Sierra Club Posts Its Latest Listing Of Top Green Schools

All over the country, high school graduates (and their parents) are preparing for the big move to college, even as students entering their junior and senior years are surveying their options for higher education. For green-minded students and parents alike, the Sierra Club is here to help. The non-profit organization recently released its sixth annual listing of the greenest schools in the land, compiled via an exhaustive online survey, which covered — among other things — green buildings.

The “Cool Schools” listing appeared recently in SIERRA magazine. Triple Pundit reports that 96 schools responded to the voluntary survey, known as the Campus Sustainability Data Collector, which was comprised of 300 pages of questions (not  to mention the supplemental questions). This survey meticulously analyzed and measured each campus’ success in the areas of energy supply, efficiency, food, academics, purchasing, transportation, waste management, administration, and financial investments. It was open to all four-year undergraduate colleges and universities in the United States.

UC Davis

image via Sierra Club

Not surprisingly, the University of California Davis came in at number one in these rankings. The university has made headlines in recent years with UC Davis West Village, the largest net zero development ever planned, which offers students ultra-green housing options. The university also maintains rigorous green purchasing standards, diverts nearly 70 percent of all campus trash from landfills, and offers a student-run, natural gas-powered bus service (in addition to 42 miles of bike paths, and over 21,000 bike parking spaces).

The University of California Davis earned 709.17 out of a possible 894.5 points.

Other top-ranked green schools include the Georgia Institute of Technology (704.89 points); Stanford University (681.48); University of Washington (679.56 points); University of Connecticut (667 points); University of New Hampshire (653.36 points); Duke University (642.32 points); Yale University (640.08 points); University of California, Irvine (628.48 points); and Appalachian State University (627.92 points).

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.


  • Reply August 26, 2012


    It is great that schools are becoming more ‘green’, but for a student to choose a school on that basis is mindless idiocy. Perhaps their high school, or the Sierra Club, caused that state of mind.

    And 96 schools responded to a 300 page survey? To me that indicates said schools are mindless of priorities, and are an excellent choice of where NOT to go.

    300 pages? je sis fr icky crystal

  • Reply August 27, 2012

    Evan Adams

    I had a lot of my recycled flooring go into the West Village and other UC Davis projects & the UCD Med Center. It aroused a competitors attention and I was let go after the competitor took over the product line / got my sales manager interested in them.

    Just goes to show that doing good can result in great personal loss.

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