Sustainability charts: Latest UI GreenMetric World University Ranking

Now out : the new Green Metric World Ranking

This world university league table first appeared in 2010 and was headed by the University of California, Berkeley. Two years ago the University of Nottingham led the field (down to second to Connecticut in last year’s ranking). This year though Nottingham is back on top:

The top 10 is follows:

1 University of Nottingham UK

2 University College Cork National University of Ireland Ireland

3 Northeastern University US

4 University of Bradford UK

5 University of Connecticut US

6 Universite de Sherbrooke Canada

7 University of Plymouth UK

8 University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill US

9 University of California, Davis US

10 North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State Univ US

UI
The details of the table can be found at UI GreenMetric site. The aim of the ranking is, at least in part, to promote sustainability in universities:

The aim of this ranking is to provide the result of online survey regarding the current condition and policies related to Green Campus and Sustainability in the Universities all over the world. It is expected that by drawing the attention of university leaders and stake holders, more attention will be given to combating global climate change, energy and water conservation, waste recycling, and green transportation. Such activities will require change of behavior and providing more attention to sustainability of the environment, as well as economic and social problem related to the sustainability. We believe that the universities that are leading the way in this regard need to be identifiable and so we have decided to make a start in doing this. Initially, we will collect numeric data from thousands of universities world wide and process the data provided to arrive at a single score that reflects the efforts being made by the institution to implement environmentally friendly and sustainable policies and programs. Universities will be ranked according to this score. We hope that the rankings will be useful to university leaders in their efforts to put in place eco-friendly policies and manage behavioral change among the academic community at their respective institutions.

The methodology, criteria and scoring can be found here but in summary the approach is as follows:

We selected criteria that are generally thought to be of importance by universities concerned with sustainability. These include the collection of a basic profile of the size of the university and its zoning profile, whether urban, suburban, rural. Beyond this we want to see the degree of green space. The next category of information concerns electricity consumption because of its link to our carbon footprint. Then we want to know about transport, water usage, waste management and so on. Beyond these indicators, we want to get a picture about how the university is responding to or dealing with the issue of sustainability through policies, actions, and communication.

Overall a good result for UK institutions and Nottingham in particular (as well as for Bradford and Plymouth in the top 10 and Bath in 15th and Bangor in 19th place). The number of institutions participating this year has again increased and it does rather look as if this league table is becoming more established.

Advertisements

How Green is my Campus?

An exciting new tool to count university plants.

A web-based tool to measure plant diversity on university and college campuses has been developed by the University of Northampton with funds from HEFCE.

The index

The Biodiversity Index is an interactive system which allows organisations with little or no knowledge of biodiversity to assess the level of plant diversity on their land quickly, simply and scientifically.

What does the Biodiversity Index do?

Biodiversity refers to the number and variety of all forms of life – living organisms, the genetic differences between them and the ecosystems in which they occur.

The index enables universities and colleges to identify their different habitats and to make a simple but scientific assessment of the plant diversity of those habitats. The website then makes calculations based on the data, and gives a biodiversity score, a summary and a printable report.

Untitled1

The Index offers tips on how to improve the diversity of habitats, with links to further reading and advice. Many of these suggestions are cost-neutral, and some may actually save money while improving biodiversity. Users of the Biodiversity Index can access information to help them:

  • develop a Biodiversity Action Plan
  • identify a range of activities to benefit biodiversity on campus
  • fulfil corporate social responsibility goals
  • fulfil responsibilities as a public body under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006
  • raise staff engagement in biodiversity conservation.

It’s an interesting development. Will institutions take advantage of it or indeed the (paid for) consultancy on offer alongside the index? I don’t know but it does look like a potentially useful addition to universities’ wider biodiversity activities

£5m for Students’ Green Fund

Big funding for student-led green initiatives.

HEFCE recently announced the launch of the ‘Students’ Green Fund’ which is intended to help students work with their institutions on sustainable development:

NUS will run a single-round bidding competition in summer 2013, to allocate the funding. The funded projects will then receive the funding over two full academic years (2013-14 and 2014-15).

The Students’ Green Fund will encourage local collaborative sustainability initiatives through students’ unions, putting students in the driving seat for sustainability engagement initiatives, as well as supporting them in their role as agents for change.

NUS is determined to create a social norm of sustainability in institutions. The groundwork laid by initiatives such as Student Switch Off in university halls of residence, the sustainable growth programme, Student Eats, and Green Impact, will be strengthened by the Students’ Green Fund.

A handy information video has been developed by NUS:

 

 

Details of the bidding process are on the NUS website. The final deadline for proposals is rapidly approaching and it will be interesting to see who the winners are and what kind of projects are supported. It’s a pretty large sum of money.

Everything’s gone green

Some positive work on sustainable futures at the University of Nottingham.

In 2012 the University of Nottingham won the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development. In the citation for the award the judges noted Nottingham was a “trailblazer” for environmental best practice.

David Walliams applies to join the Estates Office team

David Walliams applies to join the Estates Office team

Now I must admit that I used to be rather skeptical of the idea of ‘greening’ different aspects of university activity. Partly this was down to concern about the additional cost, substantial in many cases, but also doubt that it would have any meaningful impact on sustainability or that prospective students would really be interested in a university’s green credentials.

I got it wrong. This is all for real and it does matter. At the University of Nottingham our sustainability policy has the following aims:

  • Improve the environmental performance of our buildings and the University’s physical infrastructure
  • Ensure all operations and procurements are sustainable
  • Harness the University’s research and teaching strength to improve its environmental performance and advance the environmental agenda
  • Contribute broadly to efforts to protect the environment and ensure those efforts get the recognition they deserve.
Lincoln Hall solar panels

Lincoln Hall solar panels

OK, grand ambitions, but how do these translate into practice? The University has done rather a lot. In terms of travel there has been significant pedestrianisation and cycle lane installation, Ucycle Nottingham and ride-to-work schemes and more public transport and inter-site buses. Moreover, one of the new city tram lines under construction will pass through University park and a parking charging scheme (not universally popular, it has to be said) has been introduced, resulting in a drop in car use.

The grounds management  plan has sustainability and increasing biodiversity of campuses as key requirements. The University has won 10 consecutive Green Flag awards and a Green Gown award for sustainability and, in partnership with the Woodland Trust, planted a ‘Diamond Wood’ in Sutton Bonington in 2012. On waste and re-cycling there have been significant improvements in recycling rates, from 4% in 04/05 to 29% in 08/09, and 87% in 10/11.

In terms of carbon management, the University’s Carbon Management Plan (CMP) was approved in 2010 and includes targets for reductions in emissions of CO2 from energy usage. It identifies the principal areas of energy use and investment programmes required to improve energy efficiency, reduce usage and generate energy from renewable energy sources. In its second year the CMP developed 55 projects requiring a total investment of £1.48 million. The overall benefits identified equate to 2,028 tonnes of CO2 and £350k per annum. In 2010/11 there was a 1.7 % decrease in CO2 and this trend continued in 2011/12 with a 2.3% reduction from 67,454 to 65,901 tonnes CO2 a saving of 1,553 tonnes.

Less positively, planning applications for a three turbine wind farm alongside the Grove Farm sports ground appear to have been stymied for the present by some disappointing decisions by Broxtowe Borough and Nottingham City Councils whose green rhetoric has, unfortunately, not been matched by their actions.

The University currently has 14 BREEAM schemes within the system, the highest within the HE sector: seven ‘BREEAM Excellent’ completed buildings, six buildings where BREEAM Excellent is being targeted during the development process and one ‘BREEAM Outstanding’ for the first carbon neutral laboratory to be built in the UK. The building will achieve BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ and LEED ‘Platinum’ and carbon neutral status after 25 years.

On teaching, there is an expectation that sustainability will be built into all curricula and some good progress has been made here, including through the Nottingham Advantage Award.

 Sutton Bonington

Sutton Bonington


The University has a strong research portfolio looking at the fields of environment and sustainability, both in the UK and at our campuses in Asia including for example, the Creative Energy Dwellings, Energy Technologies Research Institute, Green Chemistry, Food Security and Bioenergy. Most recently the announcement of the new GSK laboratory has confirmed Nottingham’s continued commitment to cutting edge research in this area.

The establishment of an Environmental Champions Network, which aims to bring together people from a broad spectrum of Schools and Central Professional Services to share ideas and act as champions to reduce environmental impacts, has been particularly successful in communicating and raising awareness of environmental matters.

There is, of course, a league table which offers ratings of universities’ sustainability efforts. The UI GreenMetric World Universities Ranking has sought to provide a system which allows universities in both the developed and developing world to compare their efforts towards campus sustainability and environmentally friendly university management. Nottingham was ranked second in this table in 2010 and again in 2012, coming first in this world league table in 2011. Note that I am deliberately ignoring the ‘People and Planet’ ranking here because of their extremely dubious and constantly changing methodology and because Nottingham rarely scores well in their table. Sadly, the much loved University Duck Density League , which ranks institutions by the number of waterfowl on campus must be ignored too given the absence of updated data.

So, overall it is a really positive picture here. There is still a long way to go but the public praise is welcome. Going back then to that THE award citation:

in both the innovative approach to estate development and the determination to embed best sustainability practice across the university, Nottingham has again shown the way.

Sustainability charts: UI GreenMetric World University Ranking 2012

Now out : the Green Metric World Ranking 2012

This world university league table first appeared in 2010 and was headed by University of California, Berkeley. Last year the University of Nottingham led the field (sadly down to second this year). In 2012 it is the turn of Connecticut. The rest of the top 10 is as follows (last year’s position in brackets):

1 University of Connecticut, US (3)

2 University of Nottingham, UK (1)

3 University College Cork, Ireland (4)

4 Northeastern University, US (2)

5 University of Plymouth, UK (-)

6 Universite de Sherbrooke Canada

7 University of California, Los Angeles, US (7)

8 University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill US

9 University of Bath, UK (10)

10 University of California Merced, US (9)

UI
The details of the table can be found at UI GreenMetric site. The aim of the ranking is, at least in part, to promote sustainability in universities:

The aim of this ranking is to provide the result of online survey regarding the current condition and policies related to Green Campus and Sustainability in the Universities all over the world. It is expected that by drawing the attention of university leaders and stake holders, more attention will be given to combating global climate change, energy and water conservation, waste recycling, and green transportation. Such activities will require change of behavior and providing more attention to sustainability of the environment, as well as economic and social problem related to the sustainability. We believe that the universities that are leading the way in this regard need to be identifiable and so we have decided to make a start in doing this. Initially, we will collect numeric data from thousands of universities world wide and process the data provided to arrive at a single score that reflects the efforts being made by the institution to implement environmentally friendly and sustainable policies and programs. Universities will be ranked according to this score. We hope that the rankings will be useful to university leaders in their efforts to put in place eco-friendly policies and manage behavioral change among the academic community at their respective institutions.

The methodology, criteria and scoring can be found here but in summary the approach is as follows:

We selected criteria that are generally thought to be of importance by universities concerned with sustainability. These include the collection of a basic profile of the size of the university and its zoning profile, whether urban, suburban, rural. Beyond this we want to see the degree of green space. The next category of information concerns electricity consumption because of its link to our carbon footprint. Then we want to know about transport, water usage, waste management and so on. Beyond these indicators, we want to get a picture about how the university is responding to or dealing with the issue of sustainability through policies, actions, and communication.

Overall a good result for Nottingham (and for Plymouth in 5th and Bath in 9th place). The number of institutions participating this year has increased significantly and it does rather look as if this league table is gaining a foothold.

UI GreenMetric World University Ranking 2011

Green Metric World Ranking 2011

This world university league table first appeared in 2010 and was headed by University of California, Berkeley. This year there’s a new table topper, the University of Nottingham (very proud we are too). The top 10 is as follows:

 

1 University of Nottingham, UK

2 Northeastern University, US

3 University of Connecticut, US

4 University College Cork, Ireland

5 Linkoping University, Sweden

6 University of California, Berkeley, US

7 University of California, Los Angeles, US

8 Washington University In St. Louis, US

9 University of California Merced, US

10 University of Bath, UK

 
The details of the table can be found at UI GreenMetric site. The aim of the ranking is, at least in part, to promote sustainability in universities:

The aim of this ranking is to provide the result of online survey regarding the current condition and policies related to Green Campus and Sustainability in the Universities all over the world. It is expected that by drawing the attention of university leaders and stake holders, more attention will be given to combating global climate change, energy and water conservation, waste recycling, and green transportation. Such activities will require change of behavior and providing more attention to sustainability of the environment, as well as economic and social problem related to the sustainability. We believe that the universities that are leading the way in this regard need to be identifiable and so we have decided to make a start in doing this. Initially, we will collect numeric data from thousands of universities world wide and process the data provided to arrive at a single score that reflects the efforts being made by the institution to implement environmentally friendly and sustainable policies and programs. Universities will be ranked according to this score. We hope that the rankings will be useful to university leaders in their efforts to put in place eco-friendly policies and manage behavioral change among the academic community at their respective institutions.

The methodology, criteria and scoring can be found here but in summary the approach is as follows:

We selected criteria that are generally thought to be of importance by universities concerned with sustainability. These include the collection of a basic profile of the size of the university and its zoning profile, whether urban, suburban, rural. Beyond this we want to see the degree of green space. The next category of information concerns electricity consumption because of its link to our carbon footprint. Then we want to know about transport, water usage, waste management and so on. Beyond these indicators, we want to get a picture about how the university is responding to or dealing with the issue of sustainability through policies, actions, and communication.

So, a good result for Nottingham (and for Bath in 10th place). It will be interesting to see if the table gains greater currency.

New Green World University Ranking

University of Indonesia produces its GreenMetric World University Ranking

The recently published table has Berkeley in first place and the University of Nottingham in second. From the press release:

As one of leading University in Asia, University of Indonesia come up with its new innovation in effort to build sustainable environment within its campus through UI Green Metric Ranking of World Universities 2010. This is the only rankings that measure each university participants in its commitment in developing an ‘environment friendly’ infrastructure as its indicator.

Based on research and survey conducted through on-line by the UI Green Metric team on thousands of universities in the world, which was conducted in May – November 2010, University of California, Berkeley, United States (total score of 8,213), is the best campus in terms of its environment policy. University of Nottingham, the United Kingdom ( total score of 8,201), and then followed by Northeastern University, United States (with score of 7,909) is in the third place.University of Indonesia is in the 15th place (with score of 6.875), position it as the best university in Indonesia based on its environment policy.

The criteria are not entirely clear:

But the results are quite interesting with four UK universities – Nottingham, Bangor, Sussex and Kent – in the leading group. The top 20 is below and the full table can be found here.

University of California, Berkeley US 8,213.18 1

University of Nottingham UK 8,201.55 2

York University Canada 7,909.14 3

Northeastern University US 7,885.73 4

Cornell University US 7,799.14 5

Universiti Putra Malaysia Malaysia 7,698.60 6

Washington University In St. Louis US 7,501.53 7

Georgia Institute of Technology US 7,479.51 8

University of Wisconsin-madison US 7,437.97 9

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill US 7,320.58 10

Bangor University UK 7,242.69 11

University of Sussex UK 7,087.82 12

Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral Ecuador 7,046.20 13

University of Kent UK 6,948.10 14

Universitas Indonesia Indonesia 6,875.82 15

Universidad de Alcalá Spain 6,863.83 16

King Mongkut´s University of Technology Thonburi Thailand 6,859.71 17

Institut Teknologi Sepuluh November Indonesia 6,817.01 18

Hokkaido University Japan 6,785.95 19

National University of Singapore Singapore 6,737.98 20

Will it catch on? Time will tell.

“Green” University league table

The People and Planet “Green League”

Another fun league table here but really makes all of the others look like models of objectivity and statistical rigour. From THE

1 Gloucestershire (last year 5th)
2 Plymouth (2)
3 UWE (8th)
4 Anglia Ruskin (8th)
5 Loughborough (38th)
5 Cambridge (8th)
5 Central Lancashire (50)
8 Leeds Metropolitan (1)
8 Hertfordshire (3)
8 Huddersfield (71)
11 Queen’s (5)
12 St Andrews (8th)
13 Glamorgan 4)
14 Derby (22)
14 Leeds (8th)
16 Oxford Brookes (5)
17 Swansea Metropolitan (27)
17 Liverpool (55)
19 Nottingham Trent (16)
19 Glasgow (56)

University of Nottingham sadly dropped down to 56= a drop of 34 places. Not the biggest fall though – Northumbria dropped 95 places on last year’s postion to 111th.

What wins green points then? The criteria are set out below:

For the Green League, universities were ranked by performance in each of the following categories:

– A publicly available environmental policy. Universities were allocated points out of ten for having a policy, whether it had been revised in the past two years and the targets it set, for example on waste management and emissions.

– Full-time environmental staff. Up to 12 points were allocated for the number of full- and part-time staff with responsibility for environmental management.

– Environmental auditing. Institutions were awarded up to ten points for how well they had analysed their impact on the environment.

– Fairtrade status. Universities accredited by the Fairtrade Foundation were awarded three points.

– Ethical investment policy. Up to three points were available for institutions holding an ethical investment policy, and how rigorously that policy was applied.

– Energy sources. Depending on how much energy the university acquired from renewable resources, four points could be picked up here.

– Percentage of waste recycled. Up to four points were available, according to the proportion of total waste recycled.

– Carbon emissions per head. Four points could be won for low emissions.

– Improvement in performance indicators. Points were awarded for improvement against performance criteria in both this and last year’s Green League. The most improved picked up six points.

– Water consumption per head. A performance criterion introduced into the league this year. The institutions using the least water received four points.

All of these are extraordinarily opaque and the weightings are bizarre (why is it two and a half times more important to have and environmental officer than purchasing energy from renewable sources?).  Whilst the greenness of universities is a legitimate area of interest, the nature of this league table (and the huge volatility of the rankings), really doesn’t advance matters.