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The Education Sector includes the West Chester Area School District, West Chester University, all of the private and charter schools  and early learning centers in the area as well as nonprofit institutions like the Melton Center, Senior Center and the Chester County History Center. 

 

WCU has set aggressive climate goals and has taken some bold actions to reduce their carbon footprint and transform their energy profile. WCU can be held up as a leader in the Education Sector. This section will review the challenges and opportunities for all of the education and nonprofit entities in the area.

As entities that do not pay federal taxes, other financing options need to be explored beyond tax credits. 

It is a little difficult to separate the energy use data from the broader commercial and industrial data that is publicly available from DVRPC. But through Freedom of Information requests and info available on the websites of each institution, the following energy profile becomes clear:

<< add energy profile chart here >>

 

ELECTRICITY 101

As your purchasing agent knows, the electricity supplied to our local grid is a mix of electricity generated by various fuels.


The default energy mix provided by PECO looks like this:

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Electric utility energy mix data is from the EPA Power Profiler page. As you can see, almost 93% of our electricity comes from nuclear, coal and gas methane sources! The “7% other” consists of small amounts (2% or less) of hydro, wind, solar, biomass, oil geothermal and other fossil fuels.

Showcasing The Achievements of West Chester University

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WCU has certainly set the most aggressive goals (carbon neutral by 2025) and taken the boldest actions of any education or nonprofit institution on the region. Here are some of the highlights. Read the details on the WCU Plan For Carbon Neutrality page.

Building Energy Reduction

The campus operations have reduced their energy use profile by 7.3% during the six year period from 2012 to 2018. In the same period, the gross floor space increased by 14% (more than 570,000 sq ft increase). This was achieved largely through improved climate control procedures and the expansion of the campus geothermal network which now connects to 12 buildings on campus. The geothermal HVAC system not only improves efficiency (heating/cooling with less energy) it also transitions from gas or oil burning for heat to electric grid sourced energy.

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Transportation

Vehicle energy used on campus is a complex map of 90 campus fleet vehicles, xx resident student vehicles, xx commuting student vehicles, xx faculty and staff vehicles. WCU has instituted several programs to reduce GHG emissions due to vehicles on campus, including:

  • converting of campus fleet to CNG and biodiesel fuel

  • shuttle bus service to Exton Train Station, on campus and Uptown

  • organizing rideshare & carpool parking areas

  • bicycle use pledge program and fix-it stations

  • SEPTA ticket sales on campus

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Explore this page to learn about the challenges and opportunities for small business members of our community to start on our path towards:

  • Reducing, 

  • Electrifying and

  • Transitioning to 100% renewable energy.  

  • assisting your employees to do the same as you steer your services toward this future.

The most cost-effective strategy is to REDUCE, ELECTRIFY and TRANSITION to clean renewable energy in our businesses. Reducing our energy use is the place to start and is where our biggest opportunities can be found for taking actions that pay for themselves. More than 50% of commercial energy use is already electricity so there is a great opportunity to reduce and transition to renewable energy sources right away!

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The relative size of the arrows above imply that the more we Reduce, the less we need to Electrify and Transition. Not necessarily a flowchart, we can work on all at the same time. 

Aligning your business

Teaming with your employees

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Multiple Resources

Additional Energy Reduction Ideas

Case study

 
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Electrify Your Small Business


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Three Great Options For Transitioning to Renewable Energy for Any Business

 

Partner Organizations

Tools