By: Amanda Leff Ritchie, Senior Public Relations Specialist at Chatham, and Mollie Lemon, Green Power Partnership Communications Director
April 18, 2012
PITTSBURGH (April 18, 2012)… Chatham University announced today that it was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the 2011-2012 Individual Conference Champion for using more green power than any other school in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference.
Since April 2006, EPA’s Green Power Partnership has tracked and recognized the collegiate athletic conferences with the highest combined green power purchases in the nation. The Individual Conference Champion Award recognizes the school that has made the largest individual purchase of green power within a qualifying conference.
Chatham University beat its conference rivals by using 12 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power, representing 100 percent of the school’s annual electricity usage. Chatham University purchases renewable energy certificates from Renewable Choice Energy, helping to reduce the environmental impacts associated with the campus’ electricity use.
According to the U.S. EPA, Chatham University’s green power use of 12 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the electricity use of more than 1,000 average American homes annually, or the CO2 emissions of nearly 2,000 passenger vehicles per year.
“EPA applauds Chatham University as the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Champion in this year’s College and University Green Power Challenge,” said Blaine Collison, director of EPA’s Green Power Partnership. “By purchasing 100 percent renewable electricity, Chatham is reducing harmful carbon dioxide emissions and showing that small schools can make a big difference for the environment.”
Thirty collegiate conferences and 73 schools competed in the 2011-2012 challenge, collectively purchasing more than 1.8 billion kWh of green power. EPA will extend the College & University Green Power Challenge for a seventh year, to conclude in spring of 2013. EPA’s Green Power Challenge is open to all U.S. colleges, universities, and conferences. In order to qualify, a collegiate athletic conference must include at least one school that qualifies as a Green Power Partner, and the conference must collectively purchase at least 10 million kWh of green power. For more information, visit: www.epa.gov/greenpower/initiatives/cu_challenge.htm.
Green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass, and low-impact hydro. Purchases of green power help accelerate the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.
“We deeply appreciate the EPA recognizing Chatham for our commitment to the environment,” says Mary Whitney, sustainability coordinator at Chatham. “We are honored to receive this title in recognition of our efforts of reducing carbon emissions to zero by the year 2025.”
Chatham has purchased renewable power since 2002, and now purchases 100 percent of its total electricity usage from a Green-E Certified mix of renewable energy that is primarily wind power. Two grants were recently awarded to Chatham, allowing the installation of solar thermal water heating that is designed to lessen dependence on fossil fuels, reduce the University’s carbon footprint, and insulate against fluctuating energy costs.
The largest installation of its kind in Pennsylvania and the 8th largest solar water heating installation in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Utility Solar Water Heating Initiative project database, the project incorporates advanced microchannel technology from Solar Tomorrow, Inc. Chatham’s green initiatives were recognized in 2011 by the Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future.
In addition to a successful school–wide single–stream recycling program, Chatham boasts a composting program and sends waste fat to a regional biodiesel plant. Reflecting Chatham’s commitment to community involvement in its food, food service provider Parkhurst Dining Services purchases 20 percent of its food from local sources through its FarmSource program and coordinates a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program for the campus. The dining hall provides vegan and vegetarian selections at all meals to accommodate the large population that prefers this low–carbon diet, as well as to reduce the campus footprint. In addition, eliminating the use of trays in 2009 has resulted in at least a 25 percent reduction of energy and encourages less food waste, and the switch to reusable take-out containers in 2011 has led to additional dramatic waste reduction.
Chatham maintains a fleet of biodiesel shuttle busses, which transport students between its Shadyside and Eastside Campuses, as well as to nearby local universities.
Chatham is one of the first Pennsylvania employers to offer a $20 a month tax credit to workers who bike for a “substantial portion” of their commute. The Bicycle Commuter Act tax credit was part of 2008’s Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, and Chatham was featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for its participation. Chatham was also recently became the first university in Pennsylvania to be recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a Bike Friendly University, receiving the bronze-level designation. Chatham was previously awarded a Bicycle Friendly Business designation by the league.
About Chatham University
Chatham University prepares students from around the world to help develop solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. Consistently ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, Chatham University is also ranked in the top five percent of graduate-intensive institutions nationally and experienced the fastest-growing enrollment in the Pittsburgh region over the past decade. Founded in 1869, Chatham University includes the Shadyside Campus, with the historic 39-acre Woodland Road arboretum and Chatham Eastside facility; and the 388-acre Eden Hall Campus north of Pittsburgh. For more information, call 800-837-1290 or visit www.chatham.edu.
About EPA’s Green Power Partnership
The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to buy green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with electricity use. The Partnership currently has more than 1,300 Partner organizations voluntarily purchasing billions of kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Partners include a wide variety of leading organizations such as Fortune 500® companies, small and medium sized businesses, local, state, and federal governments, and colleges and universities. For additional information, please visit http://www.epa.gov/greenpower.
For more information about EPA’s College and University Green Power Challenge, visit the Challenge website at http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/initiatives/cu_challenge.htm.
About the President’s Athletic Conference
Founded in 1955, the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) promotes intercollegiate athletics and the pursuit of academic excellence. Consisting of 12 select private institutions in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio, the PAC is built on the principle that an athletic program is a part of college life, but not an entity in itself. The PAC annually crowns champions in 19 sports (10 men, nine women).
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