Ratings & Rankings
How UofL measures our progress in sustainability and how we compare to other institutions.
The primary tool used by the University of Louisville to measure our progress in sustainability 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.
UofL achieved a new STARS Silver rating (58.29 points) on February 6, 2013. This represented a significant improvement from our first rating in January 2011 of STARS Silver (50.11 points). Our 2013 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 has achieved Tree Campus USA status from the Arbor Day Foundation for every year since 2010!
- In Fall 2014, UofL received a nationally recognized sustainability award for “green and compassionate student actions” from myActions.org. The Student Actions Award recognizes undergraduate schools for student leadership and progress, as well as the impact of green and healthy activities. UofL recognized as “green and compassionate” (The Louisville Cardinal, March 30, 2015)
- In October 2014, UofL’s won the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education AASHE Award for Best Case Study from a Four-Year or Graduate Institution with More Than 10,000 Full-Time Students for the Earn-A-Bike Program. The award was recieved before an audience of thousands at AASHE’s 2014 national conference in Portland, OR where the case study was presented.
- In September 2014, the Sustainability Council's EcoReps Program received the 2014 Multimedia MVP2 (Most-Valuable Pollution Prevention) Award for best video series with a Major Impact on Preventing Pollution from the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable.
- In December 2013, UofL was named 1 of 9 Great Colleges for Cyclists by Bicycling Magazine.
- In November 2013, UofL was named the most bicycle-friendly university in Kentucky, earning a Silver rating in the League
of American Bicyclists' Bicycle Friendly University program! As of Fall 2013,
there are a total of 75 Bicycle Friendly Universities in 32 states, including three in Kentucky:
1. University of Louisville - Silver (New Fall 2013)
2. University of Kentucky - Bronze
3. Western Kentucky University - Bronze (New Fall 2013)
- In September 2013, UofL received the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection’s 2013 Resource Caretaker Award at the 37th Governor’s Conference on Energy & the Environment in Lexington, KY.
Other Sustainability Rankings
UofL also participates in other surveys which give schools relative rankings in environmental performance or sustainability, such as:
- Sierra Club's "Cool Schools" Rankings:
2014: UofL ranked #74 in Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list, maintaining its top ranking in Kentucky!
2013: UofL continues to make significant progress in sustainability across the board, as demonstrated by the fact that our overall score (out of a possible 1000) in the 2013 Cool Schools rankings jumped from 510.89 in 2012 to 625.74 in 2013! We improved our score by nearly 11.5%. UofL continues to hold the top position in the state, ranking 53rd out of 162 schools nationally!
2012: UofL was 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.
2011: 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).
- The Sustainable Endowment Institute's College Sustainability Report Card. (now suspended)
- Having first appeared in the 2012 and 2014 editions, UofL is featured in the 2015 edition of The Princeton Review Guide to 353 Green Colleges: