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UC-Irvine Tops Green Colleges List

Sierra ClubThe University of California – Irvine jumped from no. 3 to no. 1 in this year’s Sierra Club ranking of green schools, knocking last year’s winner, University of Connecticut, out of the top spot.

This was the eighth year for the “Cool Schools” ranking, with more than 150 schools participating.

According to Sierra, the official magazine of the Sierra Club, each of the universities ranked in the top 10 displayed a commitment to protecting the environment, addressing climate issues and encouraging environmental responsibility.

The Cool Schools ranking is based on an extensive survey created in a collaboration between Sierra and the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Using a customized scoring system, Sierra ranked the universities based on their commitment to upholding high environmental standards.

The top 10 schools for 2014 are:

  1. University of California, Irvine (Irvine, CA)
  2. American University (Washington, DC)
  3. Dickinson College (Carlisle, PA)
  4. Loyola University Chicago (Chicago, IL)
  5. Lewis and Clark College (Portland, OR)
  6. Stanford University (Stanford, CA)
  7. University of South Florida (Tampa, FL)
  8. Green Mountain College (Poultney, VT)
  9. University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT)
  10. Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA)

Of the top 10 schools, three schools – Loyola University Chicago, Lewis and Clark College and University of South Florida cracked the top 10 for the first time.

Although this is UC-Irvine’s fifth consecutive year as a top 10 finalist, it is its first time as the winner. This is due in part to its three on-campus solar projects, a 19-megawatt turbine cogeneration plant and a record of consistently exceeding energy-efficiency goals.

Other factors that helped institutions make the top 10 include American University’s solar array, which is DC’s largest, Dickinson College’s organic farm, Stanford University’s move to divest from coal, and University of South Florida’s solar charging station for electric vehicles.

Institutions rise and fall on the list based on ongoing efforts. As such, lists as recent as 2013 and 2012 show a fair amount of movement between different schools.

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