Energy Efficiency: How green is your college? American University scores in new rating system
E & E Publishing
By Lacey Johnson
March 20, 2012
To the untrained eye, there is nothing extraordinary about American University’s 84-acre Washington campus; but according to several rating systems, what’s happening there is making the school one of the “greenest” educational institutions in the country.
- Hundreds of students shower with solar-heated water in the university’s residence halls, and professors can gaze through their office windows at rooftop gardens, which were planted all over campus to help absorb rainwater that would otherwise flow into the fragile Anacostia River.
- The campus coffee shop — which is located inside a new, ultra-efficient building, certified Gold under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program — brews coffee using solar energy and sends the leftover grounds to be composted with organic waste from nearby dining halls.
- Each year, the university offsets 100 percent of its electricity usage by purchasing more than 50 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy credits from a wind farm in North Dakota, making it one of the top 25 green power purchasers in the nation, according to U.S. EPA.
American University is part of a growing sustainability movement on U.S. college campuses, and the schools that join in are discovering how going green can make for good publicity. Read more…