From Green Right Now Reports

Many American universities are leading the way toward a more sustainable future. They’re buying renewable power, connecting with local food sources, adding classes on sustainability and new urbanism, inventorying their carbon footprint, preserving open land and retrofitting energy-inefficient buildings — showing the rest of us how it’s done.

Sierra Club looks at all these factors and more when identifies the vanguard in this movement, lauding the colleges and universities making the most progress. This year’s 4th annual ‘Cool Schools‘ list, published this week in Sierra magazine, ranks 162 schools on their climate cooling efforts, and calls out those in the top 10.

Sierra Club judged the schools based on 11-page questionnaires sent to 900 colleges and universities (and returned by 162).

Rankings changed quite a bit from last year because Sierra Club retooled its matrix to give more weight to energy use.

“Sierra shifted priorities in this year’s survey after consulting the Club’s conservation experts, who encouraged us to give more weight to each school’s energy supply. That adjustment caused a significant shuffle at the top of the list: This year’s top 20 includes 9 newcomers. And our new valedictorian, Vermont’s Green Mountain College, placed 35th last year.

Green Mountain College, the top scorer with 88 points, also showed well in the other nine other categories were considered: efficiency, food, academics, purchasing, transportation, waste management, administration, financial investments and “other initiatives.”

1. Green Mountain College, Poultney, Vermont

2. Dickinson College, Carlisle, Penn.

3. Evergreen State College, Olympia, Wash.

4. University of Washington, Seattle, Wash.

5. Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.

6. University of California, Irvine, Calif.

7. Northland College, Ashland, Wisc.

8. Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

9. College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, Maine

10. Hampshire College, Amherst, Mass.

Examine the rankings for all 162 colleges on the Sierra website.

And don’t think that’s the end of it. The online discussion about omissions and placements promises to be as cantankerous as any over football rivalries. Early commentators include people aghast that the University of Oregon didn’t make the top 100 (that is suspicious) and surprised that Georgia Tech, home to a prominent global warming denier, did make the list.