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August 20, 2009

UW wins new honors for sustainability efforts

News and Information

The UW was ranked second in the country by Sierra Magazine for the University’s sustainability efforts, and it was also named to the 2010 Green Rating Honor Roll by the Princeton Review.

Sierra Magazine, the official publication of the Sierra Club, judged each institution on eight factors: efficiency, energy, food, academics, purchasing, transportation, waste management and administration. The UW achieved a score of 98 out of 100 points, moving up from ninth place last year. For more information on the Sierra rankings, click here.

The Princeton Review rankings cover three broad areas: the campus quality of life for students (whether it is healthy and sustainable), educational preparation for meeting environmental challenges, and the university’s overall commitment to environmental issues. Only 15 institutions were selected for the honor roll from among 697 that completed a survey. The UW received the highest possible score under the Review’s rating system. For more information click here.

The UW is a founding member of the Seattle Climate Partnership and the Seattle campus electrical purchases are 100 percent renewable. It is a charter signatory to the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) and has created an Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee and a new office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability. The University established a formal policy on environmental stewardship and has been developing a Climate Action Plan, a document laying out the broad strategies the UW will use to become climate neutral. The document is in the process of being finalized now and will be submitted by President Emmert in mid-September to ACUPCC.

The UW also has implemented wide-ranging energy conservation projects. UW Housing & Food Services emphasize local organic and natural foods; it recently became a pilot site for the first compostable paper cup designed specifically for soft drinks and made from renewable resources. The University has committed to build all state-funded, federal stimulus funded, and specific client goal directed new construction and major renovation projects to at least LEED Silver standards. Recently the UW achieved LEED Gold for the Floyd and Delores Jones Playhouse Theater and the Ben Hall Interdisciplinary Research Building Ecogenomics Lab.

The UW encourages the community to use alternative transportation and maintains a fleet of more than 300 alternative fuel, hybrid, electric and biodiesel-powered vehicles and trucks. UW Creative Communications, UW’s in-house design and production department, currently uses 100 percent post-consumer recycled content Harbor 100 paper (Grays Harbor Mill) as house stock in all five high volume copy centers. Creative Communications is Forest Stewardship Council certified and promotes a wide range of paper stocks that have been produced under FSC established standards of sustainability.

The UW also was recognized recently as one of the greenest universities in America by Greenopia. See Greenest Universities: West Coast beats out East Coast