Carbon Neutrality

“By achieving carbon neutrality two years ahead of schedule, Bowdoin College is demonstrating the leadership and innovation needed to help meet the shared goals of the Climate Leadership Network.”
—Tim Carter, president of Second Nature

In June 2007, Bowdoin joined 270 colleges and universities in signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment and pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2020. In April of 2018, carbon neutrality was achieved two years ahead of schedule, making Bowdoin only the third college in the country to have achieved its commitment.

Through a variety of energy projects, campus engagement, and a greening of the Maine electrical grid, the College has reduced its onsite carbon emissions by 29 percent—surpassing its original goals. To achieve this emissions reduction milestone, the College has updated much of its campus infrastructure. These projects have included installing a cogenerations turbine, converting buildings from oil to natural gas, insulating pipes, and replacing thousands of lights with efficient LEDs.

To account for our remaining emissions, Bowdoin is investing in carbon offsets with regional impacts, and in renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with wind farms. These tools will help the College maintain a net-zero carbon footprint as it continues to actively pursue ways to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Since declaring carbon neutrality, the Sustainability Implementation Committee has been working with the campus community and energy consultants to craft an updated Climate Action Plan. The updated Climate Action Plan will focus on ways to continue reducing campus emissions, embrace renewable energy sources, and increase the Bowdoin community's awareness of and engagement with sustainability.

Carbon Neutrality Fact Sheet

Looking Forward: An Updated Climate Action Plan

Now that Bowdoin has reached its goal of carbon neutrality, it will continue to work on decreasing its reliance on fossil fuels. Over the 2018-2019 academic year, the Office of Sustainability gathered feedback from the Bowdoin community to develop specific updated sustainability goals and a plan to meet them. Through community forums, hosted discussions and events, and tabling in Smith Union, students will be able to have a voice in the planning process.

The 2019-2020 academic year has been devoted to compiling the 2018-2019 information from the campus community and our energy consultants to craft a boldly viable updated Climate Action Plan. While noting that there may be delays and new information, the Office of Sustainability intends to share this CAP with Bowdoin in the spring of 2022.