The Catholic University of America

April 19, 2010

CUA Recognized as Alternative Energy Powerhouse by EPA


Catholic University was named by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a 2009-2010 Individual Conference Champion for using more green power than any other school in the Landmark Conference.

Collegiate athletic conferences with the highest combined purchases of green power in the country have been recognized by the EPA’s Green Power Partnership since April 2006. The Individual Conference Champion Award recognizes the school that has made the largest individual purchase of green power within a conference.

CUA beat its Landmark Conference rivals by purchasing more than 13 million kilowatt hours of green power, representing 35 percent of the school’s annual electricity usage. CUA purchases green power from Hess Energy Marketing, which helps to reduce the environmental impact associated with the campus’ electricity use.

EPA estimates that CUA’s purchase of green power is equivalent to reducing the carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity use of more than 1,000 average American homes each year.

CUA has been aggressively pursuing energy conservation for 12 years. In fall 2002, the university moved to re-invest some of the resulting savings into green power by buying 10 percent of its electricity from wind energy. Today, about a third of the university’s energy supply comes from renewable resources that go beyond wind to include solar, hydro and biomass.

“This award recognizes Catholic University’s commitment to being an outstanding steward of the environment,” says Brian Alexander, CUA’s director of energy and utilities management. “That commitment went even farther earlier this year when the university became an energy producer.”

In January, CUA began generating electricity from more than 1,000 rooftop solar panels. The university buys back the electricity from Washington Gas Energy Services, owner of the solar-panel system. The system is expected to produce about 340,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year. That energy output was not taken into consideration in this competition.

“This is a college playoff where everyone wins," said Gina McCarthy, EPA assistant administrator for air and radiation. “Renewable energy is a slam dunk not just for Catholic University but for clean air, our health, and our climate.”

The Green Power Challenge is open to all U.S. colleges and universities and conferences that meet minimum energy purchase requirements. In this year’s challenge, 26 collegiate conferences and 54 schools competed, collectively purchasing almost 1.2 billion kilowatt hours of green power. Affiliated with the NCAA’s Division III, the Landmark Conference is made up of eight colleges and universities in the Eastern United States.