On further review, ‘green report card’ grade improves


PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University looks a little greener now that its most recent grade on the College Sustainability Report Card, issued annually by The Sustainable Endowments Institute (SEI), has been upgraded to a B+ following an additional review of data supplied by the university.

A nonprofit organization that researches sustainability on college campuses, SEI this month re-issued WSU’s 2010 “green report card” sustainability grade, which was initially announced last November, from a C to a B+. The grade revision resulted from a second review of WSU’s sustainability efforts by SEI following a realization by WSU officials that the initial grade had been based on incomplete data.

The new grade is reflected in SEI’s revised summary of WSU’s sustainability efforts, available online at
. The SEI summary notes that WSU has implemented both a formal sustainability policy and a climate action plan and addressed issues including sustainable transportation, energy and water efficiency, local foods, and greenhouse gas emissions.

“WSU has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 36 percent from 2005 levels by 2035,” the SEI report card notes. “To save energy, the university has set back building temperatures; installed energy management systems, energy-efficient lighting, and electric and steam metering in the majority of buildings; and insulated all steam lines. Power management settings allow computers to save energy when not in use.”

The report also indicates that WSU reduces campus waste by hosting a move-out donation program and reusing surplus property, strives to adhere to LEED Silver standards for major construction projects and utilizes building water metering, weather-informed irrigation, and drought-resistant plants to conserve water.

“The university offers free transportation around campus and to local destinations for all students, faculty, and staff,” the report card indicates. “Campus community members can coordinate carpools through an online ride-sharing network. A free bike-sharing program offers long-term rentals as well as short-term borrowing stations around campus. The vehicle fleet includes 18 hybrid cars.”

The College Sustainability Report Card is the only independent evaluation of campus and endowment sustainability activities at colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. In contrast to the academic focus on sustainability in research and teaching, the Report Card examines colleges and universities, as institutions, through the lens of sustainability.