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University joins sustainability rating system

by UofL Today last modified Jan 20, 2010 09:46 AM

The University of Louisville has joined a national rating system that will monitor efforts by colleges and universities to become more sustainable.

UofL is one of 115 higher-learning institutions to join the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), an effort to collect and publish information on how well such schools are integrating sustainability into all aspects of campus life.

The rating system, developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, encourages schools to earn up to 300 sustainability credits in areas such as operations, education and research, and planning, administration and engagement.

Participating institutions can receive STARS ratings at levels from bronze to platinum, depending on the number of credits they earn. The ratings are valid for three years.

"This year, we'll establish a benchmark at UofL so we can start measuring our progress," said Justin Mog, assistant to the provost for sustainability initiatives. "Our ultimate goal is to receive a gold rating by 2020, with progressively higher ratings each time."

UofL's Sustainability Council has spent the past several months setting up the framework to take part in STARS, Mog said. Preparations have involved setting goals for each area and measuring factors such as energy consumption, "green" purchasing practices and student involvement in sustainability issues.

Expanding efficiency and sustainable initiatives and achieving the highest STARS rating are among the goals in UofL's strategic plan for 2020.

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