Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

DU scores high marks on green report card

The University of Denver hit the books last year on sustainability, and this month’s “Green Report Card” shows the rewards of hard work.

The 2010 Sustainable Endowments Institute’s College Sustainability Report Card gives DU a B-plus grade, an improvement over last year’s B-minus. The higher grade stems from improvements in several categories, including endowment transparency, administrative leadership and commitment to combating climate change.

Lyndsay Agans, chair of the DU Sustainability Council, says she’s happy with the grade and says the report is respected nationally among those involved in sustainable practices. But, she says, there is room for improvement, and she says DU stands a good chance of improving again next year.

“Overall, we’re doing well,” she says. “I think we’ve done a lot of work, and that work is showing up here.”

DU dropped a grade in the “green building” category despite a number of new buildings recognized as “green” by nationally accepted building standards. Tom McGee, DU’s energy engineer, says the reason for the drop may be due to some reporting mandates that will be rectified this year. He looks for that grade to increase with just a few improvements in building monitoring being implemented this fall.

Regionally, DU was a strong performer on the report. The top rating in the Rocky Mountain Region went to the University of Colorado, which earned an A-minus. DU’s B-plus tied for second with Colorado College. Further down the list, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, University of Montana-Missoula and University of Utah rated Bs. Colorado State University earned a C-plus and the Colorado School of Mines trailed with a D-plus. The lowest-rated school in the region is Brigham Young University, with a D-minus.

The institute profiled 332 schools through 48 indicators — including building assessments, recycling programs and endowment investment policies — to create the ratings. The institute is a special project of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and is based in Cambridge, Mass.

The full report is online at


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