Tops All Large Universities

Photo of NYU flag on a building, surrounded by trees, on a warm and sunny day

New York University is ranked No. 3 on the Princeton Review’s list of Top 50 Green Colleges in the United States for 2024, published on October 25. Among universities with 3,000 or more undergraduates, NYU is ranked No. 1.

According to the Princeton Review, the schools on the list share “superb sustainability practices, a strong foundation in sustainability education, and a healthy quality of life for students on campus,” and were selected based on “a combination of school-reported data and student opinion,” via both institutional and student surveys. 

NYU President Linda G. Mills said, “I am incredibly proud of NYU’s commitment to sustainability. Being future-looking is part of NYU’s character. As we say, ‘NYU’s tradition is the future.’ And there are few items on our agenda more future-focused than sustainability. I want to celebrate our community’s collective hard work and NYU’s envelope-pushing sustainability projects—such as the Passive House retrofit of Rubin Hall. Sustainability isn’t just about climate—it helps us be happier and healthier, both physically and mentally, and is key to a future in which we all flourish. I am thankful for and proud of all who contributed to this success and I am excited to continue collaborating and moving toward our goals.”

NYU Chief Sustainability Officer Cecil Scheib said, “It is wonderful to be recognized by The Princeton Review for our sustainability efforts. The past 16 years have seen NYU make aggressive and intentional investments into sustainability, including retrofitting Brittany Hall—cutting its climate emissions and energy costs by almost half—supporting student leaders and clubs, and launching many new centers, institutes, majors, and minors related to sustainability. These efforts have real impact and help position NYU as a leader amongst our peers. I hope this achievement inspires both our higher education peers and the entire NYU community, as it inspires me, to continue to work together towards our climate goals.”

NYU first ranked in the Princeton Review’s list of Top 50 Green Colleges in 2021 at no. 43. Since then, the University has undertaken a number of projects to further its sustainability goals, including: 

  • Publishing NYU’s Sustainability Commitment, where the University commits to setting an example of leadership on climate change
  • Achieving LEED certification for 5 more buildings on campus—including LEED Gold certification for the new Paulson Center—bringing the University total to 17 LEED Certified buildings encompassing over 2.1 million square feet
  • Signing the Coolfood Pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from food by 25% by 2030
  • Improving the tracking of environmentally preferable food purchases through University vendors
  • Adding solar panels to the roof of Bobst library, which generate enough energy to power the entire Seventh Street residence hall
  • Undertaking a 5-point action plan based on a 2019 university-wide transportation survey to guide the community to greener transportation alternatives
  • Introducing condensed work weeks and hybrid/remote options for university employees
  • Establishing the Sustainability Advisory Group—27 students, faculty, and administrators who serve as a campus-wide representative body

Rubin Hall - Passive House: The University’s next major sustainability project, the Passive House retrofit of the historical Rubin Hall, is already underway and on schedule to reopen for student living in the fall of 2024. It will be instrumental in helping NYU fulfill its commitment to become climate neutral by the year 2040. 

Remarkably, if it were completed today, Rubin Hall would be the largest residential Passive House retrofit in the world. Once completed, it will serve as a blueprint for retrofitting hundred-year-old buildings to meet Passive House standards—an example that stands to have a massive impact in New York City (where the average building age is 90 years) and beyond.


About NYU

Founded in 1831, NYU is one of the world’s foremost research universities (with more than $1 billion per year in research expenditures) and is a member of the selective Association of American Universities. NYU has degree-granting university campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai; has 12 other global academic sites, including London, Paris, Florence, Tel Aviv, Buenos Aires, and Accra; and both sends more students to study abroad and educates more international students than any other U.S. college or university. Through its numerous schools and colleges, NYU is a leader in conducting research and providing education in the arts, humanities, the social sciences, and sciences; law; medicine; nursing; engineering; business; dentistry; education; nursing; the cinematic and performing arts; music and studio arts; public administration; social work; public health; and professional studies, among other areas.

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Carol Ourivio
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