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UB named finalist for climate leadership award

Among the sustainability initiatives UB has undertaken in recent years is the installation of the Solar Strand on the North Campus. Photo: Douglas Levere

By DAVID J. HILL

Published September 8, 2015

UB has been named a finalist for a national award recognizing climate leaders in higher education.

UB is one of 12 four-year institutions in the running for the sixth annual Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards, a competition among higher education institutions that are signatories of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, a major initiative of Second Nature.

UB was the first in Western New York and one of the first in the Association of American Universities to sign the commitment, in which college and university presidents pledge to take steps to eliminate net greenhouse-gas emissions from certain campus operations.

UB has undertaken numerous sustainability initiatives across campus in recent years, including:

  • The launch of RENEW (Research and Education in eNergy, Environment and Water), a university-wide institute focusing on complex energy and environmental issues.
  • A focus on green buildings. UB currently has nine U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings, including Greiner Hall, New York State’s first LEED Gold-certified residence hall. The new UB medical school building being constructed in downtown Buffalo also has been designed to meet LEED Gold standards.
  • A commitment to support students exploring ways to weave sustainability and environmental stewardship into their everyday lives. In 2014, UB students completed 42,455 hours of sustainability-related service.
  • The installation of the 750-kilowatt Solar Strand, designed by world-renowned artist Walter Hood to be one of the most publicly accessible energy sites in the world.

The U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools has joined Second Nature as a partner on this year’s Climate Leadership Awards initiative. One two-year and one four-year institution will be selected for the honor.

“We are impressed every year with the outstanding applications we receive for the Climate Leadership Awards,” said Michele Madia, education and partnerships director for Second Nature, a Boston-based organization that works with higher education institutions to create a culture of sustainability among U.S. colleges and universities.

“The ACUPCC signatories are a committed group of climate leaders, and through Second Nature’s partnership with the Center for Green Schools, their achievements will be broadcast to an even greater audience,” Madia added.

Winners will be announced Nov. 19 as part of the Greenbuild Leadership Awards program in Washington, D.C.