Stanford University, Cornell University, Columbia University and the University of California, Los Angeles are among 22 colleges nationwide listed on Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Rating Honor Roll, which measures the environmentally friendliness of the schools.
Princeton Review, known for its college test-prep and education services, tallied the scores for 832 colleges based on their sustainability practices for 2012-2013. It scored the schools on a scale of 60 to 99. The 22 colleges earning the top score of 99 made it to the green honor roll.
They include: American University, California State University-Chico, College of the Atlantic, Dickinson College, Georgia Institute of Technology, Green Mountain College, Lewis & Clark College, Middlebury College, Pomona College, Portland State University, University of California-Irvine, University of California-Los Angeles, University of California-Santa Barbara, University of California-Santa Cruz, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of South Florida, University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
The green rating took into account course offerings, recycling programs and greenhouse gas emissions reduction plans. It also looked at how much each school spends on sustainable food practice, its public transit access and biking and carpooling programs, whether new buildings are LEED certified, whether the school has an environmental studies major or minor, and waste diversion rates.
Columbia, for instance, provides students with healthy local food, green markets, vegetative roofs and more efficient water treatment, according to Princeton Review. Cornell has an award-winning transportation demand management program that offers free bus passes to freshman, and has biking and ride sharing programs. Cornell also recycles 63 percent of its waste, the green honor roll says. Meanwhile, Stanford has invested $570 million over the past 10 years in sustainability research, emission-reduction infrastructure and energy efficiency projects for buildings, according to the review.
The ratings survey found that students are showing increasing interest in attending schools that are environmentally friendly — 62 percent of the nearly 10,000 students it surveyed said the greenness of a campus would influence their college choice.
In January, the US Green Building Council published its green schools ratings. Oberlin College is among the schools recognized for their environmental initiatives by the USGBC’s Best Green Schools 2012 list. The list is a project of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC, which says that the green schools use 33 percent less energy and 32 percent less water than conventionally designed schools, and can save about $100,000 in operating costs annually.