EPA names UI, Big Ten Conference leading green power purchasers
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The University of Iowa’s on-site generation of green power helped boost the Big Ten Conference to overall conference champion in the 2012-2013 Green Power Challenge.
Oat hulls used by the University of Iowa power plant. Photo courtesy of UI Facilities Management.
The UI is one of four schools in the conference recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as 2012-2013 Collective Conference Champions for using green power. The Collective Conference Champions Award recognizes the conference, and its respective participating schools, whose collective green power use was the largest among all participating conferences.
The UI’s voluntary use of nearly 10 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power, representing 4 percent of the school’s annual electricity usage, helped contribute to the winning conference effort. The UI generates green power from an on-site renewable energy system, which helps to reduce the environmental impacts associated with the campus’ electricity use. The UI has used biomass (oat hulls) since 2003 to displace coal in one of its two solid fuel boilers and generate renewable electric power and steam. The UI is also aggressively investigating other biomass alternatives, such as wood chips and miscanthus.
“We are pleased to be recognized once again by the EPA as a leader in on-campus green power production. Our renewable energy efforts are growing on several fronts and we are making consistent progress toward our Vision 2020 40 percent renewable energy target” says Liz Christiansen, director of the UI Office of Sustainability.
Since April 2006, EPA's Green Power Partnership has tracked and recognized the collegiate athletic conferences with the highest combined green power purchases in the nation. The U.S. EPA recognized UI/Main Campus Buildings for its purchase, which contributed to making the Big Ten Conference the nation's largest overall purchaser of green power.
According to the U.S. EPA, the UI's green power use of nearly 10 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 1,400 passenger vehicles per year. The Big 10's collective green power purchase of nearly 317 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of more than 33,000 average American homes, or the annual CO2 emissions of nearly 47,000 passenger vehicles.
Thirty-two collegiate conferences and 76 schools competed in the 2012-13 challenge, collectively using more than 2.2 billion kWh of green power. In order to qualify, a collegiate athletic conference must include at least one school that qualifies as a Green Power Partner, and the conference must collectively use at least 10 million kWh of green power.
For more information about EPA's College and University Green Power Challenge, see www.epa.gov/greenpower/initiatives/cu_challenge.htm. For more information about renewable energy at the UI, visit www.facilities.uiowa.edu/uem/renewable-energy/.