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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sustainability in the Atlantic Coast Conference

How does the University of Louisville rate in terms of sustainability initiatives compared to the other 14 institutions of higher learning in the Atlantic Coast Conference? I have often reported on sustainability measures at Louisville, but have rarely attempted to place those efforts in a comparative context.

The question is difficult to answer because the available recent ratings of university performance tend to rely upon self-reported data and not every school provides information to every organization. Moreover, the rankings sometimes disagree. Looking at the ratings from the Princeton Review, Sierra Club, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), and the Sustainable Endowments Institute (oldest data), Louisville appears to rank between 7th and 12th in the ACC.

Based on data from all four rating services, Georgia Tech and North Carolina are the sustainability leaders in the ACC, though Duke is also among the very top universities by this measure.

The AASHE ratings in particular signal that Notre Dame, Virginia, and Virginia Tech also seem to be at least slightly ahead of Louisville on adopting sustainability measures.

Louisville is mid- to lower-tier in the conference with Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina State, and Syracuse. Again, by these measures, Louisville likely ranks between 7th and 12th in the ACC. While Louisville is no lower than 10th in any of the specific rating services, the ambiguous and missing data confound any attempt to be certain of this.

The only schools that seem to be rated clearly below Louisville by multiple services are Miami, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest. Those schools have the most work to do.

I used this data and apologize for any errors:

Princeton Review Green Colleges (top 50 ranked)
23. Georgia Tech
31. North Carolina

Sierra Club Cools Schools 2014 (173 schools ranked)
10. Georgia Tech
15. North Carolina
23. Duke
71. Louisville
97. Pittsburgh

STARS ranking (AASHE)

Duke (new filing reported)
Georgia Tech (score expired)
North Carolina
Notre Dame
Virginia Tech

Florida State
Wake Forest (score expired)

North Carolina State (score expired)

No data
Boston College

Sustainable Endowments Institute
College Sustainability Report Card 2011 (suspended ratings)
Georgia Tech A-
North Carolina A-

Clemson B+
Duke B+
North Carolina State B+
Notre Dame B+

Boston College B
Louisville B
Syracuse B
Virginia B

Miami B-
Pittsburgh B-
Wake Forest B-

Florida State C

Virginia Tech NO DATA

NOTE: I have merely listed schools alphabetically when letter grades or category assignments (gold/silver) are used by the rating services.

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