Global energy consumption has grown over 350% since 1950, and that growth isn't expected to stop anytime soon. This consumption his having enormous negative impacts on both the environment and economy. For most of us, our energy seems to come from a wall outlet or a gas pump, but in reality its generation and use is much more complicated. Burning fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and petroleum have huge negative costs not included in the price we pay for the energy. These include human health problems caused by air pollution; degradation of land from deforestation and coal mining; more extreme weather due to climate change; mass extinction; water pollution; and national security costs, such as protecting foreign sources of oil. More information on the effects of climate change can be found here.

University of Richmond is working to save energy through its LEED certified green buildings, lighting, electronics, appliances, and more. Moreover, UR boasts on-campus and off-campus solar arrays. Read more about energy at a university, national, and global scale in our energy fact sheet.

Take a Solar Tour

The Office for Sustainability offers educational tours of the Weinstein Center's solar array. During the 20 minute tour, participants get an overview of how solar works, what is unique about our solar array, and why this array is important for the University's carbon neutrality goals. To schedule a tour please email at least two weeks before you would like to take a tour. The entire tour is outdoors, so please dress for the weather.

Energy and Environmental Justice

Lots of fossil fuel energy infrastructure, like coal-powered plants or pipelines, are located near marginalized and minority communities, contributing to environmental and human health hazards. These facilities have the potential to contaminate land, water, and air with toxic materials. Communities in these areas experience the effects of climate change as a result of fossil fuel energy production at a greater rate. In Richmond, there are more Black communities in the East End than in the West End. The East End has nearly double the number of energy generators, disproportionately exposing Black communities in Richmond to air pollutants.

Save Energy and Be a Green Spider

The University is dedicated to energy efficiency and conserving, but these measures need the support of the campus community to be effective. Below are some ways that you can easily save energy and be a Green Spider.

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