Colby is committed to practices and policies that respect the environment and promote sustainable living principles. Pioneering academic programs and a historical commitment to green values made Colby a leader in environmental initiatives, and success is evident—in its dramatic reduction of carbon emissions, the effectiveness of the Environmental Advisory Group, and innovative environmental initiatives throughout the organization. Many of the efforts highlighted below are supported or even spearheaded by students and faculty within the ES program.
Colby is Carbon Neutral
As one of the first four colleges or universities in the United States to achieve carbon neutrality, which it announced April 4, 2013, Colby reinforced its standing as a national leader in sustainability and environmental education.
Environmental Advisory Group
Students, faculty, and staff serve on Colby’s Environmental Advisory Group (EAG), formed in 2000 to advise the president and the College community on environmental stewardship including sustainability, conservation, and alternative energy. The EAG has proven successful at evaluating, recommending, and helping implement an array of ambitious green initiatives, many on this list. The structure has served as a successful model for other institutions developing effective environmental policies and initiatives. To see some of the issues that the EAG has worked on visit Green Colby.
Colby was a national pioneer in the introduction of environmental programs in the early 1970s and continues its environmental leadership, offering rigorous and distinctive academic programs under the environmental studies umbrella.
Colby’s move to 100-percent renewable electricity sources, in 2003, helped establish a market for green power in Maine and led to national recognition for green power use. 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, and the College buys Green-E certified renewable energy credits for specific projects. In the EPA’s green power championships, Colby had the highest percentage among participating colleges and universities nationwide in 2007-08 and 2008-09 and had the second-highest percentage in 2009-10. Reducing Energy Usage Green buildings and LEED Certification Colby has established a goal for all new buildings constructed to minimum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) silver standard. All on-staff project managers are LEED-accredited professionals. As of 2010, Colby has five LEED buildings, including two LEED silver and two renovated dormitories rated LEED gold (Pierce renovation (LEED Gold), Perkins-Wilson renovation (LEED Gold), Schair-Swenson-Watson Alumni Center (LEED Silver), Cotter Union/Bookstore project (LEED Silver), and Diamond Building (LEED).
The College has begun construction on a biomass boiler, to be fully operational by the beginning of 2012, to reduce emissions from heating oil. The biomass plant will handle an estimated 90% of the campus steam demand. It will offset the use of more than one million gallons of residual oil a year with about 22 thousand tons of low-grade forest waste and debris from sustainable forest operations within roughly a 50-mile radius of campus. The twin 400-horsepower biomass-fueled boilers will produce steam for heat, hot water, cooking, and cogeneration of electricity. Fact Sheet >>
Geothermal is used in the LEED Silver Building, the Schair Swenson Watson Alumni Center. Geothermal works for both heating and cooling due to the water temperature at 1,500 feet remains consistently in the mid to upper 50s. When that water is pumped up into the building in the summer it is relatively cool compared to ambient air temperatures and it helps cool the building; in winter it’s relatively warm and heats the building as its warmth is transferred to liquid in the building’s heating and cooling systems.
More details about Colby Campus Sustainability