New rankings compare colleges and universities on progress toward clean energy

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Timothy Schaefer

University of Minnesota, Morris tops list for most on-campus renewable energy per student

Environment Minnesota Research and Policy Center


Minneapolis, MN – As high school seniors across the country receive college admissions letters this week, Environment Minnesota Research & Policy Center is announcing which schools are in and out when it comes to the transition to renewable energy. In a new study released today, colleges and universities were ranked in five categories based on their shift to renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. The University of Minnesota, Morris tops the list for most on-campus renewable energy.

“The University of Minnesota, Morris is a model living and learning community, and we are proud to be a clean energy leader in Minnesota and in the nation,” said Chancellor Behr of UMN Morris. “Our campus and community are powered by the wind and sun, and sustainable practice drives our teaching, research, and outreach activities.”

The top-ranking schools in each category are:

  • Most renewable electricity: Southwestern (Texas) University

  • Most renewable electricity on-campus: University of Minnesota, Morris

  • Most renewable electricity purchased from off-campus sources: George Washington (D.C.) University

  • Most renewable heating, cooling, hot water and other non-electric energy: Colgate (New York) University

  • Highest percentage of electric campus vehicles: Ringling (Florida) College of Art and Design

“The University of Minnesota, Morris’ dedication to tackling climate change has earned it a well deserved spot among the nation’s top colleges and universities that are leading the shift to clean, renewable energy,” said Tim Schaefer, Environment Minnesota State Director. “Their leadership is a shining example that should inspire higher education institutions across the country to transition to using renewable energy sources.”

Campuses from 19 states and Washington, D.C. are featured in these rankings, which offer a multi-dimensional snapshot of progress toward 100 percent renewable energy. The rankings, which list the top 10 in each category, are based on colleges’ and universities’ reports to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Ratings System (STARS). The categories for renewable electricity, renewable electricity on-campus, renewable electricity off-campus and renewable heating, cooling, hot water and other non-electric energy are calculated per student.

“The colleges and universities leading the rankings are at the top of the class when it comes to tackling climate change and transitioning to clean, renewable energy sources,” said Bronte Payne, Environment America’s 100% Renewable Campuses Campaign director. “Future and current students care deeply about the role higher education is playing in the fight against climate change. With this report, they now have valuable data regarding which colleges and universities are leading the charge on renewable energy future.”

“Students will be the driving force behind future commitments to clean, renewable energy that will lead us to a fossil fuel-free economy,” said Payne.

Across the country, Environment America Research & Policy Center and its partners at the Student PIRGs are working with students on more than 50 campuses in 15 states to transition higher education to 100 percent renewable energy.

Learn more about Environment America’s campaign for 100% renewable energy on college campuses.


Environment America is the national federation of statewide, citizen-based advocacy organizations working for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.