The Refinishing Touch Finds Sustainability Ranks Higher in Public over Private Universities

Leading provider of sustainable furniture asset management surveyed the nation’s top 20 universities and found public universities ahead on environmental issues

ALPHARETTA, Ga.--()--The Refinishing Touch, a world leader in on-site eco-friendly and sustainable furniture asset management services, conducted a sustainability survey of the top ten public and top ten private colleges throughout the United States and found public universities offer more on-campus and online environmental resources than private universities.

The top public and private schools were selected from the US News National University Rankings 2013. The survey compared sustainability initiatives and resources between public and private universities and was conducted by phone and complemented by a web-crawl of each university’s website.

Of the ten top private universities in the U.S., The Refinishing Touch found that eight offer courses in sustainability or environmental studies, four have designated majors and three have separate schools or offices of sustainability on campus. This is slightly lower when compared with the public sector, which offer an average of nine sustainability or environmental courses, five majors and three schools or offices of sustainability on campus. Public universities came out ahead again when it came to LEED certifications, with a combined total of 120 certified buildings. This compared to a total of 73 LEED certified buildings at private universities.

Detailed web research spanning 24 layers from the homepage of each of the 20 sites compared the frequency of the words ‘sustainability’, ‘recycling’, ‘refinishing’ and ‘LEED’ – a total of 480 web pages. Overall, the results show that public schools were more active in spreading awareness to constituents about green initiatives.

This web-based research found:

  • Sustainability, recycling and refinishing were mentioned an average of three times more frequently on public university websites than private university websites.
  • LEED was mentioned 20% more frequently on private university websites, than public university websites.
  • The websites of top ten public university websites mentioned the term a total of 22,511 times; private university websites mentioned sustainability 15,034 times.
  • Public websites mentioned recycling 18,872 times; private websites mentioned recycling 2,111 times.
  • Public websites mentioned refinishing 14 times; Private websites mentioned refinishing 1 time.
  • Private websites mentioned LEED 728 times; public websites mentioned LEED 603 times.

Mario Insenga, president and founder, The Refinishing Touch said, “While our research found public colleges and universities ahead of private universities when it came to sustainability, the higher education sector has a whole has done tremendous work to offer students opportunities to learn and promote sustainability and environmental awareness. By analyzing the web-density of the word ‘refinishing’, we see that public institutions recognize the environmental benefits of furniture refinishing, re-upholstery and remanufacturing – such as carbon reductions and waste eradication – on a broader scale. The Refinishing Touch is honored to have worked with some of the nation’s most upstanding educational facilities, both public and private, to make sustainable renovations a reality, and we look forward to implementing our furniture asset management solutions on new campuses in 2014.”

Private universities included in this research consisted of Princeton University, Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University, Stanford University, University of Chicago, Duke University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Pennsylvania and the California Institute of Technology. The public universities included the University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Virginia, University of Michigan, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, College of William and Mary, Georgia Institute of Technology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, University of California Davis, and University of California Santa Barbara.

To view the ‘Green Grading System’ infographic, please go to: For more information on this study and The Refinishing Touch, please email

About The Refinishing Touch
The Refinishing Touch is a world leader in on‐site environmentally safe and sustainable furniture asset management services, which include refinishing, re-upholstering, remanufacturing and armoire modification for more than 20,000 public and private organizations.

Clients across government, hospitality and university sectors include: The White House, US Department of Justice, US Congress, US Department of Defense, US Military and Coast Guard, Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, IHG and Starwood, along with top higher education institutions.

The company was founded in 1977 and is headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia. It has administrative offices in Los Angeles, California and Toronto, Canada. The Refinishing Touch is certified as ISO 9001:2008 compliant by the International Organization for Standardization, holding certificate 588518 and has been approved to provide services in the state of California through its California Multiple Award Schedule (CMAS), number 4-13-03-0324B. The company has also been recognized by the US General Services Administration with its Evergreen Award for innovative environmentally-friendly practices.


Prompt PR for The Refinishing Touch
Jackie Fraser or Sam Schultz, 617-401-2717

Release Summary

The Refinishing Touch conducted a sustainability survey of the top ten public and top ten private colleges throughout the United States and found public universities more sustainable.


Prompt PR for The Refinishing Touch
Jackie Fraser or Sam Schultz, 617-401-2717