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APUS Receives Environmental Excellence Award for Clean Energy from West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection

Also Recognized with Phoenix Award for Excellence in Brownfield Redevelopment, and Named Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards Finalist

Charles Town, WV, June 6, 2013American Public University System (APUS) has received several public and private sector awards from local and national organizations in recognition of its ongoing sustainability and social responsibility initiatives.

APUS received the Environmental Excellence Award for Clean Energy from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection for its three-year-old Academic Center and also for its Finance Center and solar array, completed in Fall 2012. The organization’s annual Environmental Awards recognize the accomplishments of state industries, municipalities, educators and community leaders who strive to protect the environment, work to be good corporate neighbors and educate people about treating the environment with respect.

The APUS Academic Center, a 45,000 square foot brick facility built on the site of a former metal salvage yard in Charles Town, WV, recently received LEED Gold certification. The Veiner Metal Salvage Yard was in operation for over a hundred years and, following its closure in the 1960s, remained vacant until redevelopment in 2010. The architecture of the Academic Center and other APUS buildings blends old and new design elements to preserve and complement the character and history of Charles Town.

APUS is currently awaiting LEED certification for its 105,000 square foot Finance Center, a building that straddles the boundaries of Ranson , WV, and Charles Town and features  the state’s largest solar array covering  its parking lot. The array utilizes 1,660 solar panels to generate approximately 50 percent of the center’s energy requirements - enough electricity to supply 30 homes with electricity for a full year. In just the fourth quarter of 2012, it produced 515,000 kWh of energy, and features 14 electric car charging stations for use by employees, visitors and local residents with electric or hybrid vehicles.

In related news, APUS also recently received a Phoenix Award in recognition of the new facilities’ central role in the Commerce Corridor brownfields revitalization project in Ranson and Charles Town. The award demonstrates the University’s ongoing commitment to new urbanism, sustainable community, and EPA Smart Growth principles, according to Dr. Wallace E. Boston, APUS president and CEO.

“Our new facilities have resulted in the creation of nearly 800 new, high-skill education, technology and construction jobs in our local communities,” said Boston.  “These projects have supported local merchants and small businesses, while transforming the brownfield area and Commerce Corridor by also incorporating green storm water infrastructure and green building approaches to urban revitalization.”

APUS has invested approximately $47 million to date in the construction and rehabilitation of buildings within the Commerce Corridor and the cities’ downtown areas. Approximately 560 APUS employees work locally in the two facilities or in the 14 renovated downtown Charles Town buildings in the revitalization area.  The University’s community commitment is further reflected in its recent purchase of two additional brownfield properties for planned construction of a new administrative facility, an indoor parking area and additional office space.

APUS was recently recognized as one of 20 colleges and universities nationwide exemplifying the mission of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). APUS is the only fully-online signatory and a charter member of the ACUPCC.  In addition, it was named a category finalist in popular voting for online graduate institutions in the “Celebrating Sustainability” program as part of the 2013 Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards. Second Nature is a national nonprofit that works to create a healthy, just and sustainable society by transforming higher education.

As part of its commitment as an ACUPCC signatory, APUS recently completed and submitted its bi-annual Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory, the results of which speak to the sustainability benefits of online education. For example:

  • APUS supports 22,050 people per 100,000 square feet of space when its 100,000+ remote students are included in the calculation.  This efficient use of physical space represents outstanding density and minimal GHGs per student and would be impossible without its scalable online platform. 
  • Even just counting on-site employees, with students excluded, APUS still has an outstanding density ratio, supporting approximately 447 people per 100,000 square feet of space, aligning it with average small liberal arts colleges. 
  • APUS emits well below one ton of GHGs per student, while many other universities register between 6 ½ and 7 tons of carbon dioxide emitted per student.

“APUS is dedicated to sharing best practices and leading by example in developing and implementing greener policies,” added Boston. “We’re proud to be honored for our ongoing progressive, and proactive, efforts to reduce our already low environmental impact.”