AASHE STARS: A Comprehensive Campus Environmental Assessment

Rice University earned a “gold” rating in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE’s) rating system for campus sustainability in 2018, placing it in the upper echelon of sustainability performance in higher education. This rating system, known as the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS), is administered by AASHE and recognized as the premier tool for evaluating the performance of a campus sustainability program. STARS is notable for its comprehensive approach, including categories such as academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership.

Rice’s complete STARS submittals can be found here. Reports were submitted in 2011, 2014, and 2017, allowing for a longitudinal view of the progression of Rice’s sustainability program.

In 2019, Rice was recognized by AASHE via its STARS-drive report Sustainable Campus Index as ranking #2 in the US for Diversity and Affordability, and tied for 6th for sustainability in research.

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Tree Campus USA: Recognition for Tree Protection

The entire Rice campus is dedicated as the Lynn R. Lowrey Arboretum. Rice earned its eleventh consecutive certification by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Campus USA in 2022.


LEED: Recognition for Green Buildings

The U.S. Green Building Council oversees a green building rating system known as LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED is the most common tool for assessing the environmental performance of a building. Rice has numerous buildings that have earned LEED certifications. A complete list can be found here.

Other Ratings:

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Green Restaurant Association: An Assessment of Dining Facilities

In 2016, all of Rice’s undergraduate dining halls were named Certified Green Restaurants by the Green Restaurant Association, making Rice the only university besides Harvard to have earned such a distinction. This certification expired in June 2020.

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The Sierra Club ranked Rice number 64 in its “Cool Schools” list for 2019.

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Environment America ranked Rice third in the U.S. in a list of schools with the highest percentage of campus-owned vehicles that are 100% electric in its report America’s Top Colleges for Renewable Energy.