Published April 26, 2013
UB is the 11th largest green power user among U.S. colleges and universities, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The ranking, up from 14th last year, shows that UB is making strides toward achieving its goal of becoming climate neutral by 2030.
“We’re thrilled to be recognized by the EPA for our commitment to foster a more sustainable environment in Western New York and beyond,” said Ryan McPherson, UB’s chief sustainability officer. “As this year’s list shows, UB is committed to growing in an environmentally responsible manner.”
UB bought more than 44 million kilowatt-hours of green power, or 20 percent of the university’s annual electricity usage, for the 2011-2012 academic year. That number rose to 77 million kilowatt-hours this year, which is about 35 percent of UB’s power use.
The jump is mostly the result of buying from the EPA renewable energy certificates that subsidize clean energy projects such as electricity-generating wind turbines and power plants fueled by biomass, said John Russo, UB’s utilities manager.
UB’s Solar Strand, which functions as an outdoor classroom, a piece of art and demonstration project for research, also helped. The strand’s 3,200 photovoltaic panels produced nearly 1 million kilowatt-hours since UB flipped the switch a year ago.
In 2007, UB was one of the first 150 institutions of higher learning to pledge to reduce or offset all of its greenhouse gas emissions by signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. The pact, signed by more than 650 institutes of higher learning, requires signatories to inventory their carbon emissions and create a plan to make each campus climate neutral.
UB is taking other steps, in addition to producing its own power and buying renewable energy certificates, to achieve this goal. Examples include, but are not limited to, launching a bicycle sharing program, composting food waste, constructing eco-friendly new buildings and retro-fitting existing buildings with high efficiency equipment, as well as recycling and hosting drug and electronic disposal drop-offs.