Butte College has been ranked 25th in the nation on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Top 30 On-site Generation of the largest green power users. Butte College is using more than 7 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which is enough green power to meet 90 percent of the organization's electricity use. Butte College is generating green power from an on-site solar energy system. This demonstrates a proactive choice to switch away from traditional sources of electricity generation and support cleaner renewable energy alternatives.
"Butte College is proud to be recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for our sustainability and commitment to solar," said Dr. Kimberly Perry, Butte College President. "Our college remains committed to being a national leader in sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint."
Green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass, and low-impact hydro. Using green power helps accelerate the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.
According to the U.S. EPA, Butte College's green power use of more than 7 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of more than 1,000 passenger vehicles per year, or the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of nearly 700 average American homes annually.
"Modeling Sustainability is one of the college's top five initiatives in our strategic plan. Our focus on sustainability is reflected in curriculum, facilities and operations, along with student activities. We've established a broad-based sustainability steering committee comprised of students, faculty, administrators, and staff to oversee the program and to ensure our efforts our coordinated," said Perry.
"We infuse sustainability themes into general education and career and technical programs and offer a Sustainability Studies certificate program. Our students are committed to sustainability and created a Student Alliance for Sustainability, which serves as an umbrella organization to coordinate the sustainability activities by our clubs," said Perry.
About Butte College
Butte College, located in Oroville, CA, is a nationally accredited community college offering associate's degrees and certificate programs to 13,000 each semester. In 2011, Butte College became the first college in the history of the United States to become 'grid positive,' and, at that time, could generate enough electricity from its solar arrays to offset its electricity cost at the main campus and its Chico Center, with 25,000 solar panels in operation.
The College has a long history of sustainability, resting on a 928 acre designated wildlife refuge. Due to its rural location, it operates as a self-contained city. It has its own water system, maintains its own sewage treatment facility, recycles most of its waste, and operates the largest community college bus transportation system in California.
A few examples of how Butte College has integrated sustainability into its ongoing operations include:
The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to use green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with electricity use. The Partnership currently has more than 1,300 Partner organizations voluntarily using billions of kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Partners include a wide variety of leading organizations such as Fortune 500® companies; small and medium sized businesses; local, state, and federal governments; and colleges and universities. For additional information, please visit EPA Green Power.