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Renewable Energy Use Up

EPA ranks Northwestern fifth among higher ed institutions in annual green power competition

EVANSTON --- Already a leader in the use of green power, Northwestern University took a major step forward this year by purchasing renewable energy certificates equivalent to 50 percent of its annual electricity usage -- up from 38 percent a year ago.

By voluntarily purchasing more than 122 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power, Northwestern climbed two spots to No. 5 in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2014-2015 College and University Green Power Challenge.

“Northwestern has set a goal of leadership in energy and sustainability, and purchasing renewable energy credits from clean, wind energy projects to offset our purchased electricity reflects that commitment,” said Rob Whittier, director of Northwestern’s Office of Sustainabilty.

A renewable energy certificate (REC) is a tradable energy commodity that represents proof that one megawatt-hour of electricity was generated from an eligible renewable energy resource. Northwestern purchases RECs from 3Degrees, which helps reduce the environmental impact associated with the University’s electricity use through generating and delivering wind energy to the power grid.

In addition, the University generates its own green power from a solar photovoltaic array on the roof of the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. The 16.8-kilowatt panel display has the potential to generate as much as 20,000 kWh of electricity per year.

Northwestern is one of six members of the Big Ten Conference to be recognized as Collective Conference Champions for using green power. The award recognizes the conference and its respective participating schools, whose collective green power use was the largest among all participating conferences.

Read more about the EPA’s College and University Green Power Challenge.

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