Western Washington University is the only Washington state public university or college on the Environmental Protection Agency’s list for green energy purchases in higher education, Paul Cocke, the director of university communications, said in an email.
Western Ranked 19th among the Top 30 College and University green energy list.
The list represents the largest green power users among higher education within the Green Power Partnership, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Western annually offsets 100 percent of its electrical consumption by purchasing renewable energy credits, Cocke said.
The student renewable energy fee has funded the purchase of these energy credits, he said.
The Green Energy fee is charged to students’ account every quarter. The fee is currently $0.70 for every credit a student takes at Western, up to $7, according to the office of sustainability’s website.
Puget Sound Energy provides renewable energy produced by windmills and solar panels, which are a clean energy source, according to the PSE website.
The university purchases energy credits to offset its carbon emissions from energy consumption, according to the office of sustainability’s website.
Western purchases its renewable energy credits from the Endeavor Wind Farm in Iowa, Cocke said.
The fee also funds projects around campus to increase sustainability. These projects include installation of solar panels in parking lots and efforts at waste reduction, Cocke said.
The focus of the fee is on reducing greenhouse gases and solid waste. The fee also funds efforts in energy efficiency and renewable energy, Cocke said.
Planning for the student renewable energy fee began nine years ago, Cocke said.
A group of Western students set the goal to have Western offset all electrical energy consumption from a renewable source, Cocke said.
“As a result of [the student’s] visionary efforts and significant research into renewable energy, Western has moved to the forefront of the renewable energy field," Cocke said.
The effect of green energy savings
- The combined green energy power saved from the Top 30 Colleges and Universities is two billion kilowatt-hours.
- The amount of energy cut is equivalent to carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity usage of about 196,000 American homes annually, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.