Office of the President

May 29, 2014

Thank you for making the UW a leader in sustainability

Office of the President

Provost Ana Mari Cauce and Senior Vice President V’Ella Warren recently sent an email message to faculty, staff and students announcing the UW’s latest achievements in environmental sustainability. Below is a copy of that message.

As we wrap up the 2013–2014 academic year, the University of Washington Environmental Stewardship Committee (ESC) would like to thank you for making the UW a globally recognized leader in sustainability and for supporting our Climate Action Plan goals.

The UW has continued to perform as a sustainability role model, ranking in the top 10% of universities worldwide for its sustainability efforts (UI Greenmetric World University Ranking), achieving national recognition in the Princeton Review Green Honor Roll (99, the highest score possible) and receiving accolades at home by Seattle Business Magazine’s Green Washington Award (Silver in Academia).

Our commitment to sustainability is greater than ever, with 28 LEED-certified buildings across three campuses, a 58% waste diversion rate and more than $12.83 million saved through utility conservation efforts. With your help, the UW has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 8% from our 2005 levels, despite an increase in campus size and population.

The 2013–2014 academic year has seen:

  • The finalization of the Mercer Court Apartments, with the addition of another acre of growing space for the UW Farm.
  • The launch of 128 rooftop solar panels by UW-Solar that will produce an estimated 34,470 kilowatt hours per year.
  • The College of the Environment winning the UW’s first Green Laboratories Competition.
  • The inception of the Green Seed Fund, which supplied grants to five innovative research proposals and contributes to the goal of reducing campus carbon emissions.
  • The recognition of the UW Tower Data Center as one of 27 data centers in the country to receive a U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR Certification.

As we reflect on these and other milestones, we are also looking forward to the challenges and creative solutions that await. It is with gratitude that we thank Sandra Archibald, dean of the Evans School, for her leadership in chairing the Environmental Stewardship Committee for the past eight years, and welcome Lisa Graumlich, dean of the College of the Environment into her new role as chair.

Sustainability runs deep: Take a look at why 2013–2014 was also an outstanding year for sustainability at UW Bothell and UW Tacoma!

UW Bothell

  • Discovery Hall, UW Bothell’s newest building, will house the STEM program and sets the bar high with a targeted LEED Gold certification.
  • A $550,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce will be used to install nearly 500 rooftop solar panels. The energy generated will provide free charging to electric vehicle drivers who pay for parking and reduce utility bills for campus garages.
  • Participation in the Shred-it secure recycling program has helped to divert over 14 tons of paper from the landfill, saving over 240 trees from destruction.

UW Tacoma

  • UW Tacoma is the first of the three UW campuses to offer a Sustainability Minor, which gives UW Tacoma students the opportunity to engage in the interdisciplinary application of sustainability considering economic, societal and environmental perspectives.
  • Student leadership and sustainable urban agriculture that gives back to the community are the name of the game at the Giving Garden, which donated 318 pounds of food to Tacoma food banks.
  • The Prairie Line Trail–UWT Station is set to be completed in September 2014 and will combine smart storm water management with inviting open spaces to bring together community on the restored Prairie Line Railroad.

Your continued support ensures a sustainable future for the University of Washington and challenges how we imagine ‘business as usual’ on campus!

Learn about sustainability, events, Climate Action Plan goals and more at