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UCI ranks among nation’s top 10 greenest schools

Sierra Club’s Cool Schools list examines eco-friendly programs at 900 colleges and universities.

BY CASEY GOMEZPublished: August 17, 2010 09:42 AM

UC Irvine ranked sixth out of 900 colleges and universities on Sierra Club’s fourth annual Cool Schools list of the nation’s greenest institutions. Its alternative transportation options, such as ZotWheels bike-sharing program, Zipcar rentals and Zimride carpooling, are credited for the distinction.

"This is right where UCI should be – in the top 10," said Wendell Brase, vice chancellor for Administrative and Business Services and chairman of the University of California's Climate Solutions Steering Group. "It's an acknowledgment of many aspects of the campus community. UCI researchers are already at the forefront of climate change; our students are engaged on these issues; and our administrators, in collaboration with excellent colleagues from other California campuses, play a leadership role in finding large-scale solutions to achieving our goal of carbon neutrality."

The top 100 Cool Schools were determined from data collected in an 11-page survey, which included 10 categories: eco-friendly energy supply, efficiency, food, academics, purchasing, transportation, waste management, administration, financial investments and a miscellaneous "other initiatives." Out of a possible 100 points, UC Irvine scored 84.4, while the nation’s top school – Green Mountain College in Vermont – scored 88.6.

UC Irvine’s ZotWheels, Zipcar and Zimride programs are just a few examples of the university’s commitment to the environment. The school also offers undergraduate courses and degrees that highlight environmental issues. In addition, the campus boasts seven LEED Gold designations from the U.S. Green Building Council. Mesa Court features UCI's first zero-waste student dining hall. And an energy-saving campus lighting project has reduced carbon emissions by 7 percent in the past year.

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