In addition to being a top 10 school in terms of research impact (as per the annual CWTS Leiden ranking system in 2013) and being named No. 2 party school in the country by the Princeton Review the following year, UCSB is now receiving national recognition as the greenest public university in the nation.

According to the Princeton Review’s Top 50 Green Colleges, UCSB ranked No. 3 overall out of a review of 861 colleges. However, the two colleges ranked above UCSB, Lewis and Clark College and Green Mountain College, are private universities, making UCSB the No. 1 greenest public university.

The review analyzed 861 colleges in total using a scale from 60-99 to assess how environmentally friendly the campus’ facilities and programs were. The schools were then rated on three factors: sustainability practices, commitment to environmental and sustainability education, and the healthy lifestyles of students on campus.

Pam Lombardo, Acting Associate Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services, and Co-chair of the Chancellor’s Campus Sustainability Committee, says that UCSB has many initiatives in place to promote sustainability.

“We were the first UC to establish a Green Initiative Fund (known as TGIF) as well as a Renewable Energy Initiative Fund, the First UC campus to develop a Water Action Plan, and we have also made tremendous strides in terms of Water Conversation,” Lombardo said. “Ninety of our campus landscapes are irrigated with recycled water, saving 19 million gallons of portable water annually.”

According to Lombardo, UCSB has also taken strides to reduce its carbon footprint in light of climate change: “Since 2006, the campus has invested $2-3 million annually in projects to retrofit energy-using systems all over campus, including heating, cooling and ventilation equipment, lighting, and energy efficient windows. As a result, UCSB has dropped its electricity use per square foot by 36 percent over the past 10 years. Last year the campus saved one million kW of electricity just through LED lighting retrofits on campus.”

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) is a student-supported endowment that goes towards providing financial resources for sustainability projects in UCSB, which are submitted and voted on annually. Jewel Snavely, campus sustainability coordinator for the Chancellors office of Administrative Services and TGIF grants manager, says that TGIF is unique to UCSB.

“The Green Initiative Fund is the first green fund passed in the UC system. It is funded by a $3.41 referendum tax that students pay annually. The TGIF committee is made up of seven people, five being students, that review and accept projects that will positively affect the environment.”

Some past projects include the installation of on-campus hydration stations that provide filtered water for free and which aims to significantly decrease the need for single-use plastic water bottles” Snavely said. “Another project involved replacing all incandescent lights in the Art Department Studios and Museum with LED lights, which increase the campus’ energy efficiency”.