After two years of powering its campus with renewable electricity, Lynchburg College has sold renewable energy credits for nearly $340,000, which will be used for future investments in sustainability projects at LC.
The College has earned renewable energy credits by purchasing electricity produced from landfill gas since 2014. Last week, the broker Evolution Markets finalized a sale of these credits to DTE Energy Trading Inc. for $338,995.15.
“We are proud that Lynchburg College has been at the forefront of adopting environmentally sustainable practices, including the use of renewable energy,” said Dr. Kenneth R. Garren, president of Lynchburg College. “Our sale of energy credits demonstrates that our proactive approach to sustainability represents sound environmental and fiscal practices.”
“Lynchburg College has approached sustainability from an economic perspective through which improvements have a positive financial return to the institution,” said Steve Bright, vice president for business and finance. “It is great when economic and environmental benefits can be linked together for the good of the College and when we have exciting opportunities to look forward to in our future.”
In 2014, Lynchburg College partnered with Collegiate Clean Energy, an affiliate of Ingenco, to use electricity generated by burning methane emitted from landfills. Four other colleges also entered that agreement coordinated by the Council for Independent Colleges in Virginia. Boyce Hamlet, the College’s director of Physical Plant, identified Evolution Markets as a broker who could execute the sale of the renewable energy credits that Lynchburg College earned from the arrangement.
The College will immediately use some of the funds to pay for the ongoing installation of Energy Star windows in Tate Hall, a residence hall for first-year students. The rest of the money will go into the College’s revolving fund for sustainability projects.
Because LC’s contract with Collegiate Clean Energy will continue for a total of 12 years, more renewable energy credit sales will likely take place in the future, Bright said. Also, the College is collaborating with CICV to investigate solar power possibilities, with the help of an $807,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative.
Renewable power is only one of the latest environmental sustainability goals Lynchburg College has pursued over the past decade. In recent years, the College has invested in projects that reduced the campus electricity use by 32 percent and water use by 45 percent. The College also has cut stormwater runoff through the creation of a rain garden, permeable parking areas, and retention tanks.