In cooperation with Pacific Gas & Electric and Solar Technologies, Holy Names University connected the solar panel array on the roof of the Valley Center for Performing Arts (VCPA) to the power grid on Friday, October 17. HNU’s solar panels will produce approximately 162,000 kilowatt-hours for the University and will ensure that the VCPA is energy self-sufficient.
The solar array project is the latest step in the University’s long-term sustainability plans. “This is a new chapter in the University’s journey to steward our resources, respect nature, and lighten our footprint upon the earth,” HNU President William J. Hynes, PhD, said.
Since 2007, HNU has successfully increased the efficiency of its on-campus systems by installing new boilers and replacing piping insulation; reviving the on-site spring water storage and irrigation systems; installing low-flow showerheads and toilets; switching to drought-tolerant plants for landscaping; using LED lights for street and parking lot lighting and by moving towards a compact fluorescent lighting minimum standard.
HNU’s natural gas use during 2013 was down 47 percent overall and 58 percent per capita from 2007 levels; its East Bay Municipal Utility District water use was down 36 percent overall and 40 percent per capita from 2007, with an estimated further drop in usage this year; and its electricity use was up one percent overall but down 17 percent per capita from 2007.
Stuart Koop, vice president for finance and administration, has led HNU’s sustainability efforts, along with Luis Guerra ’02, MBA ’04, assistant vice president for facilities and events. “The campus community, individually and collectively, continues to embrace the values of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary to care for the environment,” Koop said.