The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that St. Mary’s College of Maryland is the Individual Conference Champion of the Capital Athletic Conference in the 2010-2011 College and University Green Power Challenge. This is the college’s fourth consecutive year as the largest green power purchaser in its conference.
“I’m proud of the commitment our community has made to protecting natural resources,” said the college’s sustainability coordinator, Luke Mowbray. “Our participation in the renewable credits market has been a very exciting addition to our campus sustainability initiatives.”
St. Mary’s College purchased 22 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable energy credits from the company 3Degrees, representing 116 percent of the school’s annual electricity usage and more than half of the campus’ carbon footprint. According to the EPA, 22 million kWh of renewable energy is equivalent to avoiding the annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of either 3,000 passenger vehicles or from the electricity use of nearly 2,000 average American homes. The college also generates green power from a solar photovoltaic array atop the college library.
The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to buy green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with purchased electricity use. Green power is electricity that is generated from renewable resources such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass, and low-impact hydro. The Partnership currently has more than 1,300 Partner organizations voluntarily purchasing billions of kilowatt-hours of green power annually.
Since April 2006, the EPA’s Green Power Partnership has tracked and recognized the collegiate athletic conferences with the highest combined green power purchases in the nation. Thirty-one collegiate conferences and 69 schools competed in the 2010-2011 challenge. ”We’re glad to see the competition heating up as more and more colleges and universities join the Green Power Challenge,” said EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “This year’s schools used more than 1.5 billion kilowatt hours of green power, cutting harmful emissions from our air, protecting health and driving demand in the clean energy market.”
The EPA will extend the College & University Green Power Challenge for a sixth year, to conclude in spring of 2012. EPA’s Green Power Challenge is open to all U.S. colleges, universities, and conferences.