Winner: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisc.
Over the past four years, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has invested $48 million in energy-saving projects, resulting in a 16% decrease in greenhouse gases. Thanks to water-saving measures, per capita water use has dropped by 29% since 2005. There's an environmentally oriented dorm, GreenHouse in Cole Hall, and extensive green education. The university invests part of its endowment in renewable energy projects.
People's Choice: University of California-Davis, Davis, Calif.
Despite the State of California's budget woes, the University of California system remains committed to green goals. The Davis campus, in particular, has become a hotbed of research in clean tech. The school has two solar arrays and spends more than half of its food budget locally. All coffee served on campus is fair trade. A recently constructed building is LEED Platinum, and all new construction must meet at least LEED Silver standards. There are two green-themed housing communities and popular campus-wide "green off" competitions.
Learn more about our 2011 Heart of Green Award winners!
About the Nominees
Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz.
Arizona State University has an ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 74% from 2006 levels by 2025, and the school is off and running with aggressive efficiency measures, solar panels and small wind turbines. There are several green roofs, and all new construction must meet LEED Silver standards. ASU offers a School of Sustainability and a Sustainability House, and there's a bike sharing and repair program.
Brown University, Providence, R.I.
Brown is well on its way to reducing greenhouse gases by 42% by 2020. Over one third of energy purchases now come from renewables. Brown's bike-sharing program started in 2008, and has been expanded with many racks and even showers to promote cycle commuting. Part of the university's sizable endowment is invested in renewable energy portfolios.
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn.
The University of Minnesota has invested significantly in energy efficiency, and recently installed a cogeneration and biofuels plants. About 200 of the university's fleet vehicles run on alternative fuels, and new construction must meet the equivalent of LEED Silver standards. There are at least 16 student groups with green themes, plus a popular organic teaching farm.
Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
Yale has been turning heads with several beautiful new green buildings, and now mandates that all new construction meet LEED Gold standards. Thanks in part to input from famed chef (and proud Yale parent) Alice Waters, an impressive 43% of the university's food is now local and organic. Yale's sustainability plan calls for slashing greenhouse gases by 43% by 2020.
- Brian Clark Howard