UNT Mean Green Fund enables campus to have 100 percent renewable energy

Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 14:26
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DENTON (UNT), Texas — The University of North Texas has purchased 107 megawatt hours of renewable energy credits for both the main part of the campus in Denton and the Discovery Park campus through the We Mean Green Fund.   

The credits, available through Denton Municipal Electric's GreenSense Renewable Energy Program, will be used to deliver enough wind and solar energy through the grid to cover UNT's entire electricity usage for more than 174 buildings, located at both the 600-acre main campus and the 300-acre Discovery Park campus at 3940 N. Elm St. The usage has an electricity account equivalent to roughly 7,919 residential homes.

With the renewable energy credits, UNT will offset carbon emissions equivalent to an average car driving 179 million miles, said Gary Cocke, UNT sustainability coordinator and We Mean Green Fund advisor.

Cocke said the idea to purchase renewable energy credits through GreenSense was a project led by Adam Briggle, associate professor in UNT's Department of Philosophy and Religion, who involved students. The idea became reality after Briggle and the students submitted a proposal to the We Mean Green Fund, which was created in 2010 to provide funds to projects that improve UNT's environmental sustainability while incorporating student involvement.

"UNT is known for its environmental leadership, and this project demonstrates how students are leading the way at UNT," Cocke said. "I have had many students express interest in renewable energy."  

The We Mean Green Fund began after UNT students approved adding a $5 Environmental Services Fee to the list of student fees. Any student, faculty or staff member may propose a project to the fund that has a goal of making UNT more environmentally friendly. A committee comprised primarily of students evaluates the proposals and decides which projects should be funded.

Notable projects have included the Big Belly solar trash and recycling bins; sustainable T-shirts for campus events; Bring-Your-Own-Bottle reusable bottle giveaways; and the "I Bike UNT" safety and theft prevention program.

Besides purchasing the renewable energy credits, the grant will pay for a student worker, mechanical and energy engineering major Adam Miller, to lead an educational campaign at UNT focusing on increasing renewable energy use. An educational website is part of the campaign, and project team members will also visit classrooms and student organizations. 

Briggle called the credits "a giant leap forward for UNT in terms of our commitment to sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint."

Brian Daskam, manager of external affairs for Denton Municipal Electric, said the company is excited about partnering with UNT on the initiative.

"In addition to representing a significant increase in the adoption of the GreenSense program, it will also be a great tool for renewable energy education," he said.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108