5 Schools Leading the Clean Energy Revolution in 2020
- Nov 10, 2020 7:05 pm GMT
Few issues seem as urgent across all industries today as environmental sustainability. As the threat of climate change becomes more evident, people are pushing for a green revolution. Clean energy is pivotal to this matter, and schools are leading the charge.
Energy use is by far the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Given how much energy industrial processes use, many look to corporations for leadership in the clean electricity movement. While many companies are pursuing green energy, the education system seems to be at the forefront.
Here are five schools across the country setting a strong example for clean energy initiatives.
1. Northampton Community College
Northampton Community College (NCC) in Monroe, Penn., recently achieved a goal few institutions and organizations can claim. The school supplies 100% of its electricity with renewable energy through wind and solar power. On-site solar and wind generation accounts for much of the college’s energy, while a nearby wind farm supplies the rest.
NCC was the only college to earn a Green Power Leadership Award from the EPA last fall. All other recipients of the honor were large corporations like Google and Bank of America. NCC is also continuing its clean energy efforts through researching new environmental initiatives for various industries.
2. University of Minnesota, Morris
While NCC is a small community college, clean energy transformations are happening at larger state schools, too. According to Environment America, the University of Minnesota (UMN), Morris, leads the nation in on-campus renewable energy generation. UMN produces roughly 60% of its electricity through wind turbines and solar panels.
The power from those renewable sources adds up to 10 million BTUs of clean energy per full-time students. That’s more than 2 million BTUs higher than the second-place school, the University of Missouri. With additional solar and wind installations, UMN could transition to 100% clean energy before long.
3. Palmyra Area Middle School
While higher education institutions tend to have larger budgets, they’re not the only schools pursuing green energy. Palmyra Area Middle School in Palmyra, Penn., recently designed a clean energy project. Using energy resource data from NASA, the middle school developed a green heating and cooling system.
Cooling alone accounts for 11% of commercial energy consumption and 16% of residential usage. By creating an eco-friendly way to heat and cool the school, Palmyra Middle sets an example for local businesses and residents.
4. Santa Barbara Unified School District
Solar microgrids could be crucial in the transition to renewable energy, and some schools are leading the way. The Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) in California unanimously voted to pursue solar microgrids in September. The microgrids the district builds will supply clean backup energy to the schools.
Santa Barbara is a natural disaster-prone area, making power outages an all-too-frequent occurrence. The SBUSD’s new solar microgrids would give it a source of electricity when the main grids fail. On top of protecting students and providing for the community, this effort brings awareness to solar’s benefits in the region.
5. Hopkinton High School
Some schools’ clean energy efforts aren’t significant for their scale, but for how they start. Hopkinton High School in Hopkinton, N.H., recently began a renewable energy initiative thanks to its students. Two students drafted a petition for clean power transformation and received 170 signatures within a week.
After catching the attention of environmental organization Clean Parents, the school is now discussing energy transformation options. This grassroots movement shows how even high school students can make a difference.
Schools Are Setting an Example for Businesses
The education system should be a catalyst for change, and it’s looking like that’s the case. These five schools are only a small sampling of the educational institutions pursuing clean energy right now. As these efforts continue, more will join in, and schools will show businesses that green energy is possible.
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