A lot of businesses are incorporating renewable energy into their energy strategies to gain a competitive advantage or to satisfy increasing demands for environmental responsibility. Allegheny College, located in Meadville Pa., recently committed to match 100% of its electricity usage for three years.
We asked Allegheny College, one of our customers who is a member of the EPA Green Power Partnership, about how they have been able to leverage their renewable energy purchase shortly before they were awarded a 2011 EPA Green Power Leadership Award.
Here’s what they shared with us.
Q: What role does purchasing renewable energy have in your broader business and environmental strategy?
In January 2011, Allegheny College committed to purchasing Green-e Energy Certified RECs from Constellation to match 100% of the college’s electricity usage for three years, equal to approximately 50,000 RECs. As one of the first signatories of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, this purchase enables us to move towards achieving our goal of climate neutrality by 2020, clearly stated in our Climate Action Plan.
We’ve also helped reduce our environmental impact through various efficiency projects on campus, ranging from the construction of two LEED certified buildings to holding conservation programs that encourage our students and community to lower their environmental impact to insulation and retrofits of our lighting, boilers and HVAC equipment.
Q: How has your renewable energy purchase set you a part as a leader within your industry?
Thank you for the compliment! To tell you a bit about our renewable purchase, we joined the EPA Green Power Partnership at the same time that we became a charter signatory of the ACUPCC to address climate change and reduce academic institutions’ environmental impact. We’ve accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time, including raising our commitment from matching 15% of our electricity use with green power to 100%.
We’re also very proud to be a part of the EPA Green Power Partnership Leadership Club and won this year’s College & University Green Power Challenge in the North Coast Athletic Conference. We maintain an active sustainability website describing commitments and achievements as well as a primarily student-written blog covering activities in our community that promote renewable energy and environmental responsibility.
Q: What future plans do you have for promoting or educating others on your green power usage?
We’re developing an educational Green Tour to highlight our efforts to reduce our impact, including reference to our green power purchase, building efficiency efforts and our native flower gardens. This tour will be incorporated into our campus informational tour that every prospective student attends and we hope it will attract the type of students who want to live in a sustainable way. Our green power purchase is just one step forward in our goal of climate neutrality by the year 2020. More than promoting our purchase of renewable energy, we hope that our institutional commitment models environmental sustainability for our students and community. Efficiency, responsibility and stewardship are all core values at Allegheny College and purchasing renewable energy is another way we can practice what we teach.