Hobart and William Smith Colleges have received a 2012 Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The annual awards recognize the country’s leading green power purchasers for their commitment and contribution to helping advance the development of the nation’s voluntary green power market. EPA presented the Colleges with the award at an event held in conjunction with the 2012 Renewable Energy Markets Conference, in Washington, D.C., on Monday, Sept. 24.
HWS were among only 12 organizations nationwide to receive a Leadership Award for their green power purchases. Colleges officials were honored to receive the award along with Geneva neighbor, Zotos International, Inc., who was honored by the EPA for its onsite generation efforts.
The award recognizes EPA Green Power Partners who distinguish themselves through purchases of green power from a utility green-pricing program, a competitive green marketer, or a renewable energy certificate (REC) supplier. The Colleges are currently purchasing 12 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which is enough green power to meet 108 percent of the organization’s purchased electricity use. HWS are buying renewable energy certificates (RECs) from Community Energy.
“We are proud to receive this prestigious award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and particularly pleased that it coincides with the efforts of our neighbor Zotos International,” says James Landi ’08, sustainability manager for the Colleges. “We’re excited to take a leadership role in the purchase of green power, and the fact that we can be recognized in this manner is a testament to the increased efforts on the part of the whole campus community to reduce the Colleges’ impact on the environment.”
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.
“EPA is pleased to recognize Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a Green Power Purchasing award for their distinguished commitment to buying green power and for taking a significant step to reduce the environmental impacts associated with its electricity use,” says Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “The Colleges are helping to grow our nation’s renewable energy market and are a model for other organizations to follow.”
According to the EPA, Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ current green power purchase of 12 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of nearly 2,000 passenger vehicles per year, or is the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power more than 1,000 average American homes annually.
Hobart and William Smith are a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. This summer, Sierra Magazine again ranked Hobart and William Smith Colleges as among “America’s Coolest Schools.” The Princeton Review named HWS as one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. and Canada in “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition.” Additionally, the Colleges were recognized by the Sustainability Endowment Institute last year, when it assigned HWS a grade of B+ in its annual Sustainability Report Card.
Earlier this year, the EPA recognized Hobart and William Smith Colleges as the top green power purchaser among colleges and universities in the Liberty League. The Colleges were named the 2011-2012 Individual Conference Champion for using more green power than any other school in the league. HWS’ green efforts were also recognized by the EPA through inclusion in its list of “100 Percent Green Power Purchasers” in January 2012.