UI ranked in EPA's Top 30 On-site Generation list
Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The University of Iowa has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a leader in green power use and is ranked No. 21 on EPA’s Top 30 On-site Generation list of largest green power users. The UI (Main Campus Buildings) is ranked highest among the three universities to appear on the list.

According to the U.S. EPA, the UI generates nearly 10 million kilowatt-hours of biomass power annually, equivalent to four percent of its electricity use and enough energy to power more than 1,000 average American homes annually. The carbon dioxide emissions saved by using biomass in place of coal is equivalent to taking 1,400 passenger vehicles off the road each year.

“This is a huge honor and we are proud to be recognized once again by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” says Liz Christiansen, director of the UI Office of Sustainability. “Using green power is a sound business decision and reflects the university’s commitment to further sustainability in all that we do.”

The EPA recognition is only the latest of the UI’s environmental achievements. In 2003, the UI pioneered an award-winning process for using oat hulls as fuel in its main Power Plant. Earlier this year, and approaching the 10-year anniversary of the oat hulls project, the UI added locally sourced wood chips to the mix.

To further expand its biomass portfolio, the university is studying and developing other locally sourced biomass alternatives such as perennial grass, and recent improvements to the Oakdale Renewable Energy Plant located on the UI Research Park campus were made with the goal of operating that campus on 100 percent renewable energy.

The UI became an EPA Green Power Partner in 2007 and has ranked on the list of on-site green power users each year since. The EPA Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to buy green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with electricity use. The partnership currently has more than 1,500 partner organizations.

“We congratulate the University of Iowa for using renewable energy and taking a leadership position on the environment,” says Blaine Collison, director of EPA’s Green Power Partnership. “The University of Iowa’s impressive green power commitment helps to reduce carbon pollution and provides an excellent example for other colleges and universities.”

For more information on biomass at the University of Iowa, visit the Facilities Management or Office of Sustainability websites.