Universities and other institutes of higher learning are some of the leaders in the clean energy initiative across the United States. This may not come as a surprise, since a number of breakthroughs in clean energy in recent years have come from the research departments of top universities. However, a number of university administrations have gone above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to making their campuses more efficient and green.
These institutes of higher education deserve special marks for their commitment to green energy.
College of the Atlantic: This small Maine college offers only one area of study: ecology. As such, it makes sense that it is one of the greenest in the United States. College of the Atlantic is dedicated to land preservation and and conservation, and it was the first university in the country to go carbon neutral.
Warren Wilson College: Warren Wilson College is unique in that it is almost completely self-sustaining. Lumber and food come from the college’s private gardens, and a massive recycling program means that many materials are reused.
Evergreen State College: This small college in Washington state uses green energy and electric vehicles. A large on-campus organic farm is open to all students who want to learn about sustainable food.
Oberlin College: Oberlin is the largest of the top five green colleges. An innovative computer system monitors the use of energy and water everywhere on campus to cut down on waste and overuse. The system has led to both monetary and environmental savings.
Middlebury College: Middlebury college makes conserving energy fun with frequent energy saving competitions between dorms. In this way, students are encouraged to make saving energy and water a normal part of their everyday lives.
Berea College: Berea College in Kentucky hosts the innovative “Ecovillage,” a project put in place with the ultimate goal of reducing the college’s energy and water use by 75 percent. Solar and wind energy, heavy insulation, and rainwater collectors are all part of the project.
University of California: UCLA is the first large state university on the list. Though it is limited in the steps it can take compared to small private colleges, it has still made a number of advances in green living. The college uses 10 MW of renewable energy, and has boosted the number of low emissions vehicles in its fleet by 50 percent.
Harvard University: Harvard has chosen to go ultra-modern in its attempt to become a green university. Motion censors and other devices cut down on energy usage. In addition, the college has been working on a generator system that runs on vegetable oil from the school kitchen.
Duke University: Duke University is one of the best schools in the country for green building. New structures on campus are constructed out of recycled materials, and all future buildings are required to be certified by the US Green Building Council.
California State University: Solar panels, energy saving software, and green buildings all worked together to earn this California college the National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology Chill Out contest.
While knowing where potential universities stand on sustainable energy is probably not your only consideration when deciding where to go for college, it is an important factor that students concerned about the environment may want to consider.
Please feel free to contact Ella Gray at [email protected] with any questions that you may have.