A New Way to Look at the "Green Campus"

The goal of the Higher Education Sustainability Indexing and Visualization project is to find important metrics for whether an institution is being a leader in sustainability, and make it easy to comprehend these metrics, through indexing and visualization.

We work with our own gathered and surveyed data, as well as existing databases, such as those run by the ACUPCC and other umbrella sustainability organizations.


Student Green Fees: Explore Interactively

Student green fees are a funding option for environmentally friendly initiatives that have seen enormous success across the country.

Some green fees work by matching with state funds, grant funds, or university budgets, as a means of ameliorating cost for large-scale projects and simultaneously demonstrating student mandate for, and commitment to, the projects. Augsburg College implemented 100% wind energy purchasing using a student green fee for 50% of the necessary funds.

Some Colleges that find resistance to the idea of mandating environmental responsibility on their politically diverse campuses provide an “Opt-out” green fee system. Lewis and Clark instated a $20 green fee, but to allow for student choice, did not make it mandatory. Since most students did not consider it worth the trouble to opt-out of it, the fee achieved 95% participation, and thereby provides the largest green fee in the sample below, amounting to $85 per year, allowing the school, among other things, to purchase 30% of their energy from clean sources.

The Research in figure 6B is drawn from thesis work conducted in 2011, and the same analysis was run on more extensive and recent data in the visualization below. You can hover over any point to view which school it represents, and clicking on them will (not at the moment, but in the future) show you details about their green fee.

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Solar Energy on the College Campus: (519) 422-9400

This visualization compiles an AASHE database of hundreds of college campuses across the country that are already using solar energy to power some portion of their operations.

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Use of Green Energy on the Campus: Explore Now

From wind to geothermal to landfill natural-gas generation, college campuses are going green in non-solar ways as well. This database assesses what we know about the general use of renewable energy by colleges, including the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates, a system by which institutions pay additional cents per KWH to providers for the assurance that renewable energy has been added to the grid on their behalf.

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