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The Power of Green

Campus sustainability policies and practices that make a big impact
University Business, June 2011
The Power of Green

For six years each June, University Business editors have been sharing snapshots of sustainability efforts taking place at campuses across the country. As green continues to grow in popularity, institutional efforts and the collective impact of those efforts continue to impress.

Just one example is the combined 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours of green power purchased annually by the Top 20 College & University list from the Green Power Partnership. It's the equivalent of powering nearly 103,000 average American homes.

Cropping up in the news are more and more stories of campuses being powered by smart microgrids. During a test with three buildings since last summer, Drexel University (Pa.) has saved an estimated 20 percent on energy costs because of the smart grid.

For construction projects, more than three-quarters of institutions now have official green building policies, which allow project teams to start their work without going through a "soul searching" phase where officials may debate how green to make the building and in what ways.

Wind energy produced by turbines is green and nearly free.

As for everyday college life, green office certification programs are expanding the commitment to green in the trenches across campus, and sustainability offices are motivating students to participate in less exciting sustainability efforts. Students are also continuing to help their institutions by spearheading green efforts, such as using the power of waste grease to fuel campus shuttles.

Read on for more details on the power of green.