UB receives EPA Green Power Leadership Award

solar strand

UB currently is using nearly 213 million kilowatt-hours of green power annually, enough to meet 100 percent of the university’s overall electricity use. The university is generating electricity from on-site solar energy systems, including the 3,200-panel Solar Strand on the North Campus. Photo: Douglas Levere

Published October 19, 2016

UB has received a 2016 Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the EPA announced Monday.

EPA’s annual Green Power Leadership Awards recognize the country’s leading green power users for their commitment and contribution to helping advance the development of the nation’s voluntary green power market. EPA presented UB with a Green Power Partner of the Year award Monday at the 2016 Renewable Energy Markets Conference in San Francisco.

UB was one of only three organizations nationwide to be chosen as a Green Power Partner of the Year. With this award, EPA recognizes Green Power Partners who distinguish themselves through their leadership, overall strategy and impact on the green power market.

UB is currently using nearly 213 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which is enough to meet 100 percent of the university’s overall electricity use. In addition, the school is generating electricity from on-site solar energy systems. These include the 3,200-panel Solar Strand installed in 2012, and a series of panels on the roof of Norton Hall. By choosing clean, renewable energy, UB is accelerating the transition to a more sustainable energy future.

“UB is honored to be recognized by the EPA as a national leader in using clean, renewable energy,” said Laura Hubbard, vice president for finance and administration. “We are committed to making UB a more sustainable campus through a variety of green power initiatives.”

UB ranks No. 1 on EPA’s Top 30 College and University list and No. 32 on the National Top 100 list. Each list highlights EPA Green Power Partners using the most renewable energy annually as of July 6, 2016. EPA updates its Top Partner Rankings quarterly.

Green power is zero-emissions electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass and low-impact hydro. Using green power helps accelerate the development of new, renewable energy capacity nationwide and helps users reduce their carbon footprints.

According to the EPA, UB’s current green power use of nearly 213 million kWh is equivalent to the electricity use of more than 19,000 average American homes annually.

UB strives to evolve, build resilience and minimize its environmental footprint, as most potently illustrated by its aggressive commitment to become climate neutral by 2030.

The past 12 months have seen one success after another for UB’s sustainability efforts. Earlier this fall, UB landed at No. 57 on the Sierra Club’s 2016 Cool Schools list, which ranks colleges and universities based on sustainability criteria. The Princeton Review recently ranked UB among the nation’s Top 50 Green Colleges.

In May, UB was named one of three winners of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Energy to Lead competition. Last fall, UB submitted an exhaustive report on its sustainability efforts, which earned a “gold” certification as part of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, or STARS.