|The UW's "U Farm"|
University of Washington
Universities and state institutions are not only leaders in finding new ways to reduce environmental impact, but also serve as models for how communities and businesses can reduce their impact on the environment.
This year’s winner was the University of Washington. In September 2009, the UW submitted an institutional Climate Action Plan to achieve carbon neutrality. Since then, the university has cut back on waste in a number of ways: 54 percent of the UW’s total waste is now diverted from landfills to recycling and composting facilities, 10 buildings are LEED certified, and 22 LEED projects are pending completion. Also, efficiency improvements in the Seattle campus’s data center resulted in a 26 percent drop in energy use. In addition, the UW’s farm was established to educate students about the impacts of our food supply, while helping create methods to reduce those impacts.
The UW’s list of honors and achievements includes an A- grade on the Sustainable Endowment Institute 2010 College Sustainability Report Card, a score of 99 on the Princeton Review 2009 Green Honor Roll and a second-place ranking in Sierra Club Magazine’s 2009 Cool Schools List.
Seattle University began an aggressive compost collection program in 2009 that gathered an estimated 17 to 22 tons of compostable material from outdoor bins and 65 tons from food service vendors. In 2010, the program reached out to residence halls by placing compost pails in each room. The program now collects nearly a ton of compostable material from residence halls each week.
King County GreenTools Program
The GreenTools program has helped manage and introduce a variety of green initiatives in King County. Among the goals are ensuring all new county-funded projects are built to LEED Gold standards and assessing the environmental impact of each new county project. The program also provides grants to residential and commercial projects that show a commitment to green standards.
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