Magazine article University Business

Higher Education Sustainability Stars

Magazine article University Business

Higher Education Sustainability Stars

Article excerpt

FOR MANY COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES, SUSTAINABILITY IS BECOMING a unifying thread in the campus fabric. UB selected the following 10 institutions as models for their efforts to respect the environment and the communities that surround them in economically feasible ways.

California State University System

KEY ACCOMPLISHMENT: Making a systemwide commitment

BEHIND THE SCENES: With 400,000 students and 42,000 faculty and staff across 23 campuses, Cal State soaks in considerable resources. But its leaders also make efforts to reduce energy usage and dependence. In September 2005, the Board of Trustees approved a revised energy policy that sought a 15 percent reduction in energy consumption by the 2009-2010 fiscal year, on top of a 15 percent reduction already in place. The policy also aims to double Cal State's self-generated energy supply over the next decade, and have the system receive at least 20 percent of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2010.

Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.)

KEY ACCOMPLISHMENT: Meeting LEED

BEHIND THE SCENES: For Carnegie Mellon, the commitment to build in accordance with the US Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards is a step above the crowd: All new construction and significant renovations aim for LEED Silver designation at the Pittsburgh school. The fruits of this commitment have been seen most notably in New House, the nation's first LEED-certified campus residence hall, which opened in 2003. The $12.5 million building uses 31 percent less energy than other non-"green" buildings.

Duke University

KEY ACCOMPLISHMENT: Purchasing green

BEHIND THE SCENES: Like all schools on this list, Duke has taken many steps toward sustainability. Its Green Purchasing Policy, however, stands out. Launched by student efforts, Duke adopted the environmentally preferable purchasing guidelines in 2004, aiming to work with purchasers to give preference to more environmentally friendly products and services when quality and cost performance are equal or superior. With leadership from a green purchasing specialist in the Procurement Services office, 38 percent of Duke's purchases are now of Earthsaver products (up from 11 percent last year). When toner runs out in campus printers, it is replaced with recycled cartridges--saving nearly $300,000 in the past year.

Harvard University

KEY ACCOMPLISHMENT: Transforming a campus

BEHIND THE SCENES: The Harvard Green Campus Initiative has transformed the way plans are crafted and decisions are made at the university. In the six years since it was created, the initiative has grown into a $1.1 million business that generates more than $5 million in annual savings and has led to a reduction of more than 60 million pounds in annual greenhouse gas emissions. Leaders of the initiative see organizational change at the heart of their work; in other words, new practices must jibe with limitations on time, money, politics, and other complexities. Under this perspective, efforts continue to grow: The Green Campus Initiative now has 14 full-time professional staff and a $6 million revolving loan fund.

Tufts University

KEY ACCOMPLISHMENT: Collaborating for change

BEHIND THE SCENES: Tufts was the first institution of higher education in the country to develop an environmental policy statement, and in 1990 officially convened an international conference at which the "Talloires Declaration"--the first official statement on environmental sustainability in higher education--was drafted and signed. …

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