There is no doubt that OSU is a big consumer of natural resources. In FY 2011 (July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011), the Corvallis campus consumed more than 100 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, 8.8 million therms of natural gas, and over 230 million gallons of treated water. The total bill for those resources? Over $11 million. That amount is unchanged from FY10, though FY11 was a considerably colder year. This stability in the cost of utilities is due mainly to the financial benefits of the new OSU Energy Center.
Just what are the impacts of resource consumption like OSU’s? According to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, emissions from OSU’s electricity use for FY11 was equivalent the annual greenhouse gas emissions from over 13,000 automobiles, over 6,000 U.S. homes, or the CO2 emissions from burning nearly 8 million gallons of gas. Thankfully OSU administration offset nearly all of these emissions with the purchase of over $430,000 worth of renewable energy certificates. While this purchase does not fully negate the environmental impacts of OSU’s energy and resource consumption, it definitely helps reduce OSU’s environmental footprint.