Campus News

Bowdoin Recognized by EPA as Leading Green Power Purchaser

Story posted October 18, 2006


Bowdoin College has been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its leading purchase of green power.

Bowdoin is purchasing 12 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power per year from Miller Hydro Group — the owner of the only certified low impact hydroelectric facility in Maine. The Worumbo hydroelectric facility is located only 17 miles from Bowdoin's Brunswick campus. Bowdoin is also purchasing 285,000 kWhs of Green-E certified renewable energy credits through Sterling Planet. Bowdoin's purchases will meet nearly 65 percent of the campus's annual electricity use. In combination with Maine's existing Renewable Portfolio Standard, a full 100% of Bowdoin's electricity is coming from qualifying renewable resources.

"EPA applauds Bowdoin College for making a significant green power purchase to meet the campus's electricity needs," said Matt Clouse, program director for the EPA's Green Power Partnership. "Bowdoin is providing an excellent example for its peers, employees, students and faculty by purchasing green power. This purchase serves as a great way to tie together Bowdoin's environmental and educational missions."

Bowdoin, which recently joined EPA's Green Power Partnership, is also being recognized as a Green Power Leadership Club Member. The Leadership Club honors Green Power Partners that have made an exemplary green power purchase, which significantly exceeds minimum Green Power Partnership purchase requirements. The green power purchase also places it as one of the top schools in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) among institutions in EPA's College & University Green Power Challenge.

"Bowdoin is committed to decreasing the College's adverse impacts on the environment, and continually improving sustainability and conservation practices," said S. Catherine Longley, Bowdoin's senior vice president for finance and administration and treasurer. "Bowdoin students have been particularly involved by advocating for new greening initiatives, and working with the administration to implement them."

Bowdoin's commitment to green electricity follows other conservation and sustainability efforts at the College. These include significant investments in geothermal heating in both new construction and renovation projects; student competitions to reduce energy consumption in residence halls; powering down campus vending machines during idle periods; replacing college-owned vehicles with more cars and vans that use hybrid technology; replacing inefficient CRT computer monitors with energy-saving flat panel screens; and purchasing and installing energy-efficient lighting and appliances, including laundry equipment. Bowdoin is also investigating the feasibility of installing solar power at its athletic field house, and has joined the Governor's "Carbon Challenge," pledging to reduce its carbon emissions by 11% by 2011. Earlier this year, Bowdoin was awarded Silver Status certification under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for conservation and sustainability features in two new residence halls.

"Green power" is defined as electricity that is partially or entirely generated from environmentally preferable resources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, biomass and low-impact hydro resources. Renewable energy sources are cleaner than conventional sources of electricity that produce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, a greenhouse gas linked to global climate change. Green power purchases help accelerate the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide.

The U.S. EPA, using a national average utility emissions rate, estimates that Bowdoin College's purchase is equivalent to preventing just over 17.1 million pounds of CO2 from entering the Earth's atmosphere over the next year. This is the equivalent of avoiding the CO2 emissions of nearly 1,700 cars per year, or preventing the CO2 emissions associated with over 884,000 gallons of gasoline annually.

About the U.S. EPA's Green Power Partnership
The EPA's Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program helping to increase the use of green power among leading U.S. organizations. The program encourages organizations to purchase green power as a way to reduce the risk of climate change and the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use. The Green Power Partnership currently has over 600 Partners voluntarily purchasing more than 6.8 billion kWh of green power. Partners include a wide variety of leading organizations such as Fortune 500 companies, local, state, and federal governments, trade associations, as well as colleges and universities.

For a full listing of the more than 600 EPA Green Power Partners and information about buying green power, see the Partnership's Web site at

For more information about EPA's College & University Green Power Challenge, see the Challenge Web site at

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