New report ranks higher ed on renewables

Media Contacts
Emma Searson

Josh Chetwynd

Who’s Leading the Transition to 100% Renewable Energy on Campus?

Environment America Research & Policy Center

BOSTON — Environment America Research & Policy Center released a new report Wednesday that ranks small liberal arts colleges, large public universities and community colleges in key energy sustainability metrics. Most notably, the report shows that more than 40 colleges and universities currently obtain 100 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources. 

America’s Top Colleges for Renewable Energy 2020: Who’s Leading the Transition to 100% Renewable Energy on Campus? ranks campuses in three categories: shifting to renewable electricity; repowering buildings with clean energy; and adopting electric vehicles (EVs). 

“America’s college campuses are the perfect place to lead in the much-needed rapid transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy,” said Emma Searson, 100% Renewable campaign director at Environment America Research & Policy Center. “Our institutions of higher learning are innovators and leaders at their core. They can light the path toward a cleaner, healthier future, and these rankings show that many are already doing just that.”

Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York are the top-ranking schools for using electricity from renewable sources. Colby College in Maine and Chatham University in Pennsylvania topped the charts for the most renewable heating, cooling, hot water and other non-electric energy produced per student. 

Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida, which has a campus fleet made up of 85 percent electric vehicles, ranked No. 1 in the adopting EVs category. University of the Pacific in California was the runner-up. 

Beyond the rankings, the report also highlights eight schools that have adopted ambitious renewable energy commitments for the future. Among them are Vanderbilt University, which committed in 2019 to power its entire campus with renewable energy and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050; and the University of California system, which committed in 2018 to 100 percent renewable electricity and to power all heating, hot water and other energy needs in new buildings with electricity. 

Dozens of campuses have already put their markers down to make the essential transition to renewable energy, and that list only continues to grow,” Searson said. “We are seeing a race to the top as these institutions, which already drive innovation and research, look to show how the knowledge they’ve helped to foster can be applied on campus and beyond.”


Environment America Research & Policy Center is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to protecting air, water and open space by investigating problems, crafting solutions and educating the public. It is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to getting things done.

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