This summer the University of North Texas ranked 11th on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Top 30 College and University list of the largest green power users from the Green Power Partnership. The ranking marked the school’s first appearance in the top 11 spots.
The EPA awarded the ranking after UNT enrolled in Denton Municipal Electric’s GreenSense Renewable Electricity Program this past spring. The university uses more than 107 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which covers 100 percent of its total power needs. UNT also generates green power from on-site solar and wind energy systems, helping expand the market for renewable electricity and increase the amount of clean, renewable electricity flowing to the grid.
According to the EPA, UNT’s green power use is equivalent to the electricity use of nearly 10,000 average American homes annually. The university also ranks No. 72 on the agency’s National Top 100 list of green power users.
Being green is nothing new at the University of North Texas, which has “We Mean Green” recycling bins throughout campus and a storied history of environmental efforts dating back to water quality research in 1935.
“Most colleges talk about ‘our future.’ I think it says a lot that UNT has committed not only to helping locally, but also the Earth as a whole,” said mechanical and energy engineering freshman Seattle Jackson. “It gives the school a strong reputation that it is committed to producing a better future.”
The EPA and its Green Power Partners help support development of the clean energy economy. The partnership currently has more than 1,400 organizations from Fortune 500® companies to small businesses to colleges and universities like UNT. Collectively, the partners match the electricity demand of Utah and New Hampshire combined in renewable energy annually.
UNT participates in green programing in large part thanks to the Student Sustainability office’s We Mean Green Fund, into which every student pays a $5 Environmental Service fee during the spring and fall semesters that is dedicated to reducing UNT’s impact on the environment.
“This project is a reality due to the commitment that UNT students have for the environment and their desire to make the university a leader against climate change,” said Gary Cocke, advisor for the We Mean Green Fund. “We hope the UNT Goes GreenSense project will encourage other residents and companies to enroll in Denton Municipal Electric’s GreenSense program to support renewable energy.”
UNT enrolled in the GreenSense Program on a one-year trial basis earlier this year, and campus feedback will be presented to the We Mean Green Fund Committee to determine if the contract is renewed for four more years.
In addition to the GreenSense Program, UNT Student Sustainability works across the UNT community on a variety of environmental initiatives throughout the year, including recycling competitions, restoration projects and the UNT Community Garden.