Colby expects to reduce heating oil consumption by a million gallons when its new biomass heating plant is fully operational next year, which will also continue a trend of reducing campus greenhouse gas emissions, according to the 2010-11 Colby College Sustainability Report published online in October.

The report replaces and expands on annual reports from the Environmental Advisory Group published in recent years. It samples some of the higher-profile sustainability initiatives and provides the latest update to the College’s greenhouse gas emissions inventory, which tracks emissions since 2002. In just the last year, data show, Colby reduced gross greenhouse gas emissions from 19,066  to 16,708 metric tons, using the Clean Air-Cool Planet campus carbon calculator (v 6.4). Emissions from sources owned or controlled by Colby decreased 9 percent, while those from indirect sources (commuters, college-related travel etc.) remained largely unchanged, the report says.

That reduction continues a trend of decreased emissions from a peak in the early 2000s. “Net emissions per square foot of building space decreased more than 45 percent from 2002 to 2010,” the report says.

Initiatives covered in the report include the biomass heating plant, the Take Back the Tap campaign that will remove an estimated 10,000 disposable plastic water bottles from the waste stream and save the College tens of thousands of dollars, environmental improvements around Johnson Pond to improve its water quality, strategies to reduce peak electrical demand, STARS assessment for tracking sustainability efforts, and partnerships in sustainability with the Belgrades Lakes region and Bigelow Laboratory.

The six-page report is available on the Green Colby website as a PDF.