The Princeton Review has named the University of Richmond a “green” college for 2015. The college guidebook publisher annually recognizes colleges for environmental initiatives in construction, transportation, energy conservation and recycling.
Richmond has made a commitment to measure and reduce the University’s carbon footprint. Energy-efficiency upgrades following a campus-wide energy audit, adherence to LEED building standards and feasibility studies on renewable energy strategies have allowed UR to decrease its greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent since 2008. The Climate Action Plan sets 2050 as the target date for neutrality, with an interim target of a 30 percent reduction by 2020.
Installation of solar panels on the roof of the Weinstein Center for Recreation and Wellness is planned for this summer. The energy produced is expected to offset the annual electricity needs of one campus residence hall.
UR offers a variety of transportation alternatives. Richmond operates bus service to popular destinations, provides free GRTC bus passes to students and employees, offers a bike share program, and participates in Zipcar, an on-demand, car-sharing service located on campus.
UR students and employees are encouraged through social media, email blasts, and fun programming to make simple changes, like unplugging electronics and turning off lights, to conserve energy. Earlier this year, UR students participated in a friendly rivalry against two other Virginia colleges to raise awareness about being energy-conscious.
Faculty are also integral to sustainability efforts. The third River City Project, the University’s formal effort to expand sustainability in the curriculum, will take place in May. The program supports the University’s goal of educating all students about sustainability concerns.
Of more than 850 colleges examined, The Princeton Review selected 353 “green” colleges based on a survey completed by college administrators.
The guide is published in partnership with USGBC’s Center for Green Schools. It is free and downloadable online at www.princetonreview.com/green-guide.
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