Bowdoin On Track To Meet Carbon Neutrality Goal

Story posted February 03, 2011

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In fall 2009, Bowdoin College made a commitment to become carbon-neutral by the year 2020 and released a detailed implementation plan to achieve that goal.

The College is pleased to report that at the end of FY 2010, Bowdoin is on track to achieve carbon neutrality by 2020, as a result of campus-wide conservation efforts, specific initiatives in the implementation plan, and other factors.

Bowdoin's greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) were almost 7% lower in 2010 than the FY 2008 baseline total of 19,153 metric tons.

The College's Annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Update summarizes key changes that contributed to Bowdoin's reduction in emissions. The College's GHG inventory accounts for the six greenhouse gases specified by the Kyoto Protocol and uses the global warming potential of each gas to present results in a common unit: carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).

Bowdoin categorizes emissions into three areas:


  • Scope 1 includes onsite combustion of fuels, College vehicle use, and fugitive refrigerants.
  • Scope 2 encompasses emissions associated with purchased electricity.
  • Scope 3 includes travel by College faculty and staff, waste disposal, and other activities.

The College is greatly encouraged by the 7% reduction in GHG emissions made during the two years since its carbon reduction plan was adopted. Achieving carbon neutrality, however, will take time, dedication and the implementation of further initiatives to reduce GHG emissions at the College.

In the next two years, anticipated projects include:


  • Phase II (2011) solar thermal installation on Thorne Dining Halls/archives/1bowdoincampus/007619.shtml">Cogeneration in the central heating plant (2011)
  • Lighting upgrades in the Hubbard Hall stacks and other locations (ongoing)
  • Expansion of the College’s Web-based Building Dashboard®, which makes Bowdoin’s energy use visible, engaging and easily understood by students, faculty, staff and guests (ongoing)
  • Continued progress in switching the remaining satellite facilities from No. 2 heating oil to lower carbon natural gas (ongoing)

As Bowdoin has seen in the early years of implementation, the collective efforts of students, faculty and staff will be critically important to achieving carbon neutrality by 2020.

More information here.

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