Whitman College ranked at the top of the Northwest Conference during the 2016-17 College and University Green Power Challenge, using millions more eco-friendly kilowatt hours than other schools.
"This achievement and recognition honors the progress Whitman College has made in combating our impact on the environment," said Campus Sustainability Coordinator Brandon Bishop. "Whitman has made dynamic strides as we have broken ground on our first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) buildings and have committed to the construction of 116kW of additional solar panels."
Run by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the voluntary program encourages organizations to commit to renewable energy sources as a way to cut back on the environmental impacts associated with electricity use.
Whitman surpassed conference rivals by creating more than 17 million kilowatt hours of green power, representing more than 100 percent of the school's annual electricity usage. Whitman procures renewable energy certificates from Renewable Choice Energy and generates green power from an on-site renewable energy system utilizing solar resources, a proactive choice to move away from traditional sources of electricity generation and support cleaner renewable energy alternatives.
Whitman also recently gained admittance to the Green Power Leadership Club, the highest distinction in the EPA Green Power Partnership. The college also holds a Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System silver rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
"With these accomplishments and the continued support for campus sustainability, not to mention the gracious donations of our campus community, we are on track to make Whitman a leader in sustainability," Bishop said.
According to Bishop, Whitman has been purchasing Green-E certified renewable energy credits to offset electricity usage for about 10 years. In 2015, as part of the adoption of the Climate Action Plan and an ongoing commitment to carbon neutrality, the college began offsetting 100 percent of campus electricity usage, with a goal of offsetting 100 percent of natural gas usage by 2020.
"These actions represent a small sliver of our campus community's continuing efforts to mitigate our regional and global environmental impact," said Bishop. "Moving forward, we are dedicated to reducing and offsetting our greenhouse gas emissions to 50 percent by 2020 and 100 percent by 2050."
To learn more about campus sustainability efforts, visit the webpage.