Sierra Magazine: Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.
By Avital Andrews
6: Green Mountain College
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Green Mountain College
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Poultney, Vermont

SCORE: 767.09 | STUDENTS: 637

With grounds as verdant as its name, GMC is a tiny school in Poultney, Vermont, that describes itself as "a liberal-arts college emphasizing environmental sustainability." One of the first U.S. universities to achieve climate neutrality, it has a $5.8 million biomass plant that burns locally sourced woodchips (instead of fuel oil) to heat 85% and power 20% of the campus's two dozen buildings. Since 2006, GMC has also sourced 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of its energy per year from cows. Students visit local farms to learn about the bovine methane-generating process and are required to take a 37-credit environmental curriculum, which is delivered in LEED-certified classrooms. Above, GMC students plant trees to create a riparian buffer along the banks of the Poultney River.

Photo courtesy of Don Hamerman/Green Mountain College



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