SALT LAKE CITY — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced that the University of Utah is the Pac-12 conference champion for the 2012-13 College & University Green Power Challenge.
The U. was recognized for using more than 93 million kilowatt-hours of green power, representing 31 percent of the school’s annual electricity usage.
The U. purchases a combination of renewable energy certificates and utility green power products from 3Degrees and Rocky Mountain Power, which helps to reduce the environmental impacts associated with electricity use on campus. In addition, the school generates green power from an on-site renewable energy system.
The green power purchases were motivated by a student-led campaign to create a fund for clean energy purchases on behalf of the Associated Students of the University of Utah. The fee went into effect in 2004, and now, every semester, each student contributes $1 toward the fund.
The EPA’s Green Power Partnership has tracked and recognized the collegiate athletic conferences with the highest combined green power purchases in the nation since 2006.
Green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass and low-impact hydropower.
According to the EPA, the U.’s green power use was equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity use of nearly 10,000 American homes annually, or the CO2 emissions of nearly 14,000 vehicles per year.