Butte College Honored for its Sustainability Efforts Nationally
(Atlanta, GA)--From Wall Street to Main Street, organizations big and small are leading the fight against climate change and for the ninth straight year, EPA honored 17 partners across the United States, including Butte College, for outstanding contributions in helping grow the nation's voluntary green power market.
Butte College was the only educational institution recognized, winning one of only three awards given for on-site generation at the annual EPA Green Power Leadership Awards ceremony in Atlanta.
The college has set a goal of becoming “climate neutral” by 2015. To achieve this goal, Butte College is continuing to expand its on-site solar electricity generation and is currently considering proposals for the third phase of this ongoing project. Butte College’s total solar-power capacity includes 1.916 MW DC.
The Green Power Partners of the Year are Deutsche Bank AG; Intel Corporation; Kohl's Department Stores; and Mohawk Fine Papers, Inc. Three national winners were recognized for on-site generation including: Applied Materials, Butte College, and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc./California and Texas Facilities.
Together the 17 honorees have made a cumulative annual green power commitment to purchase more than 2.8 billion kilowatt hours, the equivalent environmental impact of avoiding the carbon dioxide emissions of nearly 375,000 vehicles every year.
“It is truly exciting to be the only educational institution honored this year by the EPA for our efforts to be a national leader in sustainability. We are honored to be recognized for such a prestigious award,” said Diana Van Der Ploeg, Butte College president.
Butte College installed its first 5,700 solar panels on a four-acre field in 2005. In 2009, a second phase of on-site generation was completed by installing four additional solar arrays, bringing the total number of panels to over 10,000. These additional panels generate 1.6 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually and have saved the college $300,000 annually in energy costs, reducing its utility bills by a third. Butte College currently produces 43 percent of its electricity needs through its on-site solar arrays, generating more than 2.7 million kilowatt-hours per year. Proposals for a third phase are under consideration. To promote green power and educate the student body on the benefits of on-site solar electricity, four interactive kiosks are placed on its campus. The kiosks include information on the three-phase solar installation plan, solar electricity generation, and real-time solar production. The campus is also helping to train a future “green” workforce by offering a certificate program in sustainable studies and offering green building courses and workshops on the weekends. The college’s solar arrays are incorporated into courses’ curriculum to show students solar technology at work.
EPA's Green Power Partnership works with more than 1,100 partner organizations to voluntarily purchase green power to reduce the environmental impacts of conventional electricity use. Green power is generated from renewable resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, biomass, and low-impact hydro. EPA co-sponsors the Green Power Leadership Awards in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy and the Center for Resource Solutions.
More information on the Green Power Leadership Awards: http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/awards/winners.htm.