The University of MIssouri System remains a C student when it comes to environmental sustainability.
The College Sustainability Report Card, a study by the Sustainable Endowment Institute, says the UM system is only average when it comes to policies that encourage environmental sustainability. Universities are evaluated in five categories related to environmental sustainability, including transportation, food & recycling, green building, climate change & energy and administration.
“We wanted to look at a broad range of activities,” said the institute’s founder and executive director Mark Orlowski. “We wanted to be able to capture as much of the campus sustainability efforts as possible.”
The study notes the work of the MU Environmental Affairs Committee under the Administration category, which has issued an annual report on the impact of campus activities on the environment since 2003.
“When we first started this process, the word sustainability wasn’t actively used. We were just out to collect data,” said Peter Ashbrook, Director of Environmental Health and Safety.
The Sustainability Plan Task Force, which is new this year, was charged by MU’s provost to develop an MU sustainability plan. Currently, the task force is reviewing the measures MU already has in place that promote sustainability. “We’re not out to reinvent. We are seeing how to coordinate and move forward, to take individual efforts to make a comprehensive plan,” said Paul Ladehoff, a member of the task force.
With all the building going on at MU, the cost of green building policies have been a consideration. MU’s Sustainable Design Policy promises to undertake sustainably designed projects “regardless of funding source or amount.”
This is difficult, however, if the campus wants want to acheive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the United States Green Building Council. LEED certification requires that buildings meet certain prerequisites and earn credits based on water savings, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, materials selection and sustainable site development.