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Knox College is taking the first steps to reducing its carbon impact, which involves evaluating the college's greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions and making changes to reduce energy-heavy activities. The Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2014 found that the three largest sectors for emissions were from Electricity (30%), Transportation (26%), and Industry (21%). The EPA estimates that around 40% of the total energy consumed in the United States, is used to generate electricity, making electricity use an important part of Knox's energy footprint.
One way to reduce the impact of electricity generation is the use of renewable energy. This refers to electricity that was generated using fuel sources that restore themselves over short periods of time and do not diminish. This includes sun, wind, moving water, organic plant and waste material (biomass), and the earth's heat (geothermal). Producers of electricity using renewable energy can issue RECs, which allow the owner of the REC to claim the environmental and social benefits of this energy source.
Knox has shown its commitment to renewable energy and participates in the REC market. Currently Knox can attribute 100% of its electricity use to US-generated wind power.
Based on this commitment, Knox is a part of EPA's Green Power Partnership. The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to use green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use.
The renovation of Alumni Hall, completed in 2014, was awarded Gold certification from the United States Green Building Council, under its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system. Though LEED focuses on design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings, there is an emphasis on the energy category. Alumni Hall earned 26 out of a possible 35 credits in the Energy & Atmosphere section of the rating system. This means that almost half of the credits needed to attain the Gold level can be attributed to energy-efficient choices.
In 2018 LEED Gold certification was also awarded to the Dick and Joan Whitcomb Art Center. In addition to optimizing energy performance, the surrounding grounds will reduce energy demands through green stormwater management with a meadow of prairie grasses and a rain garden that uses runoff, diverting it before entering the storm drains, to nourish native flowers and shrubs.
Five simple things you can do to reduce the energy you use on a daily basis: