Notre Dame clean energy projects earn Partners for Clean Air Award

Author: Erin Blasko

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The University of Notre Dame has been recognized with a Partners for Clean Air Award from the Michiana Area Council of Governments (MACOG) for its commitment to clean energy, including recent long-term investments in solar and hydroelectric power and geothermal heating and cooling.

The award is for significant investment in clean energy projects, including the new hydro facility in downtown South Bend, the new geothermal plant on the north side of campus and an agreement with Indiana Michigan Power to purchase clean energy credits from the utility’s new solar farm in Granger.

Also in recent years, the University has switched from coal to cleaner-burning natural gas as a primary source of energy, partnered with Grind2Energy and Homestead Dairy to convert food waste to energy, installed the largest green roof in the state atop the Joyce Center and invested in several small-scale solar projects on and around campus.

Combined, these and other projects either conserve energy or generate clean, renewable energy in support of a broader goal: a cleaner, more sustainable campus.

Partners for Clean Air is a coalition of businesses, industries, local governments and community groups committed to improving overall public health and air quality through voluntary actions, particularly during Air Quality Action Season, May 1 to Sept. 30.

In addition to Notre Dame, other Partners for Clean Air Award winners this year are the city of Goshen, John Glenn School Corp. and Recycling Works Inc. of Waste-Away Group.

“This year’s award winners have implemented significant clean energy and clean transportation projects that will have an impact for years to come,” said James Turnwald, executive director of MACOG, a metropolitan planning organization for Elkhart, Kosciusko, Marshall and St. Joseph counties. “These awardees serve as exemplary examples for how organizations can take voluntary steps to transform how our region powers our economy and how we move.”

“Recognizing the link between air quality and public health, Notre Dame has invested significant resources in clean air projects over the past few years, both in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint and out of genuine concern for the health and beauty of the natural environment,” said Carol Mullaney, senior director of sustainability at Notre Dame. “We are grateful to MACOG for recognizing these efforts, and look forward to working with it and other organizations to promote and improve local air quality even further moving forward.”

Notre Dame’s commitment to sustainability is grounded in its Catholic mission and values. It acknowledges the link between sustainability and the University’s future and equates stewardship of the planet with care for God’s creation. It also recognizes the need to conserve the environment in a way that promotes economic and social justice and emphasizes the link between sustainability and the common good.

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