chief.

"We're thrilled to highlight these forward-thinking schools for emphasizing environmental responsibility, and for teaching, inspiring, and empowering students to affect real change," said Mr. Sipchen.

According to a 2010 Princeton Review report, 64 percent of prospective college students consider a university's commitment to environmental issues when deciding where to enroll, reflecting that students care about green issues and are attracted to institutions that work hard to solve environmental problems.

Princeton Review, known for its education services of helping students choose and get in to colleges, also released recently its own list of the year's greenest colleges.

The review's fourth yearly Green Ratings of colleges measures how environmentally friendly institutions are, in a scale of 60 to 99. From this list, the review named 16 colleges to its "2012 Green Rating Honor Roll".

The University of Washington in Seattle, the University of California in Santa Cruz, and Warren Wilson College also made it into the Princeton Review's top 16 green schools list. (Jen Balboa)



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