UConn Recognized as One of the Most Eco-Friendly Campuses on Earth

In a sustainability survey of 178 universities from 42 countries, UConn ranked third.

Photo of a light bulb in a plant pot with the UConn logo representing going green.

Photo of a light bulb in a plant pot with the UConn logo representing going green.

The grass is greener at UConn, at least according to the GreenMetric World Universities Ranking of sustainability sponsored by Universitas Indonesia.

In the second year of the survey, 178 universities from 42 countries submitted entries. For calendar year 2011, Nottingham University in the United Kingdom was ranked first with a score of 8,033.54, followed by Boston’s Northeastern University (7,981.46) and the University of Connecticut (7,708.02).

Richard Miller, UConn’s director of environmental policy, says, “It’s encouraging to see that UConn is ranked among the greenest universities in the world. You look at the company we’re keeping at the top of this list, and we can be proud that UConn is emerging as a true leader for its environmental policies, practices, and sustainability initiatives. We realize, as the survey results also show, that there are still many areas for improvement, but we’re definitely headed in the right direction.”

Results are computed from information submitted online by the universities. Institutions are assessed on a range of metrics, including energy management, sustainability-related scholarship, the proportion of green space on campus, and the application of eco-sustainability policies and efforts.

Each category is weighted and the weightings are used to calculate the relative importance of the scores in each category. This is the first sustainability ranking that makes it possible for universities in developing countries to match their ‘green’ efforts against universities in developed counties.

Miller comments, “Many of the schools in this survey are in the developing world and face unusually difficult challenges when it comes to implementing campus sustainability programs. My hope is that we might be able to use this #3 ranking to help, advise, and mentor other colleges around the world, especially through our involvement in Universitas 21. We certainly all need to be working together to solve environmental problems like global climate change.”

Miller says the Office of Environmental Policy is working with operational and academic units to advance several campus-wide sustainability activities that will come to fruition in 2012, including the installation and start-up of a clean-energy, 400kW fuel cell that will take UConn’s Depot Campus off the energy grid; rollout of UConn’s first all-electric fleet vehicle for campus deliveries, replacing a petroleum diesel truck; and installation and use of in-kitchen composting units at two additional campus dining halls. In addition, construction will be completed on UConn’s reclaimed water facility, which will replace the use of potable water for cooling purposes at the Storrs campus central utilities/cogeneration plant.

Other activities in the planning stages are a series of events entitled “Climate Impact, Mitigation, and Adaptation: A Reflection on Our Future” which will be held March 26-29, and the University’s annual Earth Day Spring Fling scheduled for April 19.

UConn has also been selected by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and The Princeton Review as one of America’s top rated Green Colleges. The University will be profiled in the 2012 Guide to Green Colleges, which will be published on Earth Day, April 22, and distributed worldwide via the USGBC, The Princeton Review, and USA Today websites.