UB gets high marks for using green energy

BUFFALO, NY — It’s higher education sustainability rankings season, and the University at Buffalo ranks well on two lists that track green energy use among colleges and universities nationwide.

For the second straight year, UB leads the Mid-American Conference (MAC) in green power use, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s College and University Green Power Challenge 2018-19. environment, the results of which were revealed on Earth Day (April 22).

Since April 2006, the EPA’s Green Power Partnership has tracked and recognized collegiate athletic conferences with the greatest combined use of green power within the program. The Individual Conference Champion award recognizes the school that uses the most green energy during a qualifying conference.

Of the 36 winners at this year’s conference, UB ranks second in green energy use. The university uses more than 224 million kilowatt hours of green energy – the equivalent of the electricity consumption of more than 21,000 average American homes per year – which represents 100% of the annual electricity consumption of the university.

UB trails only the University of Tennessee, Southeastern Conference champion Knoxville, which uses more than 250 million kilowatt hours.

In addition to the EPA ranking, UB is among the top 10 colleges in the nation for using renewable energy, according to the Denver-based advocacy group Environment America Research and Policy Center.

“Rankings like these are important because we know that today’s prospective students care deeply about sustainability issues and make their academic decisions based largely on a university’s performance in this regard. “said Laura Hubbard, vice president of finance and administration at UB. . “It is also a source of pride for the university as we continue to celebrate Sustainability Month with dozens of events that span the spectrum of what it means to be sustainable.

UB is No. 10 on the Environment America list, which was compiled by gathering data from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and ranking 180 qualified colleges using their STARS scores ( Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) for the last three years.

To account for differences in school size, Environment America divided the amount of renewable energy produced or purchased by each school by the number of full-time equivalent students.

Of the 180 schools that reported their renewable energy data to STARS, 91% use some amount of renewable energy.

Rankings are important because they come at a time when prospective students are choosing which college to attend. Sixty-three percent of students surveyed in Princeton Review’s 2018 College Hopes & Worries Survey said that information about a college’s commitment to the environment would influence their application decisions or registration.

“Current and future students care deeply about the role higher education plays in the fight against climate change. With this report, they now have valuable data on colleges and universities that are leading the charge toward a renewable energy future,” said Bronte Payne, director of Environment America’s 100% Renewable Campuses campaign.

Southwestern University in Texas was No. 1 on Environment America’s list. The school purchases Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from wind farms equal to 100% of its electricity consumption.

Environment America’s report notes that campuses across the country are cleaning up their transportation systems by moving away from fossil-fuel vehicles and moving toward fleets of electric vehicles — something UB is currently considering.

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