College Sustainability Report: Colleges use biodiesel for sustainability

By | April 06, 2007
Biodiesel is helping colleges reach sustainability goals, according to the Sustainable Endowments Institute. The institute reviewed and graded campus greening practices and endowment policies at the 100 colleges and universities with the largest endowments in the United States and Canada. The subsequent report was recently released as the College Sustainability Report Card.

Schools were given a letter grade for seven categories: administration, climate change and energy, food and recycling, green building, endowment transparency, investment priorities and shareholder engagement. "This is the first time that colleges have been assessed on both campus and endowment sustainability policies," said Executive Director Mark Orlowski.

The report includes a detailed assessment of each school and a description of the school's sustainable practices-currently underway or planned. Out of 100 colleges and universities, 19 listed a biodiesel program. The most popular use for biodiesel was to fuel all or part of the campus fleets, with 10 colleges running the fuel. Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., which earned an "A" overall, runs biodiesel in all campus shuttles. However, biodiesel use alone wasn't enough to earn schools high grades. Despite running its entire campus motor pool of 870 vehicles on biodiesel blends since 2005, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was given a "C" for the climate change and energy category.

Many of the colleges that used biodiesel in campus fleets produced their own biodiesel, as well. Nine schools listed such a project.
One campus reported using biodiesel in the campus boilers for heat, and two others have projects in the works. Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, uses a B20 blend in its boiler, while the University of Tennessee, Martin campus has committed to fuel a new power plant exclusively with soy biodiesel. Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., has a team of faculty and students working on a project to devote the college's 200-acre farm to the production of crops for campus biofuel use in the steam plant. Three acres are already being used for this purpose.

For the complete report, visit
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