UC Davis ranks among Sierra magazine Top 10 greenest colleges

The University of California, Davis, is greener and cooler this year, moving into the Top 10 of Sierra magazine’s annual ranking of the “greenest” colleges in the United States. UC Davis earned the eighth spot, up from 16 a year ago, on the “America’s Coolest Schools” list.

“It is notable that four of the top 10 are UC campuses, said Sid England, assistant vice chancellor of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability. “It illustrates that the UC Policy on Sustainable Practices is working.”

Only about 6 points separated the four UC campuses in the top 10: San Diego scored 80.6, for third place; Irvine, 74.8, sixth place; Santa Cruz, 74.3, for seventh place; and Davis, 74.2.

The University of Washington came in first, with 81.2 points, among 118 colleges that completed the Sierra survey.

In describing UC Davis’ sustainability efforts, England and his staff highlighted achievements in:

• Construction — The Robert Mondavi Institute’s brewery, winery and food science laboratory, with award-winning water conservation and reuse features, became the first facility of its kind in the world to earn platinum certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, a program of the U.S. Green Building Council.

• Energy — The Smart Lighting Initiative has reduced its energy demand for lighting by 2015; forged aggressive partnerships with investor-owned utilities on energy efficiency and conservation projects; and reduced the campus’s greenhouse gas emissions.

• Transportation — The League of American Bicyclists earlier this year designated the Davis campus as one of the top three bicycle-friendly universities in the nation. Eighty-five percent of students get around by bicycle or by other sustainable modes of transportation.

• Food — In the campus’s dining commons, 22 percent of the food meets the standards for sustainably grown or produced.

• Waste — UC Davis, which pioneered the concept of a “zero-waste” stadium, earned top honors in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 WasteWise Game Day Challenge, by diverting nearly 90 percent of the day’s waste to recycling and composting.

• Conservation — The campus has set aside about 20 percent of its land holdings for a natural habitat program.

• Education — The campus added a new major in sustainable agriculture, effective 2011-12. This bolsters the campus’s standing as a leader in environmental and sustainability related teaching and research, evidenced in part by UC Davis’ top-10 ranking I the 2011 Fiske Guide to Colleges, in the category of environmental studies undergraduate degree programs; and status as the “most prolific” in the publishing of environmental-ecology papers.

Camille Kirk, campus sustainability planner, who prepared UC Davis’ response to the Sierra survey, said the eighth-place ranking represents “all the hard work people across campus are putting into sustainability efforts, pushing us up in the rankings again this year,” after last year’s jump from 24th to 16th

Media Resources

Pat Bailey, Research news (emphasis: agricultural and nutritional sciences, and veterinary medicine), 530-219-9640, pjbailey@ucdavis.edu

Sid England, Administrative and Resource Management, (530) 752-2432, asengland@ucdavis.edu

Camille Kirk, Administrative and Resource Management, (530) 752-7954, cmkirk@ucdavis.edu

Primary Category