Environment Florida and the Student PIRGs Unveil Plan to Guide Florida Campuses Toward 100% Renewable Energy

Media Contacts
Jennifer Rubiello

Environment Florida Research & Policy Center

ST. PETERSBURG,  Fla. –  Today, Environment Florida Research and Policy Center, touting the leadership role that colleges and universities must play in the clean energy revolution, unveiled a 10 point plan to guide campuses toward 100 percent renewable energy. Renewable Energy 101: Ten Tools for Moving your Campus to 100% Clean Energy, includes a series of factsheets highlighting 10 key tools to help colleges in Florida with building a 100 percent clean, renewable energy system.

“Colleges and universities across the country are situated to lead the charge in the transition to a 100 percent clean energy future,” said Jennifer Rubiello, state director with Environment Florida. “Colleges have the ability and the know-how to lead by taking bold steps to shift to clean energy and eliminate pollution from energy use. We hope that the ten point plan laid out in these fact sheets can help.”

According to a recent report by Environment America, colleges and universities serve more than 20 million students and spend more than $15 billion per year on energy – so bold commitments to clean energy can drive big investments in solutions. At the same time, as influential institutions, actions taken by higher education institutions can set an example in hundreds of communities across America; while training the scientists, engineers, policymakers and civic leaders we need to move the nation toward sustainability.

“My generation is going to inherit the world with or without climate change, so I’m excited to see colleges and universities taking the lead in shifting to 100 percent renewable energy,” said Paxton Shamlou, business administration major at the University of Florida. “As one of Florida’s flagship universities, I hope that the University of Florida uses these excellent examples to do the same.”

Florida campuses like the University of Central Florida and the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg are already taking steps to move to clean energy by installing rooftop solar on campus buildings.

“Colleges and universities have long played a leading role in sparking technological shifts that transformed American life and helped create our modern world,” said Dr. Jeff Chanton, Lawton Research Professor and the John Widmer Winchester Professor of Oceanography at Florida State University. “With climate change already disrupting Florida and the rest of the world, it’s about time we take the lead in shifting to 100% clean energy, and work together as a higher education community to take the examples from this guide and implement them right here at FSU and on campuses throughout Florida.”

Environment Florida, in collaboration with its national network, Environment America, and the Student Public Interest Research Groups, have campaigns for 100 percent renewable energy on dozens campuses across the country.

“America’s  institutions of higher education can be at the forefront of the nation’s rapid shift to clean, renewable energy,” said Dan Xie, political director with the Student PIRGS. “That’s why we’re excited to be working with the campus community to build support for a big shift to clean energy on college campuses.”

Clean energy and energy efficient technologies are growing fast and getting cheaper, making them more accessible. In the past 10 years, the United States has seen a 43-fold increase in solar power and a seven-fold increase in wind power, while the average American now uses 10 percent less energy.

“By setting ambitious clean energy goals, colleges and universities can bolster learning and research, drive innovation, attract new students, and save money – all while setting an example for the nation and reducing their own environmental impact,” said Brian Pullen, sustainability planner for USF St. Petersburg.

“Working to achieve 100 percent renewable energy on colleges and universities allows us to train young activists, future leaders and researchers to continue advocacy on clean energy off campus and in their communities,” said Rubiello.