WMU honored for being a top-performing green college

When it comes to saving energy and cutting greenhouse gases, Western Michigan University is one of the country's six top-performing colleges says the Sustainable Endowments Institute.

WMU took the top spot for being a large institution with the most carbon emissions saved to date.

The organization that manages the nation's Billion Dollar Green Challenge praised WMU for having the best performance in the Sustainable Endowment Institute's Green Revolving Investment Tracking System (GRITS).

The latest national recognition required the tracking and careful input of data on projects that date back some 20 years, says WMU Associate Vice President for Facilities Management Pete Strazdas. WMU used the GRITS software tool to measure its savings, which is available free to North American educational institutions, thanks to Strazdas' work.

WMU is home to the nation's oldest green revolving fund and it was previously recognized by the Sustainable Endowments Institute for that accomplishment. Such funds are tools that allow institutions to put money into sustainability projects and then invest the savings from those projects into new energy projects. WMU's semi-revolving fund was established in 1980 and has financed more than 100 campus projects with an average annual return on investment of 47 percent.

The honor in 2015 from the Sustainable Endowments Institute is an acknowledgement that "this is one university that is on the sustainability path for the long haul," says Harold Glasser, WMU executive director for campus sustainability and professor of environmental studies. "That's especially significant in an environment in which some see long-term commitment to sustainability as one of the shortcomings for many campus communities."

Source: Western Michigan University
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