Green Initiatives at Colby

Chemistry students take water samples on East Pond during their lab with Professor D. Whitney King. Colby was a pioneer in environmental programs, introducing the first majors in the early 1970s. That leadership continues, with rigorous and distinctive academic programs offered. The number of majors in the Environmental Studies Program has grown steadily over the last two decades and new faculty positions have been filled. The Diamond Building, which includes a state-of-the-art GIS lab, provided a new home for the ES program in 2007. In addition to three majors in environmental studies (science, policy, and interdisciplinary computation), Colby offers a minor in environmental studies, a major in chemistry with a concentration in environmental science, and a biology: evolution and ecology major. Projects undertaken by students in the ES program provide momentum for sustainability initiatives that make Colby a green leader.   View Academic Initiatives »

Earth WeekStudents promote sustainability, conservation, and environmental awareness as members of the Environmental Advisory Group (which advises the president), as recycling coordinators, and in other paid part-time positions in the Environmental Studies Program. Colby supports an active Environmental Coalition, the Environmental Studies Club, dorm-based EcoReps, and the Organic Farming and Gardening Club.Sustainability discussions are part of new students' orientation. Students engage initiatives through coursework, independent study, academic honors projects, service learning, and on College committees. They have been instrumental in initiating many policy changes promoting sustainability and conservation. Environmental studies majors often design independent study and honors projects to support the College’s identified sustainability goals. View Involvement Initiatives »

The annual Project RESCUE sale earned a “best practice” label from EPA.Colby's purchase of all renewable sourced electricity, starting in 2003, created a new market for green power in Maine and has been recognized by the EPA. The College has more LEED-certified green buildings than any other college in Maine or any of its peer institutions. The switch to wood biomass for heat, hot water, and cogenerated electricity saves almost 1 million gallons of oil per year. Dining Services has aggressively embraced green initiatives. The annual Project RESCUE sale earned a “best practice” label from EPA. Colby has ambitious recycling, composting, and water conservation programs. Colby achieved carbon neutrality in April 2013 and was the largest college or university in the nation to reach that milestone at the time.
View Conservation Initiatives »

The iBike program was started, offering free use of College-owned bicycles.In April 2013 Colby achieved carbon neutrality. It was one of the very first colleges or universities to attain neutrality and the largest institution to do so at the time. Conservation and energy-efficiency projects, purchasing all renewable-sourced electricity, converting from oil to biomass at the central steam plant, and installing geothermal heating and cooling in two new buildings all contributed to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Investment in carbon offsets more than compensated for difficult-to-avoid emissions (e.g. college travel and commuting) and provided capital for carbon reduction elsewhere in New England.
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Colby's geothermally heated and cooled Alumni Center was the first academic building in Maine to receive LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.In its governance, in stated core values, through partnerships, and as part of its 200-year New England heritage, Colby is committed to sustainability and conservation—and that commitment has been recognized in a variety of awards, honors, and recognition.
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Last Updated: 4/4/13 1:12 PM