Colgate tops rankings comparing colleges and universities on progress toward clean energy 

Nearly four dozen schools across the country are featured in five renewable energy categories

As high school seniors across the country receive college admissions letters this week, Environment New York Research & Policy Center is announcing which schools are in and out when it comes to the transition to renewable energy. In a new study released today, colleges and universities were ranked in five categories based on their shift to renewable energy sources like solar and wind power.

Among them was Colgate University in Hamilton, ranked for ‘most renewable heating, cooling, hot water and other non-electric energy.’

“This year, Colgate University became the first college or university in New York state to achieve carbon neutrality,” said Director of Sustainability John Pumilio, Colgate University. “We have accomplished this through energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that have reduced our campus carbon footprint by 46 percent over the past 10 years.

“Utilizing solar thermal and geothermal energy provide examples to our campus community and beyond that addressing climate change can be good for the environment and good for our bottom-line while supporting our values and academic mission.”

Other top-ranking schools in each category are:

  • Most renewable electricity: Southwestern (Texas) University
  • Most renewable electricity on-campus: University of Minnesota, Morris
  • Most renewable electricity purchased from off-campus sources: George Washington (D.C.) University
  • Highest percentage of electric campus vehicles: Ringling (Florida) College of Art and Design

“Colgate University’s dedication to tackling climate change has earned it a well deserved spot among the nation’s top colleges and universities that are leading the shift to clean, renewable energy,” said Bronte Payne, Environment America’s 100% Renewable Campuses Campaign director. “Their leadership is a shining example that should inspire higher education institutions across the country to transition to using renewable energy sources.”

Campuses from 19 states and Washington, D.C., are featured in these rankings, which offer a multi-dimensional snapshot of progress toward 100 percent renewable energy. The rankings, which list the top 10 in each category, are based on colleges’ and universities’ reports to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Ratings System.

The categories for renewable electricity, renewable electricity on-campus, renewable electricity off-campus and renewable heating, cooling, hot water and other non-electric energy are calculated per student.

“The colleges and universities leading the rankings are at the top of the class when it comes to tackling climate change and transitioning to clean, renewable energy sources,” said Payne. “Future and current students care deeply about the role higher education is playing in the fight against climate change. With this report, they now have valuable data regarding which colleges and universities are leading the charge on renewable energy future.”

Across the country, Environment America Research & Policy Center and its partners at the Student PIRGs are working with students on more than 50 campuses in 15 states to transition higher education to 100 percent renewable energy.

Learn more about Environment America’s campaign for 100% renewable energy on college campuses.

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