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Auraria Higher Education Center 100% Wind Offset, Tops State List for College Campus Renewable Energy Purchasers; 7th in Nation

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Student leads effort of sustainability

DENVER, CO (September 2, 2009) - A student-backed sustainability initiative has made the Auraria Higher Education Center the top Colorado college campus purchasing renewable energy as ranked by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership.  Renewable Choice Energy is providing the Auraria Campus with approximately 40 million kilowatt hours per year of nationally sourced wind energy renewable energy credits over the next three years. Auraria is ranked seventh nationally for colleges and universities.Auraria Campus REC Purchase News Image

Since fall 2004, students have paid an additional $1 to $4 fee per semester to fund these sustainability programs.  The Auraria Campus had been 45 percent wind powered since July of 2006 until last month’s increase. This new purchase represents 100 percent of annual electricity use on the campus. However, wind energy credits are only part of Auraria’s sustainability story.

Over 90 percent of Auraria Campus students voted in April 2007 to renew and expand the new sustainable campus program that funds: 1) the new three-year purchase of renewable energy, 2) a robust single-stream recycling program launched in January of this year has reduced campus landfill waste by 25%, 3) water efficiency projects including one approved this week that will save over 1 million gallons of water per year, and 4) building energy efficacy projects that will begin this school year, as well as related educational programs on campus.

“We voted overwhelmingly in favor of making our campus more sustainable, and our student fees have gone a long way toward advancing the cause,” said Andy Pattison, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Public Affairs and the chair of the Student Advisor Committee to the Auraria Board’s Sustainable Campus Program Committee. “Our student funds have been leveraged with those of campus Facilities Management and have become a national example of how campus-level sustainable development can be good for people, planet, and pocketbooks.”

"With this commitment, Auraria Campus students have clearly demonstrated their steadfast support of sustainability and the mission of Greenprint Denver," said Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. "We applaud the University of Colorado Denver, the Community College of Denver, and the Metropolitan State College of Denver for pursuing renewable energy opportunities to help our community save energy, improve air quality and protect the environment. These students are setting a positive example for others in our community to follow."

Auraria's total three-year purchase of 122 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy credits represents enough electricity to power over 8,200 average U.S. homes for a year and has significant environmental benefits. Generating the same amount of electricity using conventional energy sources such as burning coal would result in more than 136 million pounds of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere.  Avoiding the release of this greenhouse gas is about as beneficial as taking 11,300 cars of the road for a year or saving thousands of acres of trees.

Auraria purchased Renewable Energy Certificates, which are sold separately from the electrical output of renewable energy projects and are available to residential and non-residential customers nationwide through Renewable Choice Energy.  “The students and administrators on the Auraria Campus are leading by example to help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and educate their campus on the importance of moving our nation toward a more sustainable energy future,” said Quayle Hodek, CEO of Renewable Choice Energy. “We are proud to be a partner in their long-term strategy and commitment to supporting renewable energy development in this country.”


Contact: Jacque Montgomery, 303.724.1528,