Tech earns a 'B' on Green Report Card

The Sustainable Endowment Institute has awarded Georgia Tech a 'B' overall on its 2009 College Sustainability Report Card of 300 leading schools. Up from a 'C' given last year, the grade moves Tech into the Campus Sustainability Leader category.

Tech improved from a 'C' to an 'A' in both in the Administration and Food & Recycling categories. The addition of a full-time director to the Office of Environmental Stewardship along with a LEED-accredited building director, an alternative transportation manager and a recycling services manager, contributed to the 'A' grade in Administration.

The Food & Recycling category was giving a boost from last year, as Tech currently purchases 40 percent of its produce and 25 percent of all food from local sources and offers organic food, along with discounts given for students' having reusable cups and shopping bags. Students also have organized a campus community agriculture program. In March, the Office of Solid Waste Management and Recycling won the 2008 American Forest and Paper Association College and University Paper Recycling Award.

In the Green Building Category, Georgia Tech received an 'A,' up from a 'B' in 2008. Policy dictates that all new buildings and renovations will meet or exceed the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standards. The Christopher W. Klaus Advanced Computing building was LEED Gold-certified in June. To date, six building and renovation projects are LEED-registered, and six historic campus buildings have been renovated to LEED Silver standards.

"People at Georgia Tech are doing more," said Office of Environmental Stewardship Sustainability Director Marcia Kinstler. "We have a long record of sustainability and can now document these efforts better that we have been able to in years. I have seen students, faculty, researchers, staff and administration collaborating and innovating at the intersection of technology, policy, business and sustainability, living the Institute's vision to 'define the technological research university of the 21st century.'"

In the rest of the categories, Tech received a 'B' in Climate Change & Energy; an 'A' in Student Involvement, a new category for 2009; a 'B' in Transportation; an 'A' in Investment Priorities; and an 'F' in both Endowment Transparency and Shareholder Engagement.

Georgia Tech performed on par with most of its peer institutions, with the University of Washington and Stanford University receiving the highest grade awarded ('A-'). Massachusetts Institute of Technology received a 'B+', while Carnegie Mellon and California Institute of Technology both received an overall grade of 'B.' Emory University received a 'B' and the University of Georgia received a 'C-'. Out of 300 schools, 15 received the highest grade of an 'A-' and were ranked as Overall College Sustainability Leaders.