Southern Illinois University Edwardsville says it has reduced its carbon footprint by purchasing 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources, making it one of only 61 universities in the country that reported using at least 50 percent renewable power to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“The university has made a commitment to be more sustainable,” said Facilities Management Director Paul Fuligni. “We had been buying 10 percent renewable electricity for several years from Mid-American Energy in Urbandale, Iowa. When we found out that it would add less than one percent to the campus electrical bill to increase to 50 percent, we didn’t hesitate.”
The university began buying more renewable electricity on Jan. 1 through the use of renewable energy credits.
“This is a good thing, because we are not relying as heavily on conventional fossil fuel,” Fuligni added.
According to Fuligni, each renewable energy credit represents one megawatt hour of electricity generated from a renewable source, such as wind, solar, biomass or small hydroelectric power. SIUE uses approximately 52,000 megawatt hours of electricity in one year, which is the equivalent to approximately 4,800 homes.
Fuligni also said the increased use of renewable electricity should help raise the university’s score on the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS), a self-reporting tool for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.
“It was a very easy thing to do,” said Fuligni. “We plan to explore the possibility of increasing the university’s use from 50 percent, as long as the price remains affordable.”
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