UC Irvine named greenest college in North America

UCI campus photo: Steve Zylius/UCI

By Ann Frances –

Continuing its 11-year streak for being named among the top 10 greenest universities, UC Irvine has this year been named THE greenest university in North America by the Sierra Club. UCI earned the top spot on the Sierra Club’s “Cool School” annual ranking of most sustainable colleges and universities in North America from among the 312 considered for the 2020 ranking. No other school has been ranked in the top 10 more than UCI, which also earned the top rank in 2014, 2015 and in 2018. The ranking adds to the list of reasons applicants want to attend the university.

“I am so pleased that once again Sierra magazine has recognized UCI as the nation’s No. 1 ‘Cool School’ for our leadership and achievements in this vital area,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman in a statement. “Across our campus, in virtually every academic discipline, our faculty, students and staff are actively pursuing the effective stewardship of the world we all live in.”

Any U.S. or Canada-based four-year college or university that grants undergraduate degrees is eligible for consideration for the Sierra Club’s “Cool School” ranking. The environmental group considers each institution’s eco-friendly efforts in both operations and green-focused curriculum when compiling its list. According to the Sierra Club, “Thanks to precision-technology sensors and software, UC Irvine’s laboratories have become paragons of energy efficiency, emulated by national labs including the CDC’s. (Relatedly, infectious disease doctors have been studying UCI’s ventilation systems, designed to remove airborne pathogens in labs.) Anteater researchers are working to harness the storage potential of green hydrogen to complement their decarbonized electric grid and enable zero-carbon solutions for seasonal storage, heavy transit, and high-temperature manufacturing processes.”

The 2020 “Cool School” top 10 list includes:

1. University of California / Irvine, CA                                                                
2. Stanford University / Stanford CA              
3. Thompson Rivers University / Kamloops BC           
4. Arizona State University / Tempe AZ                 
5. University of California, Merced / Merced CA              
6. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry / Syracuse, NY             
7. Colorado State University / Fort Collins CO      
8. University of Connecticut / Storrs CT                
9. University of New Hampshire / Durham NH            
10. Colby College / Waterville ME     

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