Nov. 8, 2006


DALLAS (SMU) – SMU is getting greener — in more ways than one. After a student-led initiative with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, SMU is now one of a handful of schools in the Southwest pledging to use renewable energy for a portion of its power.

The result is a more environmentally friendly campus with reduced energy costs.

“The environmental impact is comparable to removing at least 253 cars from the road or planting 391 acres of trees each year,” said Joseph Grinnell, an SMU environmental science graduate. “According to the EPA, the initiative will reduce nearly 3 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.”

Grinnell was chair of the Student Senate’s Environment Committee when he wrote a resolution calling for an EPA Green Power Partnership. He worked with other students ­­to collect more than 1,100 signatures and demonstrate broad support for the proposal, which the Student Senate approved last November.

SMU entered the partnership in 2006 and became the 90th university nationwide and the only university in Conference USA to make such a commitment.

The EPA defines “green power” as electricity generated from “environmentally preferable” renewable energy sources –– including solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, biogas and low-impact hydroelectricity. In addition, the sale of green power supports development of new renewable energy sources.

The University’s environmental initiatives strengthened with the opening of the J. Lindsay Embrey Engineering Building in September. The first university building in Texas built to gold-level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, it will save the University an estimated 30 percent annually in energy, water and maintenance costs in comparison with a non-LEED building.

“It is critical for our environment that we make progress in advancing the technology which underpins sustainable design and construction,” said Geoffrey Orsak, dean of the SMU School of Engineering. “As a facility that pushes the boundaries of green design forward, we hope that the new Embrey Engineering Building will serve as an important model for other green projects in our region.”

To learn more about the EPA Green Power Partnership, visit

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Levente Smith
Tele. 214-768-7650