Kalamazoo College has purchased more than 2.5 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy since enrolling in Consumers Energy’s Green Generation program in 2009, which is one of the reasons the college was recognized this year as the program’s Green Generation Customer of the Year.
Kalamazoo College purchases 720,000 KWh of renewable energy annually from Consumers Energy, enough to supply 8 percent of the college's electrical usage.
The school demonstrates its commitment to sustainability in several other ways, as well, most recently through its newest green building additions. The school’s two newest buildings — Athletics Field House and Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, which is under construction — will be some of the greenest on campus.
“Sustainability is a strong focus at Kalamazoo College,” said Paul Manstrom, associate vice president for facilities management.
“Receiving this award lets us know that others recognize our commitment to the environment, and that gives us reason to be proud.
“We began purchasing electricity through the Green Generation program as part of a project to renovate the Hicks Student Center on campus to standards developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, earning the first LEED Silver certification in southwest Michigan in the process. We’ve found that participating in Green Generation has been a great fit for us.”
More than 100 organizations are enrolled in the Green Generation program, which was launched in 2005 following authorization by the Michigan Public Service Commission.
Kalamazoo College joins the program’s past winners — Irwin Seating, Grand Rapids Community College, University of Michigan-Flint, Dow Corning, the city of Grand Rapids and Wolverine Worldwide — in this honor.
“It’s with great enthusiasm we single out the achievements of Kalamazoo College in supporting renewable energy efforts in Michigan,” said Thomas Shirilla, Consumers Energy’s program manager for Green Generation. “Kalamazoo’s leadership in this voluntary program is commendable. It demonstrates commitment to and optimism for Michigan's future.”
Consumers Energy pointed out that Green Generation has led to the development of several renewable energy projects in the state, including the Michigan Wind 1 park, located in the Thumb region, as well as biomass facilities located near Birch Run, Lennon and Marshall.
Consumers Energy also purchases electricity for the program generated by wind turbines near Mackinaw City. All of the projects are located in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and all sources are Green-e certified as renewable.