Green Power Challenge Winner: Penn, Again

The University of Pennsylvania once again came out on top in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2012 Green College University Green Power Challenge. It’s the fifth time in as many years that the school has won the prize for buying more energy from renewable resources then any other university in the nation. The school had some tough competition, though, particularly from its nearby rival schools.

Of the 73 universities participating in the challenge, 17 were in Pennsylvania, more than any other state represented. The Penn stood out from other schools across the country by purchasing more than 200 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of green power, nearly half (48 percent) of its total power purchases.  By doing so, the school was able to avoiding greenhouse gas emissions of approximately 27,000 passenger vehicles.

Green Power Challenge, University of Pennsylvania

image via University of Pennsylvania

“By purchasing green power from renewable sources, these 17 Pennsylvania institutions are spurring the development of the nation’s green power market and reducing harmful air pollution,” EPA’s mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin, said in a statement. “Their commitment to renewable energy, especially at the University of Pennsylvania, is contributing to the growth in green jobs and a green economy.”

The EPA tracked  green power usage by participating college campuses throughout the school year. The Green Power Challenge is open to all U.S. colleges, universities and conferences. In addition to focusing on the green energy habits of universities, the EPA recently began a community challenge encouraging cities and villages to buy renewable power from sources like solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, biogas and low-impact hydropower.

The EPA’s goal with its community program had been to boost clean energy usage to 1.8 billion kilowatt hours combined annually. The participating communities far exceeded those initial expectations, using 3.3 billion kilowatt hours of clean energy per year.

Kristy Hessman is a writer and native Oregonian who currently resides in California. Before starting her own company, she worked as a reporter covering business and politics for daily newspapers and The Associated Press.