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Tool to Ease Colleges’ Reporting for Sustainability Rankings

Starting this Wednesday, colleges and universities will have a single portal for reporting their data to some of the biggest sustainability rankings in education.

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education is launching the free Campus Sustainability Data Collector to collect information for The Princeton Review Green Rating, Sierra magazine’s Cool Schools issue, and the Sustainable Endowment Institute’s College Sustainability Report Card. The tool is essentially a simplified version of AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). The data collector also includes some data points which the ranking organizations are interested in but that are not included in STARS.

But while the data collector is simply a place to upload sustainability data, the STARS reporting tool allows institutions to both share and track their data over time through data management software.  STARS also offers automated calculations, multiple user access, and data collection resources. STARS participation costs $900 for AASHE members and $1400 for non-members.

AASHE says the information uploaded to the data collector will not be available to the public, and users of the collector will not receive any recognition other than submission to publications with which they choose to share their data.

Last October 32 universities committed $65 million to new energy efficiency financing initiative the Billion Dollar Green Challenge.

The fund aims to get colleges, universities and other nonprofits to invest a total of $1 billion in self-managed “green revolving funds.” Such funds are used to finance energy efficiency upgrades that offer a quantifiable monetary saving or return. A portion of the returns from these projects are then reinvested in the fund and used for future green projects.

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