Oregon State’s commitment to “green power” has earned the university the 2008 Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The award was presented Monday evening as part of the National Renewable Energy Marketing Conference in Denver. OSU is one of 25 groups, including PepsiCo., Cisco Systems, and the University of Pennsylvania, that distinguish themselves by purchasing green power for their energy needs.
Thanks to a “green energy” fee passed overwhelmingly by OSU students in 2007, Oregon State is purchasing nearly 67 million kilowatt-hours of green power annually — enough to meet about 75 percent of its purchased electricity use. OSU buys renewable energy certificates from Bonneville Environmental Foundation.
According to the EPA, OSU’s green power purchase is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide emissions of more than 9,000 passenger vehicles per year, or is the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power more than 6,000 average American homes annually.
“We’re particularly proud of this award, because it reflects a level of responsibility that our students demonstrated in passing the green energy fee,” said Brandon Trelstad, OSU sustainability coordinator.
“Not only are they taking important steps on behalf of the environment while they are students, they are modeling values that they’ll take with them into the workplace upon graduation. Recognition of their efforts proves that this is grassroots activism that is making a difference.”
OSU’s ranks No. 4 on EPA’s “Top 20 College & University” list and No. 46 on EPA’s National Top 50 list. Each list highlights EPA Green Power Partners that have completed the largest annual voluntary purchases through Oct. 8, 2008. (EPA updates its Top Partner Lists quarterly at http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/toplists/.)
Green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass and low-impact hydro. These resources generate electricity with a net zero increase in carbon dioxide emissions, while offering a superior environmental profile compared to traditional power generation sources. Green power purchases also support the development of new renewable energy generation sources nationwide.
This is the latest of several high profile recognitions that OSU has received for its efforts in sustainability and environmental initiatives. Earlier this fall, the Kaplan College Guide recognized OSU as one of the “Top 25 Green Colleges and Universities.”
The EPA’s top 20 colleges and universities list came out last spring, and the College Sustainability Report Card, from the Sustainable Endowments Institute, listed OSU as one of the nation’s top 25 campuses for 2007-08.
~ by Todd Simmons