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SPOTLIGHT ON MAINE CAMPUSES

Colby College, Waterville -- In October 2003, Colby College became the first college campus in Maine to make a substantial purchase of green electricity. Colby purchased 100% "Made in Maine" green power from Constellation NewEnergy through Maine PowerOptions, an energy- purchasing consortium of large not-for-profit organizations. With this purchase, Colby becomes Maine's first campus to use their electricity purchase for environmental benefit. MeGPC is pleased to highlight and applaud this purchase for several reasons:

  • It's a big purchase, one that benefits Maine renewable energy generators now -- Colby uses roughly 14 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year. By switching from a mix of coal (70%) and hydro, Colby's electricity will now come 50% from hydropower, 50% from biomass (wood waste like wood chips and sawdust), and 100% from Maine.

  • It will also help reduce emissions -- With this switch, the college's electricity purchases will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 41%, sulfur dioxide emissions by 98%, and carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 100%. That's a big step, both for Colby's own environmental commitments, and potentially for Maine's air quality.

  • It sets the stage for other Maine campuses -- Higher education has an obligation to train the next generation of leaders, and Colby understands this obligation to include leadership in environmental stewardship. As other Maine schools follow Colby's lead and use their purchasing decisions on behalf of Maine's environment, that leadership will benefit Colby students, faculty and all of Maine.

Colby College, Waterville

Colby purchased 100% "Made in Maine" green power in October 2003.

Unity College, Unity -- Unity College followed Colby's lead by announcing its own green power purchase on February 2. Unity also purchased a green supply product through Constellation NewEnergy and Maine PowerOptions. In this case, Unity had switched over 100% of its electricity accounts, making the campus 100% "green powered." Calling itself "America's Environmental College," Unity is clear about two specific elements of its purchase:

  • The purchase decision was driven by the students - "Being America's Environmental College, we need to do all we can to promote sustainable options," says college President, David Glenn-Lewin. "Our students took a leadership role in researching alternatives and lobbying for positive change on campus. Faculty, staff and students worked together in committees, classes and clubs to bring about this change in electrical options."

  • Even small schools can make a big difference -- By virtue of both its commitment to environmental sustainability and its smaller physical plant, Unity is able to make its actions count. "Currently Unity College produces about 2 tons of C02- equivalent per student, per year", reports Asst Professor Mick Womersley. That is much better than the average for most schools, which must heat and maintain a much larger physical plant, with commensurate environmental impact. "This purchase will reduce the greenhouse gases for which Unity is responsible by 27.7%, or 644,000 pounds per year," Wormersley adds.

Unity College, Unity

Unity students took the lead lobbying for positive change on campus.

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