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Participation in the Green Power Partnership: An analysis of higher education institutions as partners in the program

Soma Ghosh (Economics and Business Department, Albright College, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 20 September 2011




The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyze those US colleges and universities that are participating in the Green Power Partnership (GPP). GPP is a voluntary environmental program initiated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2001 to help increase the use of green power (electricity produced from solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, biomass, and low‐impact small hydroelectric sources) among US organizations.


The paper draws on literature in voluntary environmental programs to develop an understanding as to what types of campuses might be most likely to partner with the US Government to be leaders in the use of green power. It then characterizes partner campuses based on institutional, geographical, financial, student specific and sustainability variables. The study draws attention to the GPP participants that are also signatories of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). This provides leeway into future research that would benefit from investigating the motivations for and constraints to such dual commitments.


The analysis reveals that GPP partners are primarily private, four‐year institutions located in the northeast region. These campuses show a high level of awareness for the environment and vested interest on part of the students, as evidenced by the dominance of environmental studies in the curriculum, student‐run organizations dedicated to sustainability issues, and adoption of green fees. Further, they are actively involved in the generation and use of electricity from renewable sources and more than two‐thirds have also signed the PCC.


This study is the first to explore EPA's GPP program with respect to the participation of higher education institutions (HEIs) in this program. It serves as a pioneer study, exploring a voluntary partnership between the US Government and the higher education sector and contributes to the understanding of the vital role of higher education in the development and deployment of renewable energy.



Ghosh, S. (2011), "Participation in the Green Power Partnership: An analysis of higher education institutions as partners in the program", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 306-321.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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