PHILADELPHIA â€“ The University of Pennsylvania has been named one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada in the â€œThe Princeton Reviewâ€™s Guide to 311 Green Colleges: 2011 Edition."
The guide, created in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, best known for developing the LEED standard for green building certification, profiles institutions of higher education that demonstrate a notable commitment to sustainability in academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation. The Princeton Review made the selections based on a survey of administrators at hundreds of colleges polled in 2010 about their schoolsâ€™ sustainability initiatives.
Penn was recognized for signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment and establishing an Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee to prepare a University Climate Action Plan that was launched in September 2009.
The University has a full-time environmental sustainability coordinator who leads a team in providing education and implementation of campus sustainability initiatives.
In green design, Penn recently achieved LEED Platinum certification for the Horticulture Center at its Morris Arboretum and LEED Gold for its Music Building and Joeâ€™s CafÃ© projects.
The institutionâ€™s commitment to being a sustainable urban campus is demonstrated in the soon-to-be-completed Penn Park which will add 20 percent more open space and will feature a rainwater reclamation system for irrigation. In addition, all roofing projects are evaluated for possible green roof installation. Penn is already the nationâ€™s leading green power purchaser among institutions of higher education, with wind energy accounting for nearly 50 percent of the annual electrical consumption. Plans are also in place to update systems in high energy-use buildings to reduce their carbon footprint.
Penn has also been successful in engaging the campus community in sustainability initiatives. More than 200 students, faculty and staff serve as sustainability ambassadors through the Penn Eco-Reps program. The University also offers students internships in sustainability and has established the Green Campus Partnership Student Association, a collaborative team of student environmental groups that promotes environmental education and awareness.
Additional information about Pennâ€™s sustainability initiatives through the Green Campus Partnership is available at www.upenn.edu/sustainability.