Campus News

Gift, Grant Create Sustainable Heating Solution at Schwartz Outdoor Leadership Center

Story posted January 06, 2009

With the support of a $5,000 donation from the Bowdoin College Class of 2008 and a grant from the William Bingham Foundation, Bowdoin has installed its first solar domestic hot water heating system in the Schwartz Outdoor Leadership Center (OLC).

The system comprises a 30-tube roof mounted solar panel, an 80-gallon hot water tank, a display panel and related circulating pump and piping.

Andrew Fried100.jpg
Andrew Fried '08

"There was a resounding response when our class voted on possible gift ideas,” said Andrew Fried, president of the Class of 2008.

"We wanted to leave a legacy of responsibility for environmental sustainability. The solar panels will expand Bowdoin's use of renewable energy sources on campus, while saving money and reducing carbon emissions. We hope that our gift acts as an inspiration to others at Bowdoin to continue our efforts."

With additional support from the Bingham Foundation, the College also upgraded the OLC's heating system to a high-efficiency boiler.

Impact of Bowdoin’s Carbon Footprint

The 994 gallons of propane that are saved from the new boiler reduces Bowdoin’s carbon footprint by 5.56 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, and the 115 gallons of saved propane from the solar hot water panels helps to reduce the College's carbon footprint by an additional .64 metric tons.

The combined 6.2 metric ton reduction in the carbon footprint is equal to the carbon dioxide emissions produced from burning 704 gallons of gasoline. Put another way, the savings are equal to the greenhouse gas emissions avoided by recycling 2.1 tons of waste instead of sending it to a landfill.

Schwartz Outdoor Leadership Center

The 5,300-square-foot Schwartz Outdoor Learning Center is one of the most environmentally friendly buildings at Bowdoin, featuring day lighting, radiant floor heating and natural ventilation to make the building energy-efficient.

Schwartz Outdoor Learning Center

It was specifically designed to facilitate the Bowdoin Outing Club (BOC) and its more than 100 yearly outdoor trips.

BOC is the largest student organization on campus, counting an average annual membership of 350 students (about one-fifth of the student population).

With its impressive level of participation and high-caliber programs, BOC enjoys a reputation as one of the finest college outing clubs in the country.

BOC not only celebrates the outdoors by providing equipment and access to hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, skiing and more; it is dedicated to preserving the environment through its work with a number of organizations whose emphasis is on maintaining and preserving natural areas.

Commitment to Sustainability

The campus-wide commitment to sustainability is part of Bowdoin’s bricks and mortar, from the award-winning energy efficiencies in new and renovated buildings, to organic, local foods in the College’s dining halls.


Sustainability is
at the core of Bowdoin's commitment to the Common Good.Learn moreLearn More

Highlights of campus sustainability:

  • 40 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions
  • Commitment to buy 100 percent Green Electricity
  • Dining Service-managed organic gardens
  • Sustainably designed building renovations
  • Purchase of wind-generated power
  • Single-stream recycling campus-wide
  • LEED-certified residence halls with geothermal heating and recycled materials
  • Sustainable development guidelines with regard to site design and planning; energy use; water management; materials, resources and waste; and indoor environmental quality

Climate Commitment

In May 2007 Bowdoin College President Barry Mills joined the leaders of more than 270 institutions across the country in signing the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, a pledge to reduce sharply and eventually eliminate all of the College's global warming emissions, and to accelerate the research and educational efforts to equip society to stabilize the earth's climate.

The William Bingham Foundation

Bowdoin College is the recipient of a 2008 grant from the William Bingham Foundation, which was established in 1955 by Elizabeth Bingham Blossom in memory of her brother, William Bingham II. Among the family foundation's goals is to work for a world that is environmentally self-sustaining.

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