UofL and Berea most eco-friendly Ky. schools

amead@herald-leader.comOctober 7, 2009 

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    To see how colleges in Kentucky and across the nation ranked in the College Sustainability Report Card 2010, go to www.greenreportcard.org.

What's Kentucky's greenest college?

You might guess Berea College, with its Ecovillage and the newly revamped Boone Tavern, where electric cars get preferred parking.

You would be only half right.

Berea College and the University of Louisville receive a B+ on a new green report card for colleges that will be released Wednesday.

The College Sustainability Report Card 2010 gives the University of Kentucky a B-. The only other Kentucky college included in the survey was Centre College, which got a C.

The rankings, published by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, a project of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, includes information on 332 schools.

The grading scale was tough. No school scored better than an A-, and the only school in the Southeast to make that grade was the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Schools were surveyed in nine categories: administration, climate change and energy, food and recycling, green buildings, transportation, student involvement, endowment transparency, shareholder engagement and investment priorities.

The idea is to provide online help for potential students who want information about a college's commitment to the environment.

Overall, schools became greener in the last year, despite sharp investment losses and higher energy costs, the institute said.

This is the fourth year of the green rankings. Among the four Kentucky schools, only Centre did not improve its grade from last year.

Centre officials expressed surprise at the grade.

"It's like they've missed everything to do with our new buildings," several of which are or will be certified for meeting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards from the U.S. Green Building Council, said John Cuny, the school's vice president for finance.

Centre did receive an "A" for buildings but fell short in other areas, including how it deals with proxy voting on environmental, social and governance issues.

Reach Andy Mead at (859) 231-3319 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3319.

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