For its commitment to renewable energy, Georgetown was named a Green Power Partner of the Year by the Environmental Protection Agency last week.
The distinction was given to the university for its commitment to purchasing approximately 113 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy, moving to 100 percent green power and establishing the Solar Street on-site renewable energy project, which constructed solar panels on the roofs of six university-owned townhouses in January.
Three other organizations — Cisco Systems, Inc., the Microsoft Corporation and Ohio State University — received the award this year.
In order to qualify for the award, organizations must demonstrate a substantial commitment to green energy, which the EPA cites as electricity generated from renewable resources that produce no fossil fuel-based pollution.
“Our 2013 Green Power Leadership Award winners are driving new renewable energy generation and providing clear examples of organizations thriving on innovation and sustainability,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a press release.
Georgetown has participated in the EPA’s Green Power Partnership program for the past several years.
“Participating in this program is a way to advance the development of green power sources, both through our use of green power and also by serving as a leader in communicating to the marketplace about the value of sustainable energy,” Audrey Stewart, director of Georgetown’s Office of Sustainability, said.
Blaine Collison, director of the Green Power Partner Program at the EPA, commended the effort required by Georgetown to implement these innovations.
“It’s a large and complex institution,” Collison said. “Georgetown’s green power purchase is the fifth largest nationally in the higher education sector, and that matters. We need to have schools like Georgetown and Ohio State take the action they are. It provides an incredible set of examples for other schools to take a look at and consider for their own climate policy.”
Gabriel Pincus (SFS ’14), Georgetown University Student Association’s secretary of sustainability, expressed excitement about the award and encouraged the university to continue to implement new green projects.
“I think it’s great that Georgetown is getting recognition,” Pincus said. “We’re taking a lot of steps across the board on sustainability issues. To get national recognition is pretty awesome.”
Pincus described a variety of sustainable projects that GUSA is currently working on with the administration, including changes to the recycling program, making Georgetown a more bike-friendly campus, ensuring the preservation of green spaces on campus and developing methods to use electricity more efficiently.
“[The award] is great, but there’s more to be done for sure,” Pincus said. “There’s a ton of issues we have on our radar.”