EPA names UC Santa Cruz sixth-largest campus purchaser of 'green power' for second year in a row

For the second year in a row, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified the University of California, Santa Cruz, as the sixth-largest campus purchaser of "green power" in the country.

"This ranking underscores UCSC's commitment to reducing our carbon footprint," said UCSC Chancellor George R. Blumenthal. "We're leading the way and helping to build the market for renewable electricity so others will follow."

Blumenthal, hailing the recent release of UCSC's 2007 Campus Sustainability Assessment, said he wants UCSC to be a leader in sustainability and "green" initiatives.

The EPA rankings are available online.

UCSC's leadership as a consumer of renewable power was made possible by students who voted in May 2006 to pay a tuition increase of $3 per quarter to fund the purchase of clean, sustainable energy in the form of renewable energy certificates (RECs). As a result of that student initiative, UCSC buys enough RECs to offset 100 percent of the electricity that powers the campus.

UCSC contracts with Sterling Planet to purchase RECs generated by wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower, biomass, and landfill gas. Green power produces less carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas linked to global climate change) than conventional sources of electricity, which include coal-fired power plants.

According to the EPA's listing of 2007-08 College & University Green Power Champions, UCSC purchased 57 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of green energy in the form of RECs during the 2007-08 academic year. To participate in the challenge, schools must buy at least 10 million kilowatt-hours of green power.

The campus is also working to reduce overall demand by retrofitting equipment, adopting energy-efficient building designs, and developing on-site sources of renewable power, said Ilse Kolbus, director of the UCSC Physical Plant.

Learn more about UCSC's sustainability efforts online.