Green Development

The College has a comprehensive set of green building and landscape standards for all new construction and renovation projects. These standards set goals for efficiency, as well as outline various requirements for energy modeling, life cycle costing, and LEED and SITES certification.

As part of the integrated design process, Colby seeks to ensure that the design of projects is in keeping with our sustainability goals.


In 2014 Colby adopted a set of comprehensive green building standards that includes requirements for LEED certification, at a minimum LEED Silver rating, as well as process-focused requirements regarding energy modeling, life cycle costing, an integrated design process, and building energy metering. In 2019, the standards were revised to require a minimum LEED Gold rating. Inside existing buildings, we try to install the most energy and environmentally efficient devices, implement green cleaning practices, and find and implement new methods to conserve energy, water, and other resources.

Colby has continually identified and implemented measures to reduce campus resource use. This started in earnest in 2000 when the College created the Environmental Advisory Group (EAG), and sustainability became a core value of the College. Since that time, despite multiple new buildings and significant campus growth, the College has achieved substantial reductions in steam, electricity, and water consumption.

Colby is a leader among its peer institutions with a total of 17 LEED certified spaces and another currently pursuing LEED certification. These spaces include:

  1. Diamond Building (LEED Certified)
  2. Schair-Swenson-Watson Alumni Center (LEED Silver)
  3. Pulver Pavilion (LEED Silver)
  4. Colby Bookstore (LEED Silver)
  5. Pierce Hall (LEED Gold)
  6. Perkins-Wilson Hall (LEED Gold)
  7. Treworgy Hall (LEED Gold)
  8. Drummond Hall (LEED Gold)
  9. Piper Hall (LEED Gold)
  10. Goddard-Hodgkins Hall (LEED Gold)
  11. Biomass Plant (LEED Gold)
  12. Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion, Colby Museum of Art (LEED Silver)
  13. Davis Science Center (LEED Gold)
  14. Miller Library (LEED Gold)
  15. Roberts Building Residence Hall (LEED Gold)
  16. Grossman Hall, home of DavisConnects (LEED Platinum)
  17. Bill and Joan Alfond Main Street Commons (LEED Silver)

Pursuing LEED certification

  1. Colby College Athletic Complex (targeting LEED Gold)

In total, we have approximately 435,000 square feet of LEED-certified spaces on campus, which is 26 percent of our total square footage.


Colby updated their Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Plan in 2016 to minimize the use of pesticides, more rigorous scouting, and the establishment of a committee to continue evaluating IPM practices. Leaves and grass clippings are centrally collected and composted. Brush and limbs are chipped and reused on campus. Colby is committed to planting only native or naturalized species on campus to cultivate a healthy and natural ecosystem, which minimizes maintenance and resource use. Colby has made a commitment to implement the SITES rating system in new landscape designs wherever possible. In 2018, the Colby College Athletic Fields became the first project in New England to achieve SITES certification.


Colby Dining Services are managed by Bon Appetit, a management company dedicated to culinary excellence through local, sustainable meals. Some of their accomplishments include cage free eggs, sustainably sourced and harvested animal products, Seafood Watch seafood, and the Farm to Fork program, which focuses on small farms and ranches within 150 miles of Colby. All pre-and post-consumer food waste from all three dining halls is composted.


Low Emissions Parking Colby offers a number of free and low-cost options for local transportation to students. Colby is committed to improving fuel economy and emissions in the College-owned fleet. There are six electric vehicle (EV) charging ports available in the Diamond parking lot and one in the SSW Alumni Center lot, as well as reserved parking spots throughout campus for Low Emissions Vehicles (LEVs). Colby has easy access to nearby hiking and biking trails, including the Colby Arboretum on campus, Quarry Road located right off campus, and the Kennebec Messalonskee Trails.

The Colby Shuttle provides service between downtown Waterville and the campus on Mayflower Hill. More information, including live shuttle tracking, can be found here.

The Jitney, a free, student-driven taxi, provides daily service to anywhere in Waterville.

Students and employees can join Zipcar, a low-cost car-sharing program. Colby owns 3 ZipCars. In order to use ZipCar, just sign up online (students get a discount registration fee of $15!), wait for approval and receive your ZipCar card via mail, then you have full access to all ZipCars, not just the ones on campus. There is an hourly fee ($7.50-$8.50) to use a ZipCar, which includes gas.

Beginning in 2008, students initiated the iBike program to offer free bike loans to students and employees. 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 Cotter Union for up to 24 hours at a time. There are bike racks at every campus building for both iBIkes and personal bikes, and there are bike racks in Downtown Waterville.

There is a free shuttle that runs Thursday-Sunday on a loop from outside the Pugh Center to local shopping areas and the Downtown area.

At the beginning and end of certain vacations/breaks, Colby offers a $10 shuttle to the Portland airport and Portland Concord Coach/Amtrak bus stop.

On ColbyNow, students can post asking for and offering rides to help promote carpooling and assist students without cars get where they need to go, while drivers get a companion and perhaps a break on gas money.

There is a Concord Coach bus stop outside the Athletic Center, with one arrival and departure daily, and two trips on Fridays. Students receive a $5 discount off some roundtrip tickets.

There are three dual-head charging stations for a total of six EV spots in the Diamond parking lot. These Level 2 charging stations are on the ChargePoint network, which allows users to easily locate the stations and see whether they are available. The ChargePoint app also notifies users when their vehicle is finished charging so it can be moved and the spot made available for another vehicle to charge. Users must create a ChargePoint account and use the app or ChargePoint card to activate the charging station. The charging stations are free to use. Instructions are available on the ChargePoint website.

Green Purchasing

Financial Services is committed to making sustainable purchases for the College, from 100% recycled Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper to Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) certified electronics. Below is the environmental clause on our vendor contract that all College contractors must sign.

“Colby College is a carbon-neutral campus. The Contractor agrees to review the College’s ongoing energy and resource reduction priorities (below) and to strive to implement efforts to further those priorities.

Energy and Resource Reduction Priorities:

For services rendered for the College, we encourage the use of low impact, environmentally friendly alternatives. Some examples could be the use of alternatively fueled vehicles for car rentals or for printed materials asking vendors to use paper with high recycled content.

For products consumed at the College, we welcome products that reduce the embodied energy necessary to produce, package, transport, use, and ideally reuse or recycle the product. An example are products with minimal packaging made from recycled materials that are easily recycled into new products.”

Green Cleaning

Colby College has established green housekeeping policies and guidelines for the campus in order to reduce exposure of building occupants and maintenance personnel to potentially hazardous chemical, biological, and particulate contaminants. These pollutants adversely impact air quality, health, building finishes, building systems, as well as the environment. Additionally, green housekeeping reduces the deposition of contaminants in the building. All cleaning products are Green Seal Certified, except floor strippers and disinfectants. Green Cleaning policies are implemented throughout campus, in both dormitories and academic buildings. All housekeeping duties are completed by Colby staff.


Colby participates in a demand response program to both save energy, and money for the College. Whenever there is a high electricity load, for example on a hot day in the summer when a lot of people have their air conditioners on, the electricity company will notify Colby, and Colby will shut down unnecessary electricity sources, effectively reducing the College’s overall electrical load. Prices usually increase during these heavy load times, so by decreasing Colby’s energy needs, we save money and reduce electricity consumption!

Completion of a biomass plant in 2012 allowed Colby to switch to low-grade wood as its primary fuel, saving close to one million gallons of oil per year.

In 2015 solar panels on the Schair-Swenson-Watson Alumni Center started to provide 10-15 percent of the building’s electricity.

A 5,300-panel solar installation adjacent to Mayflower Hill began generating power in Fall 2017 and is expected to produce 16 percent of Colby’s total electricity needs.

Water and Wastewater

Within the past two years, Colby has updated most of the water fixtures throughout campus. This includes updating all sinks with 0.5 gpm aerators, adding 1.5 gpm aerators to showerheads, and ensuring all toilets have 1.4 gpm or less flushes. Some toilets on campus also have dual flush capacity. Colby discourages the use of plastic water bottles by providing water fountains and bottle filling stations throughout campus. All of Colby’s runoff gets treated by the Kennebec Water Treatment Plant off site. Additionally, Colby ensures new construction will minimize negative impacts on stormwater runoff.


In residence halls and around campus:

Single-stream Recycling: Recycling bins are built into waste stations or are loose bins next to trash cans (please read signage carefully). Single-stream recycling is one bin that accepts EVERYTHING recyclable: all papers (including all office paper, envelopes, and paperboard such as cereal boxes, beverage boxes, pizza boxes), bottles, plastics 1-7, cans, and other metal and glass. Please note, containers should be relatively clean of food or drink residue (for example if you can make another sandwich with the amount of peanut butter left in a container it is too much, but anything less than that is ok). Corrugated cardboard can also be put in single-stream recycling, but if it’s too large it should be broken down and left next to any recycling station where it will be recycled appropriately. Single-stream recycling is handled by Waste Management.

If you are not sure whether something can be recycled, search ecomaine’s Recyclopedia for disposal guidance.

Composting: All pre- and post-consumer food waste is composted in all three dining halls. The Spa has compost bins at trash stations for food waste and compostable materials. Food waste includes all food including meat products and bones. Compostable materials include napkins, paper cups and lids, straws, tea bags, containers from Take 4, sandwich wrappers from Take 4, and anything else that says compostable on it. Look out for composting bins expanding to other areas of campus and at catered events! Students can check out personal composting bins for dorms through the Sustainability Office. Our composting goes to Exeter Agri-Energy, in Exeter, ME.

Other Recyclable Products:

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) – Submit a work order to Facilities Services to have your burnt-out CFL picked up and disposed of properly.

Printer Cartridges – Have your own personal work printer? If so, the printer cartridges can be placed in the recycling room in the basement of Eustis and be properly recycled. Colby vendor PPCI recycles all campus printer cartridges.

Batteries – Bring used work batteries – alkaline or other to Facilities Services for them to be properly recycled.

Cell Phones – Bring old cell phones and other small electronics (tablets, fitness trackers, wireless headphones and earbuds, smart watches) to Facilities Services and they will be recycled.
Office Goods and Clothing – The Sustainability Office and EcoReps support two Freecycle Events during the year, an opportunity to donate lightly used items that others may want/need. Any items that aren’t claimed will be donated locally.

Work Computers / Laptops – ITS (146 Lovejoy) is the computer recycling center on campus. All work computers’ hard drives are erased and then donated to local schools or non-profits or recycled locally.

Landfill: Landfill waste containers are built into waste stations, or stand alone as a loose gray bin. Any item that can’t be recycled or composted, (food wrappers like chip bags, plastic bags, wax paper, styrofoam etc.) can be placed in the trash container. All trash is brought by Waste Management to a landfill gas methane recapture facility in Norridgewock, Maine.


Green Colby
Colby College Logo