POULTNEY, Vt., Oct. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Green Mountain College has been recognized as a national sustainability leader in the 2015 Sustainable Campus Index released yesterday by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). GMC achieved the top spot for curriculum and air quality achievements, and the school was ranked #2 in socially responsible investment strategies. The 2015 Sustainable Campus Index highlights top-performing colleges and universities in 17 areas measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) developed by AASHE.
Green Mountain, which received a "gold" designation by AASHE in 2014, ranked first in the curriculum category, which recognizes institutions with education programs and courses that address sustainability. GMC declared its environmental mission in 1995.
GMC shared the number one ranking with Colby College in the area of air quality. The STARS air and climate subcategory recognizes institutions that are measuring and reducing their greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions. Five years ago, GMC opened a new $5.8 million biomass plant, which now generates 85% of the school's annual heating needs. The facility replaced number six fuel oil with locally harvested woodchips to provide heat in cold months. The biomass plant and a host of other initiatives have resulted in a 41% reduction in greenhouse gasses across campus since 2007.
"Green Mountain College's participation in STARS and strong performance demonstrates significant leadership and commitment to advancing sustainability," said AASHE's Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. "We are pleased to recognize GMC for working to secure a brighter future by incorporating sustainability into campus operations, academics, administration and engagement."
GMC ranked second in the nation in the "investment" category, as a result of the College's recent move to divest from 200 publicly traded companies, which hold most of the world's known coal, oil and gas reserves.
"The consistently high rating the College continually receives is a testament to the hard work of the entire campus community," said GMC sustainability director Ryan Ihrke. "Many of the best ideas, like the biomass plant, come from students who are challenged in their classes to bridge the gap between the purely theoretical and the practical."
For more information on Green Mountain College's sustainability site, visit here.
For more information 2015 Sustainable Campus Index data, visit here.
SOURCE Green Mountain College