D.C. universities outline energy reduction goal

University President Steven Knapp signed a pledge in February to commit D.C. universities to helping the city become more energy efficient. Hatchet File Photo

GW joined eight other District universities Tuesday in pledging to reduce energy use by enough to power 720 U.S. households every year, part of a city-wide sustainability initiative.

The goal to rein in heat energy use will be tracked on a D.C.-hosted website for Mayor Vincent Gray’s “Sustainable D.C. Vision,” which will be unveiled next week.

“As a sector, we hope to continue to offer a model of sustainability innovation for citizens and organizations across the District,” Meghan Chapple-Brown, director of GW’s Office of Sustainability, said in a news release. “Universities tend to have a big impact on climate change through energy use in our buildings, and we challenge other building owners in D.C. to increase energy efficiency.”

University President Steven Knapp – who has prioritized sustainability since joining GW in 2007 – signed a pact in February with nine other D.C. university presidents to make strides in helping the city become more eco-friendly.

D.C. Department of the Environment Director Christophe Tulou announced the specific commitment with Chapple-Brown Tuesday.

GW has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2025 and become carbon neutral by 2040.

The University has seen its green push pay off, earning a nod Tuesday as one of the top 322 green colleges by the Princeton Review, the second time it has received the accolade in the guide’s three years. Students will also be able to minor in sustainability next year when GW offers more than 60 green leaf courses in social, economic or environmental sustainability.

Measured against other D.C. schools though, American and Georgetown universities and the University of the District of Columbia finished ahead of GW in the eight-week intercollegiate Reyclemania competition in results announced April 13.

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