Renewable Energy

The signing of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment by President Emeritus Daniel F. Sullivan in March of 2007 commits St. Lawrence to ‘climate neutrality.' The ACUPCC defines climate neutrality as ‘zero net greenhouse gas emissions'. Thanks to the hard work of a few students, St. Lawrence University has a good estimate of our greenhouse gas emissions. We know that around 49% of the carbon emissions come from heating, 36% from electricity and 13% from transportation.

The University's ultimate goal is to generate our own power from renewable sources. What does using a renewable source mean? Will we buy a hydro plant, form a cooperative wind farm or install solar panels? We don't know. However, there are three things we can be sure of: one, we must utilize a mixture of technologies to generate our own power; two, we must put equal resources into conservation and efficiency of energy use as we put into development of renewable power generation and three, we will never be able to be climate neutral without offsetting some of our greenhouse gas emissions.

If renewable power generation is in the future, where are we today? We are planning our switch to renewable power generation and while we do so we have begun to purchase renewable energy. Understanding the importance of using electricity generated from renewable sources the University purchases RECs (Renewable Energy Credits) for 15% of our electricy. This power generated by wind turbines is equivalent to running half of the Student Center and half of the Johnson Hall of Science with renewable sources. In signing the ACUPCC we agreed to purchase a minimum of 15% of our electricity from renewable sources and since Sepetmer 2008 we have met this goal.