UNT has been named to the “Green College” list of environmentally responsible universities by The Princeton Review, one of only three universities in Texas to make the list.
The Princeton Review created the list in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, which operates the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, green building certification program. The list features institutions of higher education that demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.
Schools were rated on a scale between 60 and 99, and only schools with a ranking of 80 or above were featured in the 2011 edition. UNT received a score of 95. According to The Princeton Review, 69 percent of students surveyed said that having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school.
The report commended UNT for developing a Climate Action Plan according to requirements outlined by the American College & University President's Climate Commitment. In 2008, UNT became the first large Texas university to sign the ACUPCC. UNT has completed five of the seven tangible actions, making it the leading green university in Texas and placing UNT in the top 17 percent of green-compliant universities nationwide. The university also created the Office of Sustainability in February 2009.
Other UNT green achievements noted in the guidebook include:
- UNT offers graduate degrees in environmental science and the country’s first doctoral degree program in environmental ethics
- UNT recycled more than 600 tons of materials last year and diverted more than 30,000 cubic feet of waste from the landfill
- UNT offers alternative transportation programs to students, faculty and staff
- UNT monitors campus electrical consumption and water usage through the UNT SMART program
- The Tree Advisory Committee at UNT leads the way for following Tree Campus USA guidelines
- 40 percent of the energy on campus is derived from renewable sources provided by Denton’s municipality
- 43 percent of the campus buildings have undergone energy-related retrofits
- 25 percent of the university’s food expenditures are on local or organic food sources
- 25 percent school grounds are maintained organically
"UNT has been ahead of the curve when it comes to research, education, policies and our built environment," says Todd Spinks, director of the Office of Sustainability. "We continually strive to ensure a holistic approach for the most productive future for UNT, its students and the North Texas region."
In April, UNT received a $2 million grant from the State Energy Conservation Office to install three community-scale wind turbines that will feed the electrical grid that provides power to UNT's Mean Green stadium. The stadium, which opens in September, will potentially be the first LEED Platinum certified football complex in the world. The turbines are expected to be installed by the end of the year.
UNT's other green initiatives include:
- Emphasizes research in the areas of renewable energy and conservation, renewable bioproducts and biocultural conservation
- Offers a master’s degree in international sustainable tourism, the first of its kind
- Retrofitted 36 elliptical machines in the Pohl Recreation Center with ReRev technology to capture kinetic energy and produce electricity
- Ensuring that all UNT graduation regalia is composed of 100 percent acetate material, which is compostable after one year
- Carrying out the UNT System's commitment to construct future buildings that meet or exceed LEED standards
- Undergoing a three-year campuswide energy savings project with Schneider Electric that will save UNT an estimated $3.2 million a year in energy costs
The second annual edition of The Princeton Review’s list salutes the nation's most environmentally responsible "Green Colleges" with profiles of 308 institutions of higher education in the United States and three in Canada.
Elizabeth Smith with UNT News Service can be reached at Elizabeth.Smith@unt.edu.