OU has a long history of environmentally conscious efforts. In 2007, the college presdient signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. But the University of Oklahoma's dedication to sustainability started long before that, with the first recycling movement on campus in 1991.
The sustainability program has grown by leaps and bounds since then. While campus has been growing over the past few years, the utility usage has remained stable, according to Director of Facilities Management, Brian Ellis. OU is ranked 3rd in the nation through the Green Power Partnership by the Environmental Protection Agency, using 97.2 million kilowatt hours per year of green power.
OU is the 4th largest university in the country with wind power. By 2013, OU will be completely wind powered. We made this commitment in 2008, partnering with OG&E and enabling us to build the OU Spirit Wind Farm in northwestern Oklahoma.
OU Facilities Management is working to get real-time energy data out of all the buildings on campus. With the new smart metering initiative, energy usage in every building on campus could be monitored from a central location. Students could potentially know exactly what the energy demands are in their residence halls, and see precisely where they could be more energy-conscious.
Got something to recycle? Facilities is going to make it as easy as possible for you. They take aluminum cans, plastic, paper, and batteries. They'll also take cardboard, toner cartridges and phonebooks upon special request.
Did you know that OU has a vegetative roof system on the 6th floor of the National Weather Center? The system will give researchers insight into energy efficiency and water quality.
Crimson and Green Commitment
OU's latest sustainability effort is the Crimson and Green Commitment, which invites members of the OU community to pledge to use sustainable practices at school, work, and in their everyday lives. For each person that completes the commitment, OU Facilities Management will donate $2 towards additional campus recycling bins, up to $10,000.
Associate Vice President Byron Burr Millsap believes that OU's sustainability program "has increased the general awareness of us, as a campus community, to be more sustainable in the various phases of our lives." According to Millsap, "Recycling, re-use, and less use are key principles that I believe we all think about more frequently and more meaningfully."