Environment & Climate

The Greening of UW–Madison

A survey counts up all the ways the university is sustainable — and all the ways it can improve.

In October, UW–Madison received the results of its first broad-based sustainability assessment, and the results were not too shabby. The university took a silver rating for its efforts to create an environmentally sustainable campus community. Conducted by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, the assessment looked at a wide variety of elements, from educational programs to community outreach to construction to composting to energy use. UW–Madison received 102.88 out of a possible 209 points.

Bar graph showing sustainability progress in five areas: academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership.

The university performed better in some areas than in others. The dark blocks show how many points were available in each category, and the light green sections show how many of those points the UW earned. In Innovation and Leadership, UW–Madison earned all available points, though the maximum number was only six. The largest category was Operations, where the UW scored the most points and left the most on the table: out of possible 72, the UW received 32.4.


academic departments offer sustainability-related courses


of students use car-alternatives to get to and move around campus


reduction in energy use per square foot of floor space


tons of organic waste diverted from landfills to an anaerobic digester, producing energy instead of trash

Published in the Spring 2020 issue


  • Thomas E Ebert November 15, 2022

    Congratulations WISCONSIN on the successful transition from coal to LNG. UW-Madison is a leading university in this country and around the world. Moving to LNG is an excellent economical decision, environmental improvement, and demonstration that our energy requirements can be met safely through the proper application of fossil fuels.

    Thank you for this new, revised power plant and I am very proud to be a UW-Madison alumni.

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