Campus & Community

University wins award for green activities

3 min read

Harvard University received a 2005 Green Power Leadership Award Monday (Oct. 24) from the federal government and the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions for its commitment to using renewable energy.

The University has become a leader in the use of renewable energy in higher education, with several Schools and departments purchasing renewable energy. Renewable sources provide 7 percent of Harvard’s electricity usage, or 22,000 megawatt hours annually.

“We applaud Harvard for its environmental leadership,” said Kurt Johnson, director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Green Power Partnership. “The University is providing an outstanding example for others to follow.”

The award, given during the National Green Power Marketing Conference in Austin, Texas, is sponsored by the EPA, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Center for Resource Solutions.

Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers hailed the award as recognition of the hard work that has gone on across Harvard’s campuses in recent years to reduce the University’s impact on the environment.

“We are delighted to receive the Green Power Award,” Summers said. “It reflects a commitment we made as a university to encourage sustainable growth and to be responsible stewards of the environment. My thanks go out to all those at Harvard who have helped make our efforts a success.”

Summers announced six Sustainability Principles in October 2004 designed to make Harvard’s current and future practices more environmentally friendly, encourage intellectual inquiry into sustainability and energy use questions, and ensure ongoing self-evaluation in these areas.

As part of the implementation of those principles, Summers announced in March a new $100,000 renewable energy fund to expand the University’s use of renewable energy and the creation of a Renewable Energy Advisory Group to guide those efforts.

Green energy programs across the University have been led by the Harvard Green Campus Initiative, which has encouraged the purchase of renewable energy certificates through the savings gained by energy conservation measures by thousands of staff and students.

“It’s a real testimony to the importance of the issue of global climate change that so many of Harvard’s Schools and departments have independently stepped forward to reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions by both conserving energy and purchasing renewable energy certificates,” said Green Campus Director Leith Sharp. “We hope to continue this momentum, ensuring that Harvard remains a world leader in addressing campus sustainability for many more years to come.”

Students at Harvard are strong advocates for renewable energy, stepping up to do whatever they can to raise more funds to purchase renewable energy, Sharp said. Harvard Business School students received funding to install a 37-kilowatt photovoltaic array at the School. Other Schools and departments purchasing green power include the Harvard School of Public Health, the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Medical School, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard Real Estate Services, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Harvard was among 29 organizations that received awards Monday for green power purchasing. Green power is generated through renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, low-impact hydropower, and biomass. Awards were divided into categories for green power purchasers, suppliers, and market development.

Other Green Power Purchaser Awards went to Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Western Washington University, The World Bank Group, Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain Region, Starbucks Coffee, Safeway Inc., Mohawk Fine Papers, Hyatt Regency Dallas & Hyatt Regency DFW, Dagoba Organic Chocolate, and Atlantic Golf and The Brick Companies.