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UofL's sustainability efforts rank silver, gold

by UofL Today last modified Jan 26, 2011 06:42 AM

The University of Louisville has placed near the top in a rating system that tracks how well colleges and universities across the country are doing at reducing their environmental impact.

UofL has qualified for a Silver designation in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. The association, made up of 900 members in the U.S. and Canada, encourages schools to adopt practices that are environmentally, socially and economically responsible.

UofL is among only a handful of schools to receive a Silver designation, the association's third-highest rating. Only one school, the University of Colorado-Boulder, has placed higher with a STARS gold. No school has yet earned the highest STARS designation, a platinum.

"We've been working hard to be more sustainable, and it's great to see our STARS rating reflect this," said UofL President James Ramsey. "But we're not going to stop here. Now we can monitor our progress over time and make sure we continue to improve."

Making measurable gains in campus sustainability is one of the goals in UofL's 2020 strategic plan.

The university joined STARS as a charter participant last year soon after the rating system was created. Schools taking part must gather and report internal data in dozens of areas such as energy efficiency, climate action planning and public engagement. Credits earned in each area are added together to create a total score.

UofL earned 50.11 points, exceeding the 45 points needed to qualify for Silver.

In a related development, UofL was notified last week that its $44 million Center for Predictive Medicine biosafety research lab on Shelby Campus has earned a Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. It is the third UofL building to qualify as LEED gold.

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