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UC is Highlighted Among the Princeton Review’s Green Colleges


Get a roundup of UC’s strides in sustainability as the university receives national recognition.

Date: 4/16/2015 12:00:00 PM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823

UC ingot   For the sixth consecutive year, the University of Cincinnati is recognized among The Princeton Review’s guide to green colleges.
Photo of Steger Student Life Center by Lisa Ventre
Photo of Steger Student Life Center by Lisa Ventre

“The Princeton Review’s Guide to 353 Green Colleges: 2015 Edition” was released as a free download today.

The news comes just ahead of the 45th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, a nationwide effort to increase awareness of our planet’s vital resources as well as recognize efforts to conserve and protect those resources.

UC was praised for its transportation alternatives, waste diversion and for having its own office devoted to sustainability initiatives.

“Among the nearly 10,000 teens who participated in our ‘2015 College Hopes & Worries Survey,’ 61 percent told us that having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the college,” says Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s senior vice president-publisher. “We strongly recommend the schools in this guide to environmentally minded students who seek to study and live at green colleges.”

Here’s one major example of UC’s dedication to the environment: The last remaining coal boiler for UC energy has stopped burning coal and now only burns fuel pellets made from waste paper and other non-recyclable materials.

Photo of fuel pellets provided by CEAS

Recycling also is playing a role in UC research. Food waste from UC's CenterCourt Dining Center is part of a pilot program in the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) to convert food waste into solid fuels, biodiesel and other products. A report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations suggests that global food waste is the world's third-largest emitter of greenhouse gasses from landfills. Now, using UC's breakthrough synergistic technology that integrates algae production with anaerobic digestion, researchers are able to almost completely utilize the carbon in food wastes in a renewable manner.

The news showcases UC’s Creating Our Third Century initiative to make a focused, sustained investment in people.

UC’s Office of Facilities Management reports that overall recycling at UC in 2014 totaled 2,100.09 tons, an increase in more than 126 tons over 2013.

Other UC Sustainability Initiatives

Green Bonds sales – Last December, UC became the first U.S. public university to issue Green Bonds to fund an environmentally friendly project.   UC successfully sold Green Bonds to fund the renovation of a more eco-friendly and energy efficient Scioto Hall. The sale of the $30,415,000 Series 2014A Green Bonds generated the required proceeds to fund the full construction cost of the project. Scioto Hall is planned to reopen in 2016.

Photo of Morgens Hall
Photo of Morgens Hall by Lisa Ventre

Morgens Hall Awarded LEED Silver Certification – UC’s renovated Morgens Hall, an environmentally friendly student housing high-rise and sparkling structure along Martin Luther King Drive and Jefferson Avenue, was awarded LEED Silver certification this year. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a prestigious green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.

Morgens Hall is a 51-year-old residence hall that reopened in 2013 following a renovation that covered the building in thousands of glass panes. Meanwhile, renovation on Scioto Hall got underway last fall – similar to Morgens Hall – also is expected to be awarded LEED certification on completion. UC currently has seven LEED-certified buildings in the Uptown.

Duke Energy Rebates – UC earned $2.5 million in conservation-related rebates from Duke Energy. That’s the largest rebate amount provided by the company in its Midwest territory of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

Street light enhancements – UC’s street lighting enhancement program, a partnership with the City of Cincinnati and Duke Energy, is not only brightening the streets at night but also using less energy to do so. The new LED lights use one-third less energy than the former high-pressure sodium yellow lights and are twice as bright. The color rendering index (CRI) of the new lights is more than three times higher than the former yellow lights. The CRI is a measure of the quality of the light.
Photo of chef bee hive provided by Kingsgate Conference Center



Did You Know About the Bee Hive at UC? – Things are really buzzing over at Kingsgate Marriott Conference Center at UC. Adam Krawsczyn, director of conference and event services, reports that in the three years since bee hives were installed on the roof of the conference center, more than 40 pounds of honey has been harvested for use in Kingsgate’s restaurants.

Fresh pickins’ – Mick & Mack's Contemporary Cafe has a small herb garden located on its outside patio at Tangeman University Center. Chefs use the fresh herbs in food preparation as much as possible.  The Kingsgate Marriott Conference Center at UC also has an herb garden that is used to garnish foods prepared in the kitchen.

Sustainable and humanitarian food options – UC Housing and Food Services and Aramark, a global professional services company, are now offering only eggs from cage-free hens.
Photo of UC PlayScape by Lisa Ventre
Photo of UC PlayScape by Lisa Ventre


Outdoor learning lab – The UC wheelchair-accessible PlayScape, open to the public, is believed to be the first college campus, architecturally designed outdoor play and learning environment for young children to promote learning and encourage future stewards of nature. The concept was developed as part of a partnership with the Cincinnati Nature Center (CNC) to promote children’s free play in natural settings. The 11,000 square-foot UC Playscape was dedicated in August 2012.

Electronic Charging Stations Now on East and West Campuses – UC this spring installed a high-powered electronic vehicle charging station on West Campus that provides a free, 20-minute charge for students, faculty and staff with parking permits. The high-powered charge is considerably faster and more convenient than the typical four-hour or 12-hour charging options for electronic vehicles. The new charging station is located in a parking space in the Clifton Court Garage. UC’s first electric vehicle-charging station is coming up on a year of serving students, faculty and staff with parking permits. That station is located in Lot 13 by the west façade of Wherry Hall on the campus of the Academic Health Center. Electricity for the stations is provided and paid for by Parking Services.

Bike, Bus or Zipcar – UC continues to make it easier to get around without your own car. As part of UC’s multimodal transportation hub, the bus station at University Avenue was recently upgraded.  Metro’s new Uptown Transit District – designed to better connect students – now has boarding areas in four locations: Clifton Heights Business District, Vine and Calhoun, UC at Jefferson Ave. and the Medical Centers (UC Medical Center and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center: four shelters). UC’s Zipcar program has been operational since 2011. The car-sharing service maintains 24-hour access for students, faculty and staff. UC’s Bearcat Bike Share program celebrates its fifth anniversary on campus this spring. Bicycles can be checked out, at no cost, to anyone with a UCID at various locations on the Uptown Campus and UC East in Clermont County.  UC also has served as a stop for GoBus since 2008, Megabus since 2009 and Barons Bus since 2010. Check the full roundup of UC transportation options.

Sustainability at UC
UC’s Office of Sustainability was created at UC in 2010. The office manages numerous programs including the BearCAT Bike Share, the Bike Kitchen and various recycling and recycling education programs. The office will be sponsoring a seed packet giveaway from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Wednesday, April 22, on McMicken Commons. The giveaway will involve the distribution of 200 windowsill variety herb seed packs during Student Government's Findlay Market pop up market on campus. For more information on the seed packet giveaway, contact sustainability coordinator Morgan Billingsley, billinmr@mail.uc.edu.

More UC Earth Day News

The Princeton Review’s Guide to 353 Green Colleges news release

The Princeton Review’s Guide to 353 Green Colleges is a free download

Duke Energy Foundation Awards UC $250,000 Grant to Study Water Quality

UC Events Celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day

UC Off Coal, Thanks to Fuel Pellets

Recycling at UC

Office of Information Security Hosts Free Campus Shred Event on April 23

From Food Waste to Fuel, CEAS Does Energy Sustainability Better

UC Dining, Aramark Offer Eggs from Cage-Free Hens

Thanks to Energy-Saving Efforts, UC Earns Most Duke Energy Rebates

UC Becomes First American Public University to Sell Green Bonds

Streets Surrounding UC’s Uptown Campus are Getting Brighter

Biology Department Hosts Plant Sale on Campus