Monday, April 21, 2014
Mercyhurst University announced today that it was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a 2013-2014 Individual Conference Champion of the College & University Green Power Challenge for using more green power than any other school in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.
Since April 2006, EPA’s Green Power Partnership has tracked and recognized 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.
Mercyhurst University beat its conference rivals by using more than 14 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power, representing 100 percent of the school’s annual electricity usage. Mercyhurst University is buying renewable energy certificates (RECs) from Community Energy. This demonstrates a proactive choice to switch away from traditional sources of electricity generation and support cleaner renewable energy alternatives.
“Mercyhurst has been proudly purchasing Renewable Energy Credits to offset the Erie campus’s electricity usage since 2003,” said Mercyhurst Sustainability Officer Brittany Prischak. “These annual purchases help to support the installation of wind power throughout the United States while bringing Mercyhurst closer to carbon neutrality. President Tom Gamble made a commitment through the American University and College Presidents’ Climate Commitment that Mercyhurst will reduce as much of our carbon emissions as possible and offset the rest. These RECs purchases help to offset about 45 percent of our annual carbon emissions. This purchase is a wonderful way for the university to show our commitment to sustainability and the reduction of carbon emissions in the United States.”
According to the EPA, Mercyhurst's green power use of more than 14 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 more than 2,000 passenger vehicles per year.
Thirty-three collegiate conferences and 79 schools competed in the 2013-2014 challenge, collectively using nearly 2.3 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. Using green power helps accelerate the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.