For the first time, the Pac-12 conference claimed the top spot among 30 athletic conferences in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) College and University Green Power Challenge. The Pac-12 had an annual green power usage of more than 228 million kWh annually, which is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the electricity use of more than 19,500 average American homes for one year. The University of Utah led the conference, narrowly beating Oregon State University. The Big Ten, last year’s Challenge winner, followed by the Ivy League, claimed the #2 and #3 spots, respectively.
The University of Pennsylvania continues to be the top individual school in the challenge, beating out 72 other schools by purchasing over 200 million kilowatt hours (KWh) of green power, or 48% of its power purchases. The University of Pennsylvania, an EPA Green Power Partner of the Year in 2003 and 2008, as well as a signatory to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), took top honors in the Challenge for the fifth year in a row. Penn’s green power use is equivalent to avoiding the estimated greenhouse gas emissions of more than 27,000 passenger vehicles each year.
The University of Utah moved from the Mountain West to the Pac-12 conference, and increased its green power use by 15% over last year. The University of Oklahoma made a splash as a first year Challenge participant, winning the Big 12 conference title. Other first time conference champions include Northwestern University (Big Ten) and Quinnipiac University (Northeast Conference).
This year’s challenge participation increased to 73 competing institutions, representing 30 athletic conferences nationwide. The challenge’s total annual green power usage of more than 1.8 billion kWh has the equivalent environmental impact of avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the annual electricity use of more than 150,000 homes.