By UW Sustainability | Dec 7, 2022
Aerial view of UW's Drumheller Fountain and Rainier Vista

The University of Washington has recently been recognized as a national leader for its sustainability performance, particularly in the areas of purchasing and transportation.

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) 2022 Sustainable Campus Index named the UW second overall, and first among doctoral universities, for sustainable purchasing. The UW was also ninth overall, and fourth among U.S. schools, for sustainable transportation.

The UW was also recently named among the top 10 Zero Waste Campuses by the Post Landfill Action Network.

“These rankings recognize the hard work so many people have done to put sustainability at the forefront across the University of Washington,” said UW Sustainability Director Lisa Dulude. “We also recognize we have more to do as we work toward a sustainable university, including decarbonizing our energy system.”

The UW is committed to fully decarbonize the energy system of the Seattle campus. Most of the University’s direct greenhouse gas emissions come from the on-campus Power Plant, which burns natural gas to create steam for heating campus buildings. The University has identified a strategy to move to fully clean energy, through energy conservation, transitioning from a steam to hot water system, centralizing campus cooling efforts and electrifying the heating systems.

In addition, UW Sustainability is leading a process to update the UW’s Sustainability Action Plan, which sets the University’s sustainability targets and guides our actions and efforts. UW Sustainability will be working to engage the campus community in discussions on how to shape our sustainability goals and priorities. 

The Sustainable Campus Index uses information from the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) administered by AASHE. STARS ratings are good for three years. The UW submitted itsmost recent self-reported assessment in 2021 and received a gold rating, with a score of 70.78 percent.