Ratings & Rankings
How UofL measures our progress in sustainability and how we compare to other institutions.
The primary tool used by the Sustainability Council to measure our progress is the STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) framework developed by AASHE (the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education). As a Charter Participant in STARS, UofL was the first school in the region -- and the 10th in the nation -- to achieve a STARS rating and we continue to have the highest STARS rating in Kentucky. Check out the map of STARS schools.
As part of our university-wide strategic plan, UofL seeks to progressively improve our overall STARS rating and our score across all sections of the framework. We are staying true to that goal.
In January 2011, UofL received its first rating of STARS Silver (50.11 points). UofL achieved a new STARS Silver rating (58.29 points) on February 6, 2013. The rating report documents that, on top of what we were already doing well, we’ve seen significant improvement in many areas and some truly innovative things we’re doing to advance sustainability. We have earned our first Innovation Credits for our new Earn-A-Bike Program, Kentucky Energy Efficiency Program for Schools (KEEPS), Partnership for a Green City, and Kentucky Save Energy Now (KY SEN) Program. We also saw noteworthy progress in:
- Co-Curricular Education and Human Resources, thanks to our new Eco-Reps Program for peer-to-peer sustainability education and advocacy across the university, as well as our new professional development programs in sustainability.
- Dining Services, thanks to our expanded composting efforts and an increase in local and sustainable food purchases from 18.5% to 24.4%.
- Purchasing, thanks to our inclusion of social and environmental responsibility expectations in our Vendor Code of Conduct.
- Transportation, thanks to our new bike sharing program and facilities, carpool matching system, and car sharing program.
- Public Engagement, thanks to expanded opportunities for continuing education in sustainability, even greater UofL participation in community service, and our new graduation pledge for sustainability.
The following table summarizes our progress:
As the report makes clear, there is certainly still plenty of progress to be made. For instance, we would do well to continue working on:
- Developing a university-wide Sustainability Plan
- Developing a Sustainable Investment Policy, conducting Shareholder Advocacy, and increasing our percentage of Positive Sustainability Investments
- Undergraduate and Graduate Degree Programs in Sustainability
- Increasing the percentage of courses with sustainability content and sustainability learning outcomes
- Increasing the percentage of faculty engaged in sustainability research
- Operating and maintaining buildings in accordance with sustainable operations and maintenance guidelines and policies (like LEED for Existing Buildings)
- Significantly reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy usage, and further enhancing energy efficiency
- Reducing the number of vehicles driven to campus
- Reducing our solid waste production and increasing landfill diversion rates
- Reducing water consumption per capita
Anyone can view finalized STARS reports from individual schools online without creating an AASHE Account. There are some additional, very useful features within the STARS Dashboard for doing research into STARS reports (particularly the Content Display function which allows you to filter down to specific credits and/or particular types of schools, etc.) that you can only access with an AASHE Account, which is available to all UofL employees and students through our institutional AASHE membership. (It’s also worth noting that with such an account you can also access all of the great materials, reports, discussion groups, etc. available in AASHE’s Resource Center). Here's how:
Step 1: If you do not have an AASHE Account, UofL students and employees may create one here (simply using your @louisville.edu email address).
Step 2: To access the full range of features on the STARS Dashboard, log-in using your email address and password associated with your AASHE Account. If you have lost or forgotten your AASHE password, you may re-set it here.
See Photos of our 2011 STARS press conference, and the following stories:
- UofL's sustainability efforts rank silver, gold (UofL Today)
- University of Louisville earns 'silver' sustainability rating (The Courier-Journal)
- U of L recognized for
achievements in going green (WHAS-TV)
- UofL gets recognition for green efforts (WAVE 3 TV)
UofL also participates in other surveys which give schools relative rankings in environmental performance or sustainability, such as:
- Sierra Club's "Cool Schools" Rankings:
- UofL is the only Kentucky school included in the 2012 Sierra Club Cool Schools Rankings, and
U of L was named among 50 greenest U.S. schools, ranking 48th out of 96. SeeUofL's 2012 Survey Response. Read more.
- In 2011, UofL increased its ranking to 41st out of 118, up from 61st in 2010 and 92nd in 2009, and the top school in Kentucky for 2011 (Sierra magazine, Sept/Oct 2011).
- UofL achieved Tree Campus USA status from the National Arbor Day Foundation for 2010 and 2011.
- The Sustainable Endowment Institute's College Sustainability Report Card. (now suspended)
- UofL was featured in the April 2012 edition of Princeton Review's Guide to 322 Green Colleges: