The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has 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.
Since April 2006, EPA’s Green Power Partnership has tracked and recognized the collegiate athletic conferences with the highest combined green power purchases in the nation. The Individual Conference Champion Award recognizes the school that has made the largest individual purchase of green power within a qualifying conference.
HWS beat their conference rivals by using more than 12 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power, representing 100 percent of the schools’ annual electricity usage. The Colleges purchase renewable energy certificates from Community Energy and also generate green power from an on-site renewable energy system, helping to reduce the environmental impacts associated with the campus’ electricity use.
“We’re excited to take a leadership role in the purchase of green power and hope that other colleges and universities in the League will join us in this effort to reduce our environmental impact,” says James Landi ’08, sustainability coordinator at HWS.
According to the U.S. EPA, the Colleges’ green power use of more than 12 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the electricity use of more than 1,000 average American homes annually, or the CO2 emissions of nearly 2,000 passenger vehicles per year. The Liberty League’s collective green power purchase of more than 42 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of nearly 4,000 average American homes, or the annual CO2 emissions of nearly 6,000 passenger vehicles.
“EPA applauds Hobart and William Smith Colleges as the Liberty League Conference Champion in this year’s College and University Green Power Challenge,” says Blaine Collison, director of EPA’s Green Power Partnership. “By using wind energy to supply 100 percent of its electricity use, the school is reducing harmful air pollution and showing that small colleges can make a big difference for the environment.”
Thirty collegiate conferences and 73 schools competed in the 2011-2012 challenge, collectively purchasing more than 1.8 billion kWh of green power. EPA will extend the College & University Green Power Challenge for a seventh year, to conclude in spring of 2013.
Environmental sustainability is a core value at HWS. With a unique program that allows students and faculty to use the physical campus as a laboratory to explore environmental impact mitigation strategies, the HWS Sustainability Program enables and encourages students to link classroom learning to real world application, which plays a direct role in the environmental performance of the Colleges.
The Colleges were recently announced the winners of the New York Negawatt Challenge mini-division, sponsored by the Lucid Design Group. Additionally, HWS were added to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s list of “100 Percent Green Power Purchasers” in January 2012. In its September/October 2011 issue, Sierra Magazine ranked HWS 67th in its list of “America’s Coolest Schools,” the fifth annual ranking of the greenest colleges in the United States. The Colleges were also recognized by the Sustainability Endowment Institute last year, when it assigned HWS a grade of B+ in its annual Sustainability Report Card.
For more information about EPA’s College and University Green Power Challenge, visit the Challenge website at http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/initiatives/cu_challenge.htm.