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Georgetown Wins Northeast Green Power Challenge

GUTS bus

Ridership on the Georgetown University Transportation Shuttle (GUTS) buses numbers more than 2 million a year – the equivalent of about 7,750 vehicle trips a day, officials say.

April 18, 2011 – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized the university as this year’s largest collegiate purchaser of green power in the Big East Conference.

Georgetown purchased nearly 37 million kilowatt hours of green power – electricity generated from renewable resources such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass and low-impact hydro.

“We made a commitment to reduce our carbon footprint by 50 percent by 2020,” said Karen Frank, vice president of university facilities and student housing. “And right now we’re at about 25 percent.”

Clean Energy

The EPA’s Green Power Partnership began tracking Georgetown and 68 other American universities in 2006 for the challenge, which recognizes schools with the highest green power purchases and ranks them according to their athletic conferences.

“We’re glad to see the competition heating up as more and more colleges and universities join the Green Power Challenge,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in a statement. “This year’s schools used more than 1.5 billion kilowatt hours of green power, cutting harmful emissions from our air, protecting health and driving demand in the clean energy market.”

Purchasing green power helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Minus 5,000 Cars

“We have a good partnership with our current utility provider, Hess Corporation,” Frank said. “They have helped us in our quest for sustainability in using natural gas and electricity on campus and as we attempt to build LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] certified structures on campus.”

Georgetown’s green power use is equivalent to the CO2 emissions of nearly 5,000 passenger vehicles per year, according to the EPA.

Frank also notes the installation of occupancy sensors in classrooms, conference rooms and other areas, remote-controlled thermostats, and the use of biofuel for the Georgetown University Transportation Shuttle (GUTS) buses as other emissions-reduction measures.

Working Together

“GUTS ridership is at more than 2 million rides a year,” she said. “And with the use of biofuel, our consultants estimate that GUTS buses contribute to the removal of potentially 7,750 vehicle trips a day.”

Frank said members of the campus community must work together to reduce Georgetown’s carbon footprint.

“Whether it’s making the decision to take the stairs instead of the elevator, turning off the whole power strip that equipment is plugged into or diligence about turning lights off when rooms are not in use,” she said, “there has to be a continued commitment by all to maintain a green campus.”  

To view the Green Power rankings, visit the EPA website.

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