U.S. College Becomes First to Commit to Green Energy

A college in Connecticut is the first in the United States to commit to support electricity from certified renewable energy.

NEW LONDON, Connecticut, US, 2001-05-27 [ SolarAccess.com ] Students at Connecticut College raised funds through student-sponsored bake sales to join the Connecticut Energy Cooperative as an organizing partner. They also agreed to support an increase of $25 in their student fees to pay the costs associated with purchasing renewable energy from the co-op. The Hartford co-op is a licensed electricity supplier that provides its members with natural gas, fuel oil, propane, energy efficiency services, low-cost long-distance telecommunication and electricity. It was the first supplier in New England to offer 100 percent renewable electricity and operates on a not-for-profit basis. The goal is to purchase 20 percent of the campus electricity through renewable resources, which will reduce the emission of carbon dioxide by 2.3 million pounds each year. It will also reduce sulfur oxide emissions by 17,254 pounds and nitrogen oxide emissions by 3,612 pounds per year. “Our environment is suffering severely,” says Sara Zisa, co-president of the Connecticut College Renewable Energy Club. “The students needed to do something.” The students raised the $1,500 needed to join the co-op as an organizing partner and circulated a petition in support of the $25 premium. The Student Government Association supported the initiative and the college’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved the measure on May 5. “Connecticut College students have challenged every other student body in America to accept responsibility for the energy they consume and the pollution their campuses generate,” says co-op director Bob Maddox. In addition to buying green power, students have pledged to work to reduce the environmental impact of Connecticut College through reduced energy use. The co-op will help students, staff and faculty to develop a strategic energy management plan and audit building energy use, suggesting ways to use energy more efficiently. “This program is very important to Connecticut College’s on-going commitment to be environmentally responsible,” adds college vice president Ulysses Hammond. Connecticut College recently received a GreenCircle award from the state Department of Environmental Protection for “promoting pollution prevention, waste reduction, natural resources conservation and/or environmental awareness.” The electricity will be certified under the Green-e program administered by the Center for Resource Solutions in San Francisco. Companies that use the Green-e logo are monitored and audited by independent companies. Founded in 1911, the private liberal arts college has 1,670 students on a 750 acre campus overlooking Long Island Sound.

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