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Evanston cited for ‘green power’ usage

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Evanston has been recognized as an official “Green Power Community” (GPC) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Residents, businesses, and the city collectively use more than 228 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green electricity annually, making up 30.3 percent of Evanston’s total electricity usage.

That far exceeds the 3 percent minimum green power use requirement set forth by the EPA to earn GPC recognition.

According to the EPA, Evanston’s green power use of more than 228 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide emissions of more than 33,000 passenger vehicles per year, or the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of more than 14,000 average American homes annually.

“Evanston has always been a leader in protecting the environment and supporting sustainable living,” said Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl. “Earning the EPA's Green Power Community designation is truly a testament to the collective efforts of our residents, businesses, and staff, and is another step forward in achieving the city’s emissions-reduction goals.”

Evanston residents and small businesses purchase 130 million kWh of green power annually through the city's Community Choice Aggregation program. In April, the Evanston City Council approved a three-year contract with Homefield Energy, providing participating residents and small business with 100 percent renewable energy.

“Citizens’ Greener Evanston is thrilled at the progress the Evanston community has shown in meeting more and more of its electricity needs with green power,” said Citizens’ Greener Evanston President Eleanor Revelle. “It’s given us a real head start towards our next climate goal of reducing Evanston’s carbon emissions 20 percent by 2016.”

Earlier this year, Evanston was awarded a 4-STAR Community Rating for national excellence in sustainability. In line with the greenhouse gas (GHG) objectives laid out by the STAR program, in May 2014 the Evanston City Council unanimously adopted the next phase of a communitywide “Evanston Livability Plan,” aiming to achieve a 20 percent reduction in GHG emissions by 2016 relative to 2005 baseline levels.

In addition to the entire Evanston community earning Green Power Community recognition, the Evanston city government also moved up to 19th on the EPA’s list of the Top 30 Local Government users of green power.

The city uses more than 23 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, making up 100 percent of its electricity use. To achieve that, Evanston purchases renewable energy certificates (RECs) and generates power from the Evanston Water Treatment Facility’s rooftop solar energy system.

EPA’s Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to use green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with electricity use. The partnership currently has more than 1,300 partner organizations voluntarily using billions of kilowatt-hours of green power annually.

Partners include a wide variety of leading organizations such as Fortune 500 companies, small and medium sized businesses, local, state and federal governments, and colleges and universities.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio stations and business-oriented magazines.

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