Campus Ecology: Environmental Performance Assessment and Reporting Economicology 1.0, 1.5, 2.0

Start Date: 
Jan 1, 1999
Collaborator: 
Aquinas College
Carnegie Mellon University
Grand Rapids Community College
Grand Valley State University
Michigan State University
Michigan Technological University
Western Michigan University
Williams College
Summary: 

Objective of this project is to enhance the environmental performance of universities and colleges (U&C) through a framework for assessing and reporting environmental impacts, based on a set of quantitative metrics. Examples of such metrics are greenhouse-gas emissions from fossil fuels consumption, tons of organically-grown food, non-renewable materials consumption from construction and purchasing, and toxic releases from landscaping. In addition to operational aspects, the performance metrics will also inventory the level at which sustainability has been incorporated into teaching and research practices, as well as the overarching administrative policies regarding environmental responsibility (e.g., environmentally- and socially-responsible investment policies, existence of sustainability committee or coordinator).The vehicle for this assessment will be an Internet-based data collection tool with access granted only to relevant administrators within a particular institution. Incorporated into the data collection tool will be a module for processing and categorizing data so that various U&C can be evaluated instantly on a normalized and scientific basis (e.g., resource consumption per sqft or per student). In addition to the complete set of outputs for internal use by the college only, a more aggregated set will be posted on the Internet. Results may use rankings based for instance on the number of students, research dollars spent, square footage or other meaningful functional units. Purpose of that site is to show off best practices in select areas (e.g., transportation or curriculum), as well as to create strong incentives for improvement, triggered by a ranking of the participating institutions. The experiences from NWF's Campus Ecology survey will help determine if all U&Cs or only the top-10 should be displayed on the web site.

Sponsor: 
Wege Foundation
Keyword: 
Air/Water Emissions
Life-Cycle-Assessment
Energy Consumption
Waste Generation
Environmental Impact