The University of Phoenix is the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy credits (RECs) in Arizona history through a Salt River Project program aimed at helping businesses reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

The university is SRP’s first large customer in the newly created SRP EarthWise Energy REC program, which provides a way for companies to offset their energy usage with renewable energy generated within the Western grid.

RECs are tradable environmental commodities that represent proof that 1 megawatt-hour of electricity is generated from an eligible renewable energy resource.

The purchase will offset 46.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity with clean, renewable energy to power 100 percent of the university’s Phoenix facilities — which also equates to 27 percent of its more than 200 campus locations nationwide.

The University of Phoenix’s green power purchase is equivalent to powering an average of 3,800 homes in the United States, or avoiding the carbon dioxide emissions of more than 5,280 passenger vehicles per year. (Source: EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator).

The renewable energy for the University of Phoenix’s offices and campuses will be generated from wind turbines, an energy source that is essentially pollution-free and naturally abundant in many areas of the country.

“We are pleased to partner with the University of Phoenix in supporting clean energy, and we encourage other companies in the Valley to follow its lead,” said Richard Hayslip, associate general manager of SRP.

As a result of its purchase, the University of Phoenix is ranked No. 7 on the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Top 20 College & University list of Green Power Purchasers,” making it the only higher education institution in Arizona to earn this recognition.

“As the need for renewable energy is growing nationally and globally, we recognize our responsibility to take care of the environment now and for future generations,” said Dr. William Pepicello, president of University of Phoenix. Hayslip said the SRP EarthWise Energy REC program encourages customers to invest in renewable energy to power their businesses, using electricity from environmentally friendly technologies such as solar and wind energy. The more customers who join, he said, the more SRP can spur the additional development and demand for renewable energy.

Salt River Project (SRP) is the largest provider of power to the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving about 930,000 electricity customers, and is also the nation's third-largest public power utility. To date, 6 percent of the energy generated for SRP customers comes from renewable and sustainable sources.