Carbon Neutrality – Recent Projects

Below is a summary of recently completed projects supporting our goal towards carbon neutrality.

2014 Solar Panel Installation

(Greason Pool roof on far left, Farley Field House roof front and center, and Watson Arena roof in back right. Photo credit David Israel.)

In the fall of 2014 Bowdoin completed construction on a 1.2 megawatt solar power complex, which consists of approximately 4,420 solar panels at four major installations: rooftop systems on Farley Field House, the Sidney J. Watson Arena, and Greason Pool, along with a 654-kW ground-mount installation on three acres owned by the college at the former Navy base. More than six times the size of the next largest existing solar installation in Maine, this system provides roughly 8% of the College’s electricity. SolarCity installed an additional 12-kW system on the new residence hall at 52 Harpswell Road in the spring of 2015. The project is a collaboration between Bowdoin and SolarCity. Under the agreement, SolarCity, which financed and built the system, owns and maintains the solar installations on college property, while Bowdoin has agreed to purchas all generated power over the next twenty years. Learn more about our solar production here.

First LEED Gold Residence Hall – 52 Harpswell


In August 2014 Bowdoin completed the renovation of its third LEED certified residence hall, at the newly redesigned 52 Harpswell Rd location, which received LEED gold certification. Formerly the Stevens Home retirement facility, Bowdoin purchased the property and completed the renovation while keeping the entire framework and internal structure of the building, which significantly lowered the environmental impact of the project. The project includes features such as increased insulation, energy-efficient kitchen appliances, a state-of-the-art heating system, and a rainwater collection system. In addition, the Bowdoin Organic Garden expanded to a new plot in the backyard of the property in order to increase its food production for the campus dining halls. The apartment is home to 35 residences in 20 rooms. WATCH "Before and After: 52 Harpswell."

Co-Gen Heating Plant

Heating is the single largest source of Bowdoin’s CO2 emissions, so updating our heating system to a more efficient option has been a top priority. In 2010 the College replaced a major piece of the boiler system with a new cogeneration option that is high-efficiency, low emissions and dual-fuel. This was part of a combined heat and power project to use excess steam energy to generate electricity for campus consumption, offsetting electricity currently purchased from the grid.

Upgrading to LED Lights

During the summer of 2014, Bowdoin completed a major lighting upgrade project in several residential and academic buildings on campus including the Hawthorne-Longfellow Library and Thorne Dining Hall. 14 lighting projects were completed, resulting in a saving of an expected 600,000 kWh annually. Switching to LED lights not only saves significant amounts of energy, but also reduces maintenance costs, as the life expectancy of an LED is as much as 5 times longer than fluorescent fixtures.