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University of Iowa News Release


July 8, 2011

Branstad to recognize UI sustainability efforts

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa is among 20 Iowa organizations and businesses that will receive Environmental Excellence Awards from Gov. Terry Branstad Aug. 1 for the sustainability efforts of its three universities, including the University of Iowa.

The awards—Iowa's premier environmental honors—are sponsored by the Governor's Office, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Iowa Department of Economic Development, the Iowa Department of Education, the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Waste Reduction Center. In announcing the recipients, Branstad congratulated the organizations for their leadership and innovation in protecting Iowa's natural resources.

Liz Christiansen, director of the UI Office of Sustainability, said the regents' universities, including the UI, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa, have committed to building and renovating to superior environmental standards. Each school has made significant progress in transition to paperless solutions for business and admissions. Likewise, each school has increased local food purchased and has adopted, or is in the process of adopting, green cleaning practices.

Additionally, energy conservation measures are saving more than $500,000 each year on the campuses. And renewable energies have been incorporated into each school's energy portfolio, with examples of wind power, solar arrays, geothermal, biomass and, soon, landfill gas, found on the campuses.

All three campuses offer comprehensive recycling programs, special collections, move-in and move-out recycling, composting and waste reduction efforts. And E85, biodiesel and electric vehicles are found on campuses, with the number of vehicles in the environmentally friendly fleet increasing every year. Bike lanes, van and car pools and walkable campuses encourage environmentally efficient transportation.

The schools also have worked to minimize water use and adopt sustainable landscape practices on their campuses.

"Of all these accomplishments, none ranks as high in importance as each school's commitment to building a new generation of leaders, critical thinkers, innovators and entrepreneurs," Christiansen said. "Incorporating sustainability principles into the classroom and curriculum as well as leading with important research in sustainability helps train minds to tackle the challenges of building true economic growth, solving critical environmental issues and meeting the needs of a just society."

The Environmental Excellence Award recognition ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. Aug. 1 in the Wallace Building Auditorium, 502 E 9th St., Des Moines. Other winners include the Iowa Soybean Association Environmental Programs & Services in Ankeny, the City of Dubuque and Meredith Corporation in Des Moines. More information about the awards is available at

More information about the UI's sustainability efforts may be found at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Liz Christiansen, UI Office of Sustainability,, 319-335-5516; Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007,