SF State Recognized As Green Campus
Evironmental Protection Agency commends University for environmental practices
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The largest and most diverse university system in the country may now pride itself on another feat: being commended as one of the greenest.

The California State University campuses are being recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency for their voluntary purchase of more than 75 million kilowatt-hours (kwh) of green power, preventing the emission of millions of pounds of toxins into the atmosphere each year.

Last month the EPA ranked the CSU system second among its Top 10 College and University Green Power Partners, and ranked it 19th among its overall top 25 partners.

“CSU is recognized as a very green university system,” said media relations specialist Paul Browning from the CSU Office of the Chancellor. “CSU is known as an innovator in education when it comes to adopting new technologies to save energy and money, protect the environment, and to use as teaching projects in a variety of curriculums.”

"Green power" is defined as electricity that is partially or entirely generated from environmentally friendly resources, such as solar and wind. These renewable energy sources are cleaner than conventional sources of electricity that produce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions – a greenhouse gas linked to global climate change.

Browning said the CSU system and the chancellor are fully committed to ensure the adopting of green programs and projects is a system-wide effort.

SF State is the only CSU campus generating part of its own energy, saving the university thousands of dollars. The co-generating plant saves SF State roughly $52,000 per day in energy costs, according to Daniel Hernandez, one of the plant’s engineers.

“With neighbors so close, we can’t have fumes bothering them,” said Rodrigo Castolo, the co-generating plant’s service engineer. “Here in California, and the United States, the EPA is very strict on emission levels, so we keep them low. Our boiler that heats the university’s water actually uses recycled heat, saving us lots of money.”

The CSU system purchases a 13 percent green energy power mix of wind, solar, biogas and geothermal, according to Len Pettis, the chief of Plant, Energy and Utilities for the CSU system. SF State is above the average of green purchasers.

“SF State purchases about 83 percent of their electricity and generates 17 percent, and uses the waste heat to heat the buildings more efficiently,” said Aaron Klemm, the energy program manager of the CSU system. “Of the 83 percent that is purchased, 17 percent of that is green renewable electricity.”

Lighting retrofit projects on the campus have already saved more than 2 million kwh of electricity with another in the works expected to save 678,000 kwh. The campus is also planning several more projects with lighting, heating and controls in the near future pending funding availability, according to Klemm.

California has 23 CSU campuses, which is the largest, most diverse and one of the most affordable university systems in the country, according to its Web site. The system is also quickly implementing one of the most environmentally progressive agendas in the nation.

According to the EPA, CSU San Bernardino, Long Beach and Fresno State will install solar power systems in 2007, while other energy saving projects are being planned for all CSU campuses for the next 10 years.

Using national average utility emissions rates, the EPA estimates that CSU’s green energy purchases are equivalent to avoiding the escape of more than 105 million pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere, which is the same as avoiding the emissions of more than 10,000 passenger cars annually.

CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed sent a memorandum last August to all CSU presidents to announce the university system’s new goal to reduce energy consumption by 15 percent by the end of 2010. SF State President Robert Corrigan made no comment on how SF State plans to support meeting these goals.

However, Carlos Davidson, director of the environmental studies department, said the campus should be doing more to promote the sustainability of future generations through green energy, design and execution.

He said SF State should focus on more efficient uses of electricity, especially dealing with the power computers consume, and concern itself with proficient paper-recycling methods.

“While the CSU system is doing a lot of stuff, there has not been a lot on this front here on this campus,” Davidson said.

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