Arizona State University (ASU) has been recognized for its cutting-edge work in promoting environmental sustainability through it’s solar projects by the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), an agreement between nearly 700 colleges and universities to promote sustainability through teaching and action.
The university earned the distinction in large part because of its commitment to rely on solar power to fuel its energy needs. ASU has 57 solar photovoltaic projects with the capacity to generate more than 15 megawatts across four campuses. Combined, they enable the university to reduce carbon emissions by 16,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, which is roughly the same as the annual emissions of 1,500 homes or 3,000 passenger vehicles, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The solar projects, which comprise the largest, single university solar installation in the country, now account for approximately 30 percent of the university’s peak daytime power needs. ASU’s reliance on renewable energy reduces the university’s costs and helps it build community ties with solar business partners.
The ACUPCC acknowledged ASU’s efforts as part of its Celebrating Sustainability series, which identifies signatories that exemplify the initiative’s mission to re-stabilize Earth’s climate through education, research and community engagement. Celebrating Sustainability is formally recognizing a different institution every business day in April leading up to Earth Day on April 22.
“Arizona State University is located in one of the sunniest parts of the country, so its focus on solar power is practical and proving effective,” said Dr. Anthony D. Cortese, president of Second Nature, the lead supporting organization of the ACUPCC. “ASU is putting its vocal advocacy of sustainability on display for students and community members to see. It is extremely important for today’s students to not only learn about sustainability in the classroom, but to also see it put into practice on their campuses. We applaud ASU for being responsible to its students and its community.”
“We are generating a sizeable portion of our power needs from renewable sources because in the long term, it helps keep energy costs down,” explained Ray Jensen, associate vice president of university business services and university sustainability operations officer at ASU. “We monitor our solar projects in real time to ensure they are functioning efficiently. As an environmentally conscious university, it is important that we lead by example.”