Oregon State University has become the second-largest purchaser of green power of any university in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Top 20 College & University list of green power purchasers.
The university recently purchased about $430,000 in renewable energy certificates for 2011 from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. RECs purchased from BEF ensure that nearly 100 percent of the electricity usage of the Corvallis and Bend campuses comes from wind energy sources in 2011. By purchasing the certificates, the environmental benefits created by the facility directly offset the environmental impact of the university’s conventional energy use.
OSU also generates some of its power from a cogeneration facility that combines heating and electricity generation. The OSU Energy Center is the first LEED Platinum-rated power facility in the nation, the first Platinum building on campus and one of only two in the Oregon University System. The Energy Center is capable of burning renewable fuels in the future to further reduce the impact of campus energy use.
For the fourth year in a row, OSU has been named the Pacific-10 Conference champion in the EPA Green Power Partnership’s College and University Green Power Challenge. OSU purchased more renewable energy than any other school in the Pac-10 (now the Pac-12). Additionally, Corvallis was named an EPA Green Power Community of the Year for 2010, largely due to OSU’s green power usage.