Unity College’s TerraHaus residence, which just achieved Passive House certification, was one of 191 new green building projects at colleges and universities reported in AASHE’s Bulletin in 2011.
By Erin Weaver
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has published its annual review of sustainability efforts at colleges and universities, finding overall increases in green job-training programs, building projects, and energy-related initiatives.
Compiled from the organization’s online newsletter, the “2011 Higher Education Sustainability Review” found nearly 60% of new programs focused on green careers, a 142% increase from 2010. More than half of these programs were started at technical and community colleges to train students in fields that include wind turbine technology and energy audits.
Corresponding to a 32% increase in LEED-certified square footage in the higher education sector, green building projects reported in the newsletter increased from 180 in 2010 to 191 in 2011; efforts to improve energy efficiency and transition to renewable energy also increased. AASHE’s own Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) rated its 100th building in 2011. The federal government has announced a $4 billion program to improve the energy efficiency of college and university buildings; many of these projects are also paid for by “green funds” established through fees and donations.