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Northwestern an EPA Green Power Leader

University purchases offset 53,000 metric tons of dioxide emissions annually

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November 12, 2012 | by Stephen Anzaldi

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University ranks seventh among colleges and universities on the Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent list of green power purchasers.

Northwestern has been a leader in the rankings since it joined EPA’s Green Power Partnership in 2006. The voluntary national program encourages the purchase of green power as a way to reduce environmental impacts associated with purchased electricity use.

The University matches 74 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of its annual energy use with Green-e Certified Renewable Energy Certificates. Placing Northwestern in the EPA’s Green Power Leadership Club, this strategy represents 30 percent of the University’s total annual electricity use. 

A Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) represents one megawatt-hour of electricity generated from wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, low-impact hydropower or other renewable resources.  By matching electricity use with RECs, organizations like Northwestern help channel funds to renewable energy projects. This, in turn, increases overall demand for renewable energy, spurs further construction of new projects and accelerates the development of a low-carbon renewable energy economy.

Using calculations from the EPA, Northwestern’s green power purchase of 74 million kilowatt-hours will avoid approximately 53,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. That is the equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions from more than 10,000 passenger vehicles each year or the carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity use of more than 6,000 average American homes annually.     

“We're a national leader in energy efficiency, and purchasing credits from clean, wind energy reflects how much the Northwestern community cares about sustainability,” said Rob Whittier, Director of Sustainability at Northwestern.

The University purchases RECs from 3Degrees, a company that offers green power and carbon balancing services. Its mission is to mitigate the effects of climate change by accelerating the development of a low-carbon renewable energy economy.

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