Contact: Seth Vidana, WWU Office of Sustainability, (360) 650-2491.
BELLINGHAM – Western Washington University was recently named to three different national green-college rankings based on its commitment to green building techniques, sustainability, and the use of alternative energy sources.
“Western has been a pioneer for decades in campus sustainability, thanks to the visionary leadership of our students, faculty and staff on this very important issue. It’s the right and smart way to operate,” said Western President Bruce Shepard.
The Princeton Review’s annual “Guide to 311 Green Colleges,” published in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, named WWU as one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible “green colleges,” scoring a 96 on a scale from 60-99. A few highlights:
- Western’s student-run campus recycling program – begun in 1971 and one of the nation’s first – processes 3,800 pounds of recyclable materials daily.
- WWU has introduced the 10X12 program, which seeks a 10 percent energy reduction by 2012 through conservation, energy efficiency and other means.
- Western is a nationally recognized leader in green cleaning by Academic Custodial Services.
In a separate ranking, Western also was listed 17th among the nation’s top 20 college and university purchasers of green power by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Western was the only college or university in the State of Washington on the recently released EPA list, which represents the largest purchasers among higher education institutions as of April 6, 2011.
And Western also placed highly on the EPA’s College and University Green Power Challenge, recognizing the largest single purchasers within each participating athletic conference; WWU won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference with its 40 million kilowatt hours of green power purchases.
The genesis for Western’s renewable energy program began more than five years ago when a small group of Western students set a goal of having Western obtain all of its electrical energy from a 100-percent renewable source. To meet that goal they proposed a student initiative to implement a fee that would offset the cost of purchasing renewable energy.
As a result of their efforts and significant research into renewable energy, Western moved to the forefront of the renewable energy field, becoming the first university in the country to implement a student fee to offset 100 percent of electrical energy use with the purchase of green energy
In spring 2010, the WWU student body voted overwhelmingly – more than 80 percent in favor – to renew the Green Energy Fee. In addition to funding the purchase of the renewable energy credits – 100 percent of WWU’s power now comes from the Endeavor Wind Farm in Iowa – the new fee on students also finances student projects devoted to increasing energy efficiency, decreasing energy consumption, generating renewable energy, and reducing greenhouse-gas output on WWU’s campus, as well as allowing for the creation of a student position within WWU’s Associated Students that was tasked with overseeing the fee’s programs.