Green Initiatives at Colby

Carbon Footprint
Geothermal wells located in the basement of the Schair Swenson Watson Alumni Center, a LEEDS certified building. In 2005 Colby signed the Governor’s Carbon Challenge, setting goals to reduce emissions 9 percent (on a square-foot basis) by 2010 and 20 percent by 2020. In 2007, based on Cool Air-Clean Planet methodology, the College had reduced emissions 32 percent from 1990 levels (a 10.6-percent net decrease). Green electricity, geothermal heating and cooling, conservation, and other efficiency strategies contributed to reductions.
Colby introduced electric and hybrid vehicles and is committed to downsizing vehicles in the College-owned fleet. A campus shuttle provides access to local shopping areas and public transportation, and an online ride-sharing board facilitates carpooling. Students and employees can join Zipcar, a low-cost car-sharing program. The iBike program offers free use of College-owned bicycles. LEED-certified buildings have showers for bike commuters.
Green Power
Colby’s move to 100-percent renewable electricity sources, in 2003, helped establish a marketplace for green power in Maine. Purchased electricity has come from hydro, wind, and biomass. An on-campus cogeneration turbine supplies about 10 percent of the campus's electrical needs from steam-plant exhaust. Colby has been at the top of its category in the EPA's green power championships several years.
Awards and Recognition
Colby’s sustainability efforts have won national and state awards and recognition, including Green Power championships, Environmental Protection Agency awards, and LEED certification for new and renovated buildings. See the full list.
iBike Loaner Bicycles
Beginning in 2008 students initiated the iBike program to offer free bike loans to students and staff. The motivation was to provide sustainable transportation and equitable access to downtown Waterville as well as an opportunity for healthy exercise. Bikes come with a helmet and lock and may be checked out at the information desk in Pulver Pavilion for up to 24 hours at a time.
Biomass Heating Plant
Colby's biomass steam plant began operating in January 2012. It replaces close to 1 million gallons of heating fuel each year (close to 90 percent of heating oil used by the College) with about 22,000 tons of low-grade wood biomass such as treetops, branches, and trees from thinning operations. Wood is harvested from sustainable forest operations within a 50-mile radius of campus. Twin 400-horsepower biomass-fueled boilers produce steam for heat, hot water, cooking, and cogeneration of electricity.
Last Updated: 10/15/10 3:27 PM