University of California was recognized as the national leader in clean energy by the US Environmental Protection Agency on Oct. 23.
The Excellence in Green Power Award recognizes and congratulates organizations for their commitment to the use of “green” energy and their contribution to the advancement of voluntary green power usage in the United States. UC was one of eight institutions to receive the award.
“Green power” is defined by the EPA as a “subset of renewable energy” that represents renewable resources and provides the highest environmental benefit by reducing the emissions associated with traditional electricity sources. Commonly known as renewable energy, green power includes wind, solar, biomass and low-impact hydropower, as well as geothermal technologies and landfill gas. The University of California purchases 112 kilowatts of green power annually, enough to power 10,000 American homes each year.
Other leaders of clean energy included Google, Clif Bar & Company, Capital One, Microsoft and University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
UC has pledged to reach zero emissions by 2025. UC President Janet Napolitano expressed her excitement at the award.
“It’s the right thing for us to be doing, both environmentally and economically, Clean energy technologies are creating jobs, benefitting our local communities, and helping us shrink our carbon footprint.”
If UC achieves carbon neutrality, it will be the first major university to accomplish this feat. The initiative builds on UC’s climate research and furthers the impact of its sustainable business practices. Some of the ways UC is cutting down on their carbon footprint include starting a zero waste campaign called #MyLastTrash, having trayless dining halls, and recycling water used for landscaping.
Napolitano hopes that winning this award will complement the leadership role that UC has taken in pursuing clean energy.