TheUniversity of North Texas will continue using 100 percent renewable energy for electricity for two more years, thanks to a $120,000 grant from the university’s We Mean Green Fund. The fund, which is contributed to by UNT students through an environmental services student fee, is used for student-led environmental sustainability projects across campus such as energy/water conservation, waste reduction, recycling, sustainable campus dining and other student projects.
“At this time, UNT gets all of its electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar,” said Adam Briggle, assistant professor in environmental philosophy and principle investigator on the project. “Of course, we don’t generate the power ourselves. We purchase renewable energy credits through Denton Municipal Electric.”
The 107 million renewable energy credits, also known as RECs, purchased by UNT originate from wind farms in West Texas, Briggle said.
“REC purchases allow homes and businesses to choose to use renewable sources, rather than nonrenewable sources like coal,” said Caitlin Griffith, a UNT student worker involved in renewable energy. “This is important to me and shows that UNT cares about the environment and the community around us.”
UNT is part of the EPA’s Green Power Partnership, a leaderboard of institutions committed to renewable energy use. UNT ranks No. 1 of universities in Texas, No. 9 of universities nationally and No. 74 of all public or private institutions. The EPA estimates that UNT Goes GreenSense, UNT’s renewable energy program, prevents almost 80,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere annually.
The GreenSense project started as a one-year trial period and continues with student, faculty and administrative support. Other sustainability projects on campus include the Community Garden where students, faculty and staff can organically grow food, and the Bee Campus USA program, which provides habitats specifically for plant pollinators.