Guidebook Ranks UW among Nations Top Green Colleges

May 21, 2012
Academic building
The new Visual Arts Building continues UW's effort to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards for sustainability, and is expected to achieve LEED platinum status. It features a natural ventilation system and a solar collector on the roof that provides up to 35 percent of the building's heating needs. (UW Photo)

The University of Wyoming is again ranked among the nation's most environmentally responsible colleges, according to a guidebook published by the Princeton Review and the U.S. Green Building Council.

"The Princeton Review's Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition" profiles 322 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada "that demonstrate notable commitments to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation."

The ranking validates UW's special programs and initiatives to achieve a "green" campus, says Jim Scott, director of the UW Physical Plant and chairman of the Campus Sustainability Committee.

"This is the second consecutive year UW has received the recognition," Scott says. "It is rewarding to be recognized for our campus sustainability efforts, and it will let prospective students know the University of Wyoming is serious about its commitment to the environment."

President Tom Buchanan in 2007 signed the Presidents Climate Commitment, an initiative of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). Membership comes with a set of requirements, including reporting greenhouse gas reductions and energy efficiencies.

UW has developed a Climate Action Plan (CAP), Scott says, with goals to decrease greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent by 2015, 25 percent by 2020 and 100 percent by 2050. The CAP proposes a plan to achieve those targeted goals through education and outreach, energy and climate research projects, implementation of energy efficiency upgrades and initiatives, and integrating sustainability throughout the institution.

"College-bound students are increasingly interested in sustainability issues," says Robert Franek, The Princeton Review's senior vice president and publisher. "Among 7,445 college applicants who participated in our 2012 'College Hopes & Worries Survey,' nearly 7 out of 10 told us that having information about a school's commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school."

The guide cites UW's efforts to "increase energy efficiency across campus; providing alternative transportation options such as shuttle service and a bike loan program to reduce the number of cars on campus; requiring all new construction and major renovations to seek LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification; operating a campus-wide recycling program; and raising awareness about sustainability issues. All students can enroll in a ‘Campus Sustainability' course."

The free guide can be downloaded at

More information on the Campus Sustainability Committee and CAP can be found at

Find us on Instagram (Link opens a new window)Find us on Facebook (Link opens a new window)Find us on Twitter (Link opens a new window)Find us on LinkedIn (Link opens a new window)Find us on YouTube (Link opens a new window)