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Source: – Houston Chronicle 

Two colleges in Texas rank No. 1 and 2 in U.S. for renewable energy use

Two schools in Texas led the nation’s colleges and universities in using the most renewable energy sources while another took third place for electric campus vehicles.

Southwestern University in Georgetown was ranked first by the Denver-based advocacy group Environment America Research and Policy Center for its renewable energy use after students lobbied university leaders a decade ago to use wind power-fueled electricity. The university agreed and began buying renewable energy credits in 2010 from wind energy installations.

Austin College came in second for total renewable energy use, according to the report.  The college in Sherman vowed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by signing on in 2008 to the  American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Since then, the college has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by improving energy efficiency and shifting to wind-generated electricity. The changes are also saving the college $400,000 per year.

Rice University took third place for highest share of electric campus vehicles, according to the report.

College campuses are large energy users and well suited to use micro-grids and heating and cooling systems that expand the use of renewable energy. And it’s not just to save money or the environment; Going green attracts applicants.  A recent survey found that 64 percent of college applicants factor in environmental commitments including renewable energy when deciding where to attend.

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