The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) has made its way to the top of the “Green Power Partnership Top 30 College & University” list. This list recognizes the largest green power users among higher education institutions within the Green Power Partnership, an EPA program launched in 2001 to increase the use of renewable electricity in the U.S. The combined green power use of these higher education organizations amounts to nearly 2.9 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) every year. That number is equivalent to the annual electricity use of nearly 266,000 average American homes.
Throughout the 2016-17 academic year, UTK consumed 336,370,231 kWh of green power. Of that total, 245,736,000 kWh were either generated or purchased by UTK. The University’s commitment to renewable energy was born from a 2005 student-led initiative that facilitated the use of a small amount of tuition fees for the added costs of clean electricity. The fees now pay for both UTK’s annual green power purchases as well as for campus environmental initiatives, from recycling to energy conservation. The University uses these programs to communicate with both internal and external audiences about the importance of environmental stewardship. In addition, the green power commitment showcases the ways in which the University is working both to educate and serve the State of Tennessee.
If you would like to join UTK in its green power efforts, check out programs like TVA’s Green Power Switch, which lets both businesses and homeowners purchase renewably-generated electricity for as little as $4 a month, and the Green Power Providers (GPP) program, which encourages the development of small-scale (up to 50kW) solar, wind, low-impact hydro and biomass projects across the Valley. GPP participants are paid a retail rate for every kWh generated by their renewable energy systems.