EPA applauds UI commitment to green power

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ranked The University of Iowa 15th on its list of the Top 20 On-site Green Power Users. No other public or private school has achieved this distinction. (See the list at www.epa.gov/greenpower/toplists/top20onsite.htm).

In 2009, the University’s combined heat and power plant, which generates both electric power and steam for campus utilities, used 24,370 tons of oat hulls as a source of renewable fuel. This displaced using 14,700 tons of coal, and avoided generation of more than 36,000 tons of carbon dioxide if coal had been burned. The biomass combustion generated almost 9 million kilowatt hours of electric power, or 2.4 percent of total campus electricity.

The University became an EPA Green Power Partner in 2007. This voluntary program encourages organizations to buy green power as a way to reduce environmental impacts associated with purchased electricity.

The University recently signed a Sustainability Partnership Program agreement with EPA Region 7 recognizing the University’s 2020 Vision sustainability plan. One of the goals under the plan is to “green” the University’s energy portfolio, reaching 40 percent renewable energy consumption on campus by 2020. Using biomass to generate electricity is helping the University to reach that goal, UI officials say.