U-M earns Gold rating for climate and sustainability work

The exterior details of the Central Campus Power Plant.

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) awarded the University of Michigan a Gold rating in recognition of universitywide climate action and sustainability work.

The organization’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) measures and encourages sustainability across participating colleges and universities. Its methodology covers academics, engagement, operations and planning and administration.

U-M earned 73.84 points — more than four higher than its previous submission, due in large part to new sustainable investing strategies and renewable power purchase agreements. The university’s submission involved the collaboration of several campus units, including the Office of Campus Sustainability and the Graham Sustainability Institute.

More than 900 participating institutions from 40 countries take part in the STARS program, including 137 that hold Gold ratings and 12 that hold Platinum ratings. All participating Big Ten institutions hold Gold or Silver ratings. “U-M has greatly increased its commitment to climate action over the last five years,” said Drew Horning, special advisor to the president for carbon neutrality. “The actions we’re beginning to implement — such as geothermal and solar energy — will improve our future STARS scores, and far more importantly, will mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and their associated impact on our climate.” The STARS rating complements a recent ranking by the EPA’s Green Power Partnership, which listed U-M as eighth in renewable power use among institutes of higher education.

Aside from submitting information to STARS, U-M participates within AASHE to share and learn best practices across academics, operations and leadership. U-M also is an active member and co-founder of the Midwest Climate Collaborative and serves as the lead institution of the University Climate Change Coalition.