UW-Oshkosh earns national honors for being 'green'

Posted on Apr 26, 2010 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive.
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Posted by of Insight Publications

For students and staff at the University of
Wisconsin-Oshkosh, it’s not that hard to be green.

Just last week as the country celebrated Earth Day,
UW-Oshkosh was recognized as one of the country’s most green universities by
both the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) and The Princeton Review.

The EPA looked at colleges across the country and honored the top 26
purchases or green power. In 2009-10, UW-Oshkosh used more than 6 million
kilowatt hours of green power.

The Princeton Review’s Guide to 286 Green Colleges, published in
partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, featured UW-Oshkosh as a
college with an
above-average
commitment to sustainability in terms of campus infrastructure, activities and
initiatives.

 “The University has been a leader in campus
sustainability for more than a decade, serving as a pioneer in working toward
carbon neutrality, supporting Fair Trade labor practices, reducing energy consumption
and building facilities that reflect UW Oshkosh’s commitment to sustainability,”
says Mike Lizotte, the college’s director of sustainability.

UW-Oshkosh
was the first university in Wisconsin to join the EPA’s Green Partnership in
2003 by agreeing to purchase
at least 3 percent of its energy from
alternative sources. In 2008, UW-Oshkosh declared itself a Fair Trade
University, the first in the United States, by committing to the purchase and
use of fair trade products whenever feasible. Following a comprehensive and
sophisticated carbon-footprint study conducted
by Johnson Controls, the University recently established one of the nation’s
most aggressive Climate Action Plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.

Additionally, construction is underway on two new buildings that will
be built to at least Gold LEED standards, utilizing such features as a
geothermal heat field, green roofs and solar energy.

Earlier this year, the college received approval to build the nation’s
first dry fermentation anaerobic biodigester, which will convert yard and food
waste into fuel. (For more on this unique project, read the story from the
April edition of Insight.)

With all of these successes, UW-Oshkosh is showing that large public
institutions can reduce their carbon footprint and create a greener world for
us all. It's amazing to watch!

By MaryBeth Matzek