UND Again Listed Among Greenest Schools In USA

The University of North Dakota is once again listed as one of the country’s “greenest schools,” according to the Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges-2012 Edition.

The 2012 Guide, which was released today just in time for the University’s Earth Day celebration on Wednesday, profiles 319 institutions in the United States and three in Canada that demonstrate a strong commitment to the sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.  The public can check out UND’s profile in the guide and download the full guide at www.princetonreview.com/green-guide and on the website of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) Center for Green Schools at www.centerforgreenschools.org/greenguide.

UND first made Princeton Review’s greenest schools list in the spring 2011.

UND will celebrate Earth Day at an 11 a.m. event, Wednesday, April 18, in the Loading Dock area of the Memorial Union on campus.

Green buildings
Among the most advanced sustainability enhancements that have taken place on campus are building projects such as the complete overhaul and addition to the University’s College of Education and Human Development.

Another new environmentally friendly project going up right now is the UND Alumni Center – the Gorecki Alumni Center.

“It’ll be LEED Platinum certified, the highest rating you can get,” said Larry Zitzow, director of Facilities Management at UND and chair of the UND Council on Environment Stewardship and Sustainability, “To get Platinum is really a major accomplishment , and it’ll be the first and so far only Platinum-rated building in North Dakota.”

Princeton Review partnered with the USGBC, a national nonprofit organization best-known for developing the LEED green building certification program, to produce the Guide.

Criteria for Princeton Review’s “Green Rating,” a measurement of how environmentally friendly an institution is, cover three areas:

  • Whether the school’s students have a campus quality life that is healthy and sustainable.
  • How well the school is preparing its students for employment and citizenship in a world defined by environmental challenges.
  • The school’s overall commitment to environmental issues.

Princeton Review’s Green Rating is a numerical score from 60 – 99 that’s based on data from a 50-question survey we conduct among hundreds of school administrators about their school’s environmental and sustainability-related commitments and initiatives. Information about the rating methodology can be found at http://www.princetonreview.com/green.

UND’s ‘Green Rating
The 322 schools in Princeton Review’s 2012 guide received scores of 83 or higher. UND’s Green Rating came in at 87, according to the University’s “campus life/facilities” profile at www.princetonreview.com/schools/college/CollegeCampusLife.aspx?iid=1023713 (Registration to the site is required to access the information). The Princeton Review does not rank the schools hierarchically (1 to 322) according to their Green Rating scores, or report those scores in the profiles in this guide.

At UND, other sustainability enhancements include systems for turning off lights automatically, shutting down air handlers when a building is unoccupied and major changes in lighting systems to reduce electricity consumption.

“We’re becoming a very aggressive institution with respect to sustainability,” Zitzow said.  “We’re making lots of changes and enhancing the campus.”

UND, on target for significant long-term reductions in its carbon footprint, last year released its Climate Action Plan (CAP) for public viewing. The Climate Action Plan, which is updated annually, is submitted to the American College & University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) as a report card that’s viewable online http://und.edu/finance-operations/sustainability/green-report-card.cfm

Sustainability in action
Part of UND’s sustainability effort includes a regularly updated campus climate impact inventory of all of the University’s greenhouse gas emissions, including emissions from electricity, heating, commuting, and air travel, and update the inventory every other year thereafter.

Among other initiatives, the University has the following sustainability-related activities:

  • A comprehensive energy efficiency improvement program using state bond funding; the first set of bonds have already been paid off with savings generated by this program. In total UND has received about $9 million in bond and grant funding for its sustainability efforts.
  • The University already has a number of environmental programs, including a wide variety of programs at the Energy & Environmental Research Center. UND also has programs in such areas as      environmental engineering, environmental geoscience, environmental  management, and environmental studies, and is home to such units as the Environmental Training Institute and the Tribal Environmental Law Project.
  • UND has a well-established recycling program that keeps nearly 500 tons of waste material annually out of area landfills. The ongoing quest to find a suitable replacement for the current landfill is a major regional issue.
  • The Energy & Environmental Research Center’s Plains CO2 Reduction (PCOR) Partnership has an ongoing major effort to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of carbon sequestration, a major emerging strategy in greenhouse gas mitigation. The Phase III effort, to be constructed over the next 10 years and with an estimated value of more than $300 million, is the culmination of the PCOR Partnership’s actions over the last several years. The PCOR Partnership has more than 70 public and private sector partners in a nine-U.S.-state, four-Canadian-province area.
  • The University has long supported a shuttle program and the City of Grand Forks has established bus transportation to and from campus.
  • UND recently completed a parking ramp that helps alleviate on-campus automobile travel.
  • Research is being carried out in the Department of Chemical Engineering and in the Energy & Environmental Research Center on the development and use of bio-fuels.
  • The University has completed several buildings according to LEED standards, including the University Place, the Education Building addition and renovation as well aforementioned LEED Platinum      certified alumni center.

More useful links:
UND Council on Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability

UND Climate Action Plan

UND Green Report Card

UND Earth System Science and Policy