The Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday that Northwestern University was among one of the winners of its 2015 Green Power Partner Awards. The award recognizes institutions, companies, and local governments that have worked towards increasing their usage of sustainable energy.
Northwestern was recognized for expanding its share of renewable energy certificates from 20 percent of total usage in 2006 to 50 percent of its electricity in 2014.
“We’re a big purchaser of energy from companies that use wind power,” said Vice President of University Relations Al Cubbage, adding providers were mainly located in the Midwest. “What we’re trying to do is reduce the carbon footprint of the university and be a more sustainable university. It’s great that we are being recognized for it.”
The EPA press release also mentioned the University’s efforts to increase energy efficiency, which led to a decline in the usage of natural gas equivalent to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 600 tons.
The EPA also lauded the 16 kilowatt-hour solar panel system which was installed on the roof of the Ford Design Center in 2011. The University worked with Engineers for a Sustainable World on the project. Members of ESW were not available for comment before publication.
“Green power is an important part of our overall approach to energy,” Rob Whittier, the director of NU’s Office of Sustainability, said in a press release. “First we reduce energy use through smart design, energy conservation projects and occupant engagement and then offset the impact of the energy that we do use by sourcing cleaner energy like solar and wind.”
Northwestern was the only university to be recognized by the EPA this year, among multi-national corporations such as H&M and local governments such as D.C. which “purchased green power for 100 percent of its municipal use,” according to the EPA.
“I was honored to share the stage with organizations like Apple, Intel, and Microsoft who are shaping the future of distributed energy generation,” Whittier said.