Environmental Management System

Bowdoin is proud to announce the implementation of an Environmental Management System (EMS) to help us coordinate our environmental compliance and campus greening efforts with greater efficiency and more broad-based input from the campus community. Modeled after the international ISO 14000 standard, this program will allow us to not only better manage our many and complex regulatory compliance issues, but provide a management tool to help develop, track, and implement in-house environmental programs that benefit both the College and the community at large.

In development since 2003 with the direct guidance of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), our EMS system was customized to meet the specific needs and goals of the College, to function seamlessly within our existing structure, and to best address the priorities we ourselves established. It was evident from the beginning that many environmental efforts such as recycling, energy conservation, cleaner fuels, green energy purchasing, pollution prevention, reduced air emissions, LEED-certified new construction, etc. were already underway on campus and that these would benefit from an EMS, with the added benefit of providing a valuable forum for discussing further ideas and efforts. Managed by an expanded Environmental Action Committee, as chaired by the Director of Facilities Operations and Management, the EMS provides a framework to assess such factors as the feasibility, cost, impact, etc., of existing and proposed programs; a means to apply measurable roadmarks and goals to those programs; and guidelines for documenting and auditing our compliance and progress.

The purpose and philosophy of the EMS program can best be summed up by the incorporated Environmental Management Statement:

In keeping with the core values and guiding principles central to its educational mission, Bowdoin College is committed to the practice of environmental stewardship both in its current operations and its future planning, including but not limited to:

  • Compliance with applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and ordinances associated with protection of human health and the environment, to the best of our ability;
  • Philosophy of responsible care in its environmental policies and procedures, and for the wellbeing both of its employees and the community;
  • Ongoing assessment of innovative technologies and alternative methods applicable to its operations, including best management practices in pollution prevention and the responsible use of natural resources;
  • Establishment of measurable and auditable goals, and the regular reassessment of those goals;
  • Commitment by management and administration in implementing and maintaining its environmental programs;
  • Fostering of communication with, involvement of, and education of its employees;
  • Participation in selected environmental efforts promoted by government, industry, and the public, and promotion of its own programs in support of those efforts.î

The following programs (in no particular order of importance) are currently being administered under the EMS; those noted on bold have achieved the initial objectives or numerical targets set by the committee, and continue to operate with the goal of continual improvement.


Program Goals


Hazardous Waste Annual reductions exceeding regulatory goals Ongoing, Goals Met
Solid Waste Improve recycling/disposal ratio (35/65%) Ongoing
Recyclables Improve recycling/disposal ratio (35/65%) Ongoing
Air Emissions Annual reductions exceeding regulatory goals Ongoing, goals met, setting new goals
Building Inefficiencies Increase overall energy efficiency Ongoing
Water Use Reduce overall water use Ongoing
Power Cogeneration Reduce dependency on outside resources Scheduled for 2011
Heating Alternatives Reduce fuel use by 5% per degree day Achieved
Building Practices Increase sustainability of campus buildings Ongoing
PCB Transformers Remove all PCB-containing transformers Achieved
Alternative Fuels Maximize use of bio-fuels and cooking wastes Ongoing
Green Energy Increase green energy purchasing to 100% Achieved
Green Culture Inclusion of green philosophy in all planning Achieved
Green Products Increase green product use to 100% Ongoing
Food Wastes Buying local and reducing wastes Ongoing
Pesticides/Herbicides Minimize landscaping chemical use Achieved
Grounds Management Manage landscape resources efficiently Achieved
Junk Mail Minimize volume of unwanted waste paper Ongoing
Electronic Wastes Reduce volumes of e-wastes disposed Ongoing
Groundwater Protection Compliance with the Aquifer Protection Plan Ongoing

We Welcome Your Participation

Detailed information regarding the specific actions and metrics of the programs currently administered under the EMS may be obtained from Sustainable Bowdoin, or the Office of Environmental Health and Safety.

Questions regarding the EMS itself, comments on its current programs, and suggestions for future environmental efforts may be submitted to the Director at tstam@bowdoin.edu.

This page was updated July 22, 2010