Sierra Magazine: Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.
By Avital Andrews
3: University of California, Irvine
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University of California at Irvine
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Irvine, California

SCORE: 794.30 | STUDENTS: 27,479

UC Irvine's 19-megawatt cogeneration facility and other energy-preserving projects have helped the school save 20 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year since 2009—and solar panels generate enough power to run 500 homes for a year. The 1,475-acre campus is anchored by a 16-acre botanical garden, and all new buildings must be certified at least LEED Silver. Living green is important at UCI: Meatless Mondays are strongly encouraged, and a dozen student clubs focus on eco-issues. Above, graduate students in UCI's Earth System Science Department learn about Mono Lake's geology, ecology, natural history—and about environmentalists' efforts to protect the lake—during a spring-break field trip.

Photo courtesy of Kathleen Johnson/UC Irvine



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