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Sierra Club gives Elon green accolades

The Sierra Club named Elon University one of the nation’s top “Coolest Schools” in the environmental group’s fourth annual rankings of America’s greenest campuses. It is the second consecutive year that Elon made the list, which rates schools in categories that include academics, waste management and energy efficiency.

The nonprofit organization used 10 categories to compile its rankings of a school’s commitment to sustainability: energy supply, efficiency, food, academics, purchasing, transportation, waste management, administration, financial investments and “other initiatives.”

Elon, which made the top 100 in a survey distributed to more than 900 colleges and universities nationwide, received its highest marks in the areas of efficiency and administration.

“Efficiency” measured LEED certification projects, water sources for campus landscaping, lighting fixtures and Energy Star campus appliances. “Administration” examined schools’ commitment to sustainability through strategic plans, sustainability coordinators and greenhouse gas emission audits.

It helps to support our sustainability initiatives when we’re recognized by an outside organization,” said Elaine Durr, Elon’s sustainability coordinator. “And the rankings certainly speak to what we‘ve been doing to reduce our energy consumption and carbon emissions.”

Elon’s sustainability efforts also won accolades earlier this year from the Princeton Review. The Princeton Review's Guide to 286 Green Colleges profiled the nation’s most environmentally responsible campuses. The publication compiled the guide in partnership with the United States Green Building Council, a national nonprofit organization that promotes sustainability in the design and construction of buildings.

That guide used several criteria in the assessment, including commitment to the LEED green building certification program; environmental literacy programs; formal sustainability committees; use of renewable energy resources and recycling and conservation programs.

Eric Townsend,
9/14/2010 8:12 AM