Syracuse University Recognized as the ACC Conference Winner for the EPA Green Power Challenge
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized Syracuse University as an Individual Conference Champion of the 2016-17 College & University Green Power Challenge for using more green power than any other school in the Atlantic Coast Conference. In addition, the EPA recognized Syracuse University in February of this year as the nation’s 21st largest purchaser of green power on the EPA’s latest Top 30 College & University Green Power Partnership list.
The University has been committed to purchasing electricity from green power since 2005. In 2014 the University increased its green power purchase from 20 percent to 35 percent, this currently equates to 41 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) in the form of renewable energy credits (RECs) purchased from Renewable Choice Energy. The RECs guarantee the specified amount of green power is generated on the University’s behalf and added to the grid, thus reducing the environmental impacts associated with the campus’ purchased electricity use.
“Being recognized by the EPA Green Power Partnership as the 2016-2017 ACC Conference Champion validates the University’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint while enhancing sustainability and energy conservation on campus,” says Nathan Prior, director of Energy Systems and Sustainability Management.
The University’s green power purchased has the equivalent environmental impact of decreasing the University’s annual Green House Gas emissions by 28,814 metric tons—the same as avoiding more than 30,747,082 pounds of coal burned each year.
In the 2016-17 challenge, the 36 collegiate conferences and 98 schools competing collectively used nearly 3.2 billion kWh of green power. EPA’s Green Power Challenge is open to any collegiate athletic conference in the United States. In order to qualify, a collegiate athletic conference must include at least two schools that qualifies as Green Power Partners, and the conference must collectively use at least 10 million kWh of green power. EPA will restart the 12th season of the College & University Green Power Challenge in the fall of 2017 and conclude in the spring of 2018. For more information, visit https://www.epa.gov/greenpower/college-and-university-challenge.
The EPA defines green power as electricity produced from solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass and low-impact small hydroelectric sources. Green power sources produce electricity with an environmental profile superior to conventional power technologies and produce no human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. Purchases of green power reduce the need for convention power, which includes the combustions of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas and oil) and the nuclear fission of uranium. Fossil fuels have environmental costs from mining, drilling or extraction, and emit greenhouse gases and air pollution during combustion. For more information visit https://www.epa.gov/greenpower/green-power-partnership-top-30-college-university.
In February 2007, SU became a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), making SU one of the largest private universities committed to zero net greenhouse gas emissions. This commitment will be fulfilled through the University’s Climate Action Plan (CAP), an institutional blueprint and timeline for SU to become climate neutral by 2040.
Released in September 2009, the CAP consists of five overlapping sustainable components focused on energy conservation through existing technologies; energy efficiency through emerging technologies; creation of energy from renewable sources; enhancing sustainability practices among students, faculty and staff; and limited use of energy offsets, as needed, that benefit local residents and businesses. Additional information about the ACUPCC, and a copy of SU’s Climate Action Plan, are available at http://sustainability.syr.edu/campus/climate-action-plan/.
The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to use green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with electricity use. The Partnership currently has more than 1,400 Partner organizations voluntarily using more than 40 billion kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Partners include a wide variety of leading organizations such as Fortune 500 companies, small and medium-sized businesses, local, state and federal governments, and colleges and universities. For additional information, please visit https://www.epa.gov/greenpower.
For more information about EPA’s College and University Green Power Challenge, visit the Challenge website at https://www.epa.gov/greenpower/college-and-university-challenge.