The University of Arizona is one of the top ranked US universities in the area of Sustainability. The university currently employs several sustainability strategies throughout the campus, which helps contribute to the reduction of energy consumption, as well as the minimization of greenhouse gas emissions. The University of Arizona recently received a STARS gold rating in recognition of their efforts in sustainability. The university is one out of only thirty universities throughout the US and Canada to receive this award. In addition to this, the university also recently received the LEED Platinum rating for two of their newest residence halls, Likins Hall and Arbol de la Vida. The LEED platinum award is awarded to buildings that implement practical green building design.
The Campus Sustainability Committee was established by President Robert N. Shelton in 2007. Since its inception, this committee has made several initiatives to improve the campus' sustainability. The Campus Sustainability Committee includes administrators, faculty, staff, and students and is led by Dr. Glenn Schrader, who is the Associate Dean for research in the College of Engineering.
The Planning, Design, and Construction department, at the University of Arizona, is responsible for the various building projects around the campus. The Planning, Design, and Construction departments goals are to, reduce waste and pollution, improve resident comfort, health, and productivity, to reduce energy and water consumption, and to maximize efficiency. Two of the newest buildings that employ green building strategies are Likins Hall and Arbol de la Vida.
Likins Hall and Arbol de la Vida are the two newest dorms on campus, with a capacity of 1,088 students. Designed by AR7 Architects (now NAC Architecture,) they were awarded the LEED platinum certification for their implementation of sustainable systems. These dorms are largely constructed by recycled materials, and include roof-mounted solar panels, a rainwater harvesting system, green outlets that shut utilities off that are not being used, large windows for increased natural lighting, and smart thermostats that detect when the room is unoccupied and then turn the green outlets off. Students can monitor the building's energy and resource use in real time through an internet-based "building dashboard." Trees and cacti were rescued from the site, nurtured off-site during construction and re-introduced to their native habitat as landscaping after construction.
The University of Arizona applies several operations throughout the campus to conserve energy and to improve campus wide recycling efforts.
The University of Arizona Energy Dashboard is a webpage that tracks the energy consumption of all of the campus wide utilities, as well as provides a report on the carbon footprint that is being made by the institution. One can see how much electricity is used in any of the campus buildings, their water consumption, and their carbon emissions.
There are three central cooling plants on the campus of The University of Arizona. These cooling plants provide the university with ice and cooled water, which are used for many purposes, such as cooling buildings.
In 2002, two gas-fired combustion turbines and two heat recovery steam generators were installed at the University of Arizona. These utilities are cheaper to use and emit less pollutants than traditional systems.