For the third time in four years, Union has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a conference champion of the College and University Green Power Challenge for using more green power than any other school in the Liberty League.
The College beat its conference rivals by using more than 21 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power, representing more than 100 percent of the school’s annual electricity usage. Union buys renewable energy certificates (RECs) from Community Energy. The College also generates green power from an on-site renewable energy system using solar and wind resources.
Union’s green power use of more than 21 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the electricity use of nearly 2,000 average American homes annually.
The EPA’s Green Power Partnership tracks and recognizes the collegiate athletic conferences with the highest combined green power use in the nation. The Individual Conference Champion Award recognizes the school that has the largest individual use of green power within a qualifying conference.
Thirty-six collegiate conferences and 98 schools competed in the 2016-17 challenge, collectively using nearly 3.2 billion kWh of green power. Green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, eligible biogas, biomass and low-impact hydro.
Sustainability is one of the key priorities of the College’s Strategic Plan.
In 2007, President Stephen C. Ainlay was among the first to sign the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), pledging to formally work on reducing, and eventually eliminating, campus greenhouse gas emissions.
For the past seven years, Union has been included among the country’s most environmentally responsible colleges, according to The Princeton Review’s “Guide to Green Colleges.”