UMES named top 'Green' public HBCU

  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014

     

    SustainabilityAtlanta - (April 22, 2014) - A comprehensive survey released today by The Building Green Initiative at Clark Atlanta University in recognition of Earth Day says historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are driving energy efficiency on their campuses and promoting sustainability through their policies, practices and curriculums.    

    The survey ranked the nation's most eco-friendly HBCUs and found the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Florida A&M University were the top green campuses among public institutions. Spelman College and Howard University topped the list for private schools, BGI director, according to Felicia Davis.

    "Black colleges are going green," Davis said. "This survey provides a clear picture of the wide-ranging activities underway at HBCUs to generate renewable energy, build to LEED Gold Certification standards and engage students in green initiatives, ecological curriculum and sustainable lifestyles."

    UMES' partnership with a private-sector vendor to install a grid of 7,800 solar panels that began generating electricity in 2011 stood out in the survey, Davis said.

    Rankings were determined by analyzing responses from 43 participating HBCUs in the areas of administration, energy efficiency, green building, recycling, renewable energy generation, food, transportation, purchasing, and student involvement.

    "We determined that students are getting more involved in the environmental movement on HBCU campuses," said Andrea Harris, president of North Carolina Institute for Minority Economic Development, the company commissioned to analyze the survey. "HBCUs are also using innovative, green technologies to address health, economic, and educational challenges in underserved communities."

    According to the survey results, all of the top institutions have signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, created sustainability committees, and are taking steps to reduce campus emissions.

    Innovative renewable energy solutions landed UMES as the top ranking school among all HBCUs.

    "The 17-acre solar farm we opened three years ago is now paying environmental and economic dividends," said G. Dale Wesson, UMES vice president for research and economic development. "Our future plans will reduce our carbon foot print and also fully engage faculty and students in production-scale renewable energy generation research projects."

    UMES' Somerset Hall, a 1950s-era building renovated five years ago, received a "Gold" certificate in 2011 from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a green building certification program. The university's new aviation science-engineering building set to open in the fall of 2015 will utilize geothermal energy.

    The top-rated HBCUs in the survey were:

    Public

    1. University of Maryland Eastern Shore

    2. Florida Agriculture & Mechanical University

    3. Elizabeth City (N.C.) State University

    4. North Carolina Agriculture & Technical University

    5. (Three-Way Tie) Morgan State University, Bowie State University & Mississippi Valley State University

    Private