University of Washington Purchases 100% Renewable Energy, Certifies LEED Building

February 10, 2006

Beginning January 2006 the University of Washington purchases 100% of its electricity needs from renewable energy. The purchase makes the university the largest purchaser of green power in Seattle, according to the municipal utility, Seattle City Light. The university will buy about 18.4 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually through Seattle City Light's Green Up program at an extra cost of $276,000. The utility already provides 93% of the school's power from a combination of hydropower and wind resources. The new green power purchase represents 7% of the university's 280 million kWh annual electricity need, thus bringing its total electricity consumption from renewable energy up to 100%.

As part of its partnership with the university through Green Up, Seattle City Light will coordinate help build renewable energy projects on campus that will be installed and run by students, faculty, and staff. The utility will assist the university with analysis of greenhouse gas emissions and a carbon footprint inventory. The utility and the university will also work together to create student internships and research opportunities on green power issues.

Meanwhile, the university obtained its first LEED certification in September for Merrill Hall, Center for Urban Horticulture and the UW Botanic Gardens on the Seattle campus. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) green building certification system. Merrill Hall received the LEED-silver certification, which is the second highest ranking for green buildings awarded by USGBC.

For details about the green power purchase and the LEED-Silver certification of Merrill Hall, see an article in the February 9 edition of the University of Washington faculty and staff newsletter UW-Week.

Source: DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Green Power Network.