Aug. 11, 2015

The University of Washington is once again among the top 10 greenest schools in America according to Sierra magazine.

The official publication of the Sierra Club ranked the UW No. 10 in its 2015 "Cool Schools" rankings. This is the sixth time UW has been ranked in the top 10 in nine years the magazine has put together the rankings.

"It's an honor to be recognized as a Cool School by the Sierra Club Magazine. This achievement recognizes the passion and committed work of our students, faculty and staff that make UW a sustainable campus," said Ruth Johnston, Associate Vice President of UW Sustainability."

Sierra magazine ranked more than 150 schools based on an extensive survey covering campus sustainability practices. The ranking includes factors such as renewable energy use; availability of organic, local foods; waste systems that divert trash away from landfills; transportation options that keep students and staff out of cars; academic programs that are heavily eco-focused; and strong methods in place to conserve water and energy.

The UW earned special recognition for its performance in two categories, ranking second in the purchasing category and third in transportation. The university earned high marks in purchasing for policies requiring recycled paper and green cleaning products, as well as instituting a supplier code of conduct. UW has several transportation initiatives to reduce single-car commuting, including the U-PASS system, which provides students, faculty and staff with a universal pass to Seattle-area public transit systems.

Sierra also commended the university for its use of clean energy. More than 90 percent of the UW's electricity comes from hydropower, and less than 1 percent is generated by coal.

"Young people understand the need to confront climate disruption and jump-start our economy. That's why students across the country have joined the Sierra Student Coalition's Seize the Grid campaign—demanding 100 percent localized clean energy on campuses," said Karissa Gerhke, National Director of the Sierra Student Coalition. "‘Cool Schools’ is a showcase of campuses taking concrete steps toward those goals. We look forward to working with these schools in taking the next step and committing to 100 percent clean energy."

The top school in the rankings was the University of California, Irvine. The University of Washington was the top-rated Pac-12 school in the list, coming in two spots ahead of the University of California, Berkeley.

To see the full ranking of 153 colleges, including each school’s completed questionnaire, go to

This article originally listed the UW as the No. 8 school in the Cool School rankings. It was revised to reflect a scoring update by Sierra magazine. For more information see Sierra magazine's statement on the scoring corrections.