Reducing its carbon footprint with solar power is only the latest step in Catholic University’s commitment to sustainability. The University’s efforts began in 2002 with the purchase of wind energy credits. In 2009, Opus Hall, the first new LEED-compliant student residence hall in Washington, D.C., was opened.“We commend the leadership, faculty and students of Catholic University of America for their impressive commitment to solar energy,” says Sanjiv Mahan, Vice President of Business Development for Washington Gas Energy Systems. “This long-term academic and private sector partnership exemplifies how renewable energy can help a campus reduce its carbon footprint and engage students in the advancement of new technologies. We are honored to be their partner and help them meet their sustainability goals.” Students also have played a role in the University’s green efforts. A team led by students at the School of Architecture and Planning was one of 20 worldwide chosen to compete in the 2013 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Decathlon. The selection of Team Capitol D.C. Harvest, which also includes students from American and George Washington universities, marks the first time that Catholic University has been chosen to participate in the competition. It is also the first time that any University in Washington, D.C., has been tapped for the decathlon. In 2010 and 2012, the University, Washington Gas Energy Systems, and Standard Solar challenged students to design a picnic table and a bus shelter capable of using energy from the sun to create a power source. As a result of these competitions, a solar-powered picnic table designed by six graduate students was installed outside the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center. Earlier this year, Garvey and the leaders of eight other Washington, D.C., higher education institutions pledged their commitment to an initiative by Mayor Vincent Gray — the first of its kind nationally — to make D.C. the most sustainable city in America.