Environmental center looks to get 1000 people on campus to purchase Renewable Energy Credits
The Environmental Center is asking CU students, staff and faculty members to be Climate Heroes by taking part in the CU Wind Challenge 1000.
The challenge asks for 1000 CU students, staff or faculty members to purchase Renewable Energy Credits (REC’s) in order to offset carbon emissions from campus.
“We are asking 1000 people to stand up and be Climate Heroes and purchase wind power. The amount they purchase is equal to the amount of conventional power that is used when (that individual) is on campus,” E-Center Energy program manager Rob Hall said.
The amount of energy consumed by a person on campus is determined by the estimated time they spend on campus per day. At a cost of $.0027 per kWh, REC’s seem pretty affordable.
For example, a full-time student living on campus who spends about 24 hours a day on campus would pay $29.30 for a full year, and a staff member who works 40 hours a week would be asked to pay $10.60 for a full year.
“I bought energy credits because I’m pretty into the environment, and I realized that using coal is not a good way to power (the campus),” said Cha-Cha Spinrad, a sophomore mechanical engineering major.
So far this year, 25 campus community members have purchased wind power to offset their energy consumption on campus. That number also includes the entire Baker Hall Residential Academic Program (B-RAP) staff of seven.
“Because the permanent faculty here is all in sciences, we teach about global warming and we are very aware of the issue. We didn’t have to ask the staff twice to pay (for REC’s),” said Dr. Lisa Barlow, a senior instructor with B-RAP and a professor of environmental studies and geology. “We’re really trying to model for our own students the kinds of behaviors we want to promote.”
CU purchases about 10 percent of wind energy, and the other 90 percent is used from conventional power. The conventional power on campus comes from coal and the power plant on campus, which burns natural gas. Both are fossil fuels that release carbon dioxide into the air, which is the primary cause of climate change.
According to Hall, people who purchase REC’s are neutralizing their personal contribution to climate change.
“I think it’s important to show the world that coal isn’t okay to use for energy and that we, the young people, need to support using renewable energy,” Spinrad said.
According to a press release from Hall, there was a similar program last spring in the residential halls called the Wind Energy Challenge. Seventy-one CU residence-hall students participated. Enough money was raised to purchase 145-megawatt hours of wind-generated energy, which saved more than 250,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
“We want to make the connection in people’s minds between the energy they are consuming and where that energy comes from and how there are technologies out there that we can buy wind power and prevent climate change,” Hall said.