Progress Report for Bowdoin College
Submitted on Dec. 15, 2011; Last updated on Feb. 27, 2013
The Progress Report is intended to help signatories assess and track progress toward the goals outlined
in their Climate Action Plans and to share that progress with their stakeholders and the general public.
click on a section heading below to expand its content; click again to collapse
Bowdoin is greatly encouraged by the 16% reduction in GHG emissions made during the three years since the ACUPCC carbon reduction plan was adopted. Achieving carbon neutrality, however, will take time and dedication. Looking forward, we are excited about the many ongoing efforts to reduce GHG emissions at the College.
In the next 2 years, specific projects to look for include:
• Cogeneration in the central heating plant (winter 2011) that is estimated to reduce the College’s annual electricity usage by as much as 10%;
• The Working Group on Sustainability's implementation of the following proposals (2012):
-making the behavioral goals of the carbon neutrality plan visible, clear, and easy to understand;
-generating bottom-up support and engagement through the development of specific action items that help attain energy conservation and emissions reductions;
-developing ways to build a campus culture that includes sustainability as a core principle ; and
-assessing the effectiveness/meaningfulness of carbon neutrality/sustainability as an overall part of the Bowdoin experience.
• lighting upgrades in Hubbard Hall, Sargent Gymnasium, and other locations (ongoing);
• expansion of the College’s Web-based Building Dashboard®, which makes Bowdoin’s energy use visible, engaging, and easily understood by students, faculty, staff, and guests (ongoing); and
• continued progress in switching the remaining satellite facilities from No. 2 heating oil to lower carbon natural gas (ongoing).
For the full 2011 Climate Neutrality Plan Update please click on the link listed below.
|Climate Neutrality Target Date:||2020|
|Interim Milestone Emission-Reduction Target||Target Date||Baseline*|
|17% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions||by 2013||relative to baseline emissions in 2008|
|27% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions||by 2018||relative to baseline emissions in 2008|
|Reporting Year||Gross Emissions||Net Emissions||Full Time Enrollments||Total Bldg. Sq. Ft.||[action]|
|2008||24557.0||17166.0||1710.0||1957788.0||[ view ]|
|2010||17880.0||13321.0||1750.0||2054325.0||[ view ]|
|2011||16086.0||12676.0||1761.0||1997916.0||[ view ]|
|2012||14467.0||11382.39||1780.0||2035038.0||[ view ]|
Change in GHG gross emissions
Change in GHG emissions per 1000 sq.ft. building space
Change in GHG emissions per full time enrollment (FTE)
How is your institution making climate neutrality and sustainability a part of the curriculum and other educational experiences for all students?Bowdoin College incorporates sustainability into many aspects of the curriculum. The College offers an Introduction to Environmental Studies class that incorporates a module on climate change policy. The Environmental Studies Program, as an interdisciplinary program includes courses within the humanities, social and natural science disciplines that either have a specific focus on sustainability or include course lectures and modules on sustainability. Examples of these courses include The Physics of Climate; Oceans and Climate; Energy, Climate, and Air Quality; Environmental Law; Community, Ecosystem, and Global Change Ecology; Sustainable Architecture; Environment and Culture in North American History, and Global Justice. In addition, students have the option to pursue Honors or Independent Study projects that enable students to work with faculty on directed research related to an area of interest. Examples of recent Honors or Independent Study projects with a focus on sustainability and carbon neutrality include: “What makes an electricity company “good”?: economic motivation and government policies for low-carbon electricity deployment in American states”; “Changing Maine’s Energy Paradigm: Electrifying Vehicles and Home Heating Systems with Indigenous Offshore Wind Power”; “Climate Adaptation and Coastal Vulnerability – An Analysis”. A second dimension of the students’ learning experience is co-curricular programming. During the 2010-2011 academic year, the focus of the program’s co-curricular programming was local - the role of food systems in climate change and sustainability. Examples of these events included a Meatless Monday event, “Why we favor organic and local foods”, a program that involved tapping trees and making maple syrup, and a dinner with local fishermen. The series culminated in a talk by Wes Jackson of the Land Institute. There are several student groups on campus that have a sustainability focus which include the Green Bowdoin Alliance, the Evergreens, Green Global Initiatives, and Yellow Bike Club which leases bikes to Bowdoin students. Through these groups, students have participated in national events including Power Shift in the Spring of 2011 and a 350 sponsored Climate Change event in November of 2011. In addition, two students serve on the college's Working Group on Sustainability. Finally, incoming students have the opportunity to participate in a Pre-Orientation Program and Weekend Service Trips that focus on local sustainability initiatives.
Education methods in use
- Other - The Environmental Studies program is a unique program at Bowdoin College in that the students must combine this major with a departmental major. As a result, all but three of the program’s offerings are cross-listed with other departments, for a total of 17 different departments.
Does your institution offer an undergraduate degree program(s) related to climate change/sustainability?see STARs report for Bowdoin College
Does your institution offer a graduate degree program in climate change/sustainability?see STARs report for Bowdoin College
If applicable, how is your institution expanding research efforts toward the achievement of climate neutrality research?Bowdoin College is a recipient of an NSF grant through Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative. Five faculty and one staff person are engaged on river restoration work that includes a component of evaluating the role of hydropower along two of Maine’s rivers. In addition to the Sustainability Solutions’ Initiative, Bowdoin faculty are participants in an NSF grant “Mathematics and Climate Change Network”. During the academic year 2010-2011, Bowdoin faculty and staff conducted research on climate adaptation and its impact on coastal infrastructure in connection with the Maine Coastal Program and Maine Department of Environmental Protection. A journal article summarizing this research will be published in December of 2011. Faculty contribute regularly to publications on sustainability research currently underway at the college. Two examples include an article on the implications of climate adaption for coastal infrastructure, and the role of capstone courses as a means for engaging students in the development of climate action plans. As mentioned above, faculty engage with students through Honors and Independent Study projects that focus on climate change and sustainability. See above for a list of recent projects. Students also have the opportunity to apply for institutional research fellowships that focus on sustainability and climate change. Research projects funded during the 2010-2011 year include a project examining the potential of tapping CO2 emissions for production of algae, an examination of the challenges faced by the Gulf of Maine fisheries, and the development of a website for Bowdoin’s Climate Neutrality program.
Does your institution have a program to encourage student climate and or sustainability research?see STARs report for Bowdoin College
Does your institution have a program to encourage faculty climate and or sustainability research?see STARs report for Bowdoin College
How is your institution expanding community outreach efforts toward the achievement of climate neutrality?Students have opportunities to participate in a wide range of outreach activities during their time at Bowdoin College. Students engage in community projects through community based courses. Examples of courses that incorporate community based projects with a sustainability focus are: Telling Environmental Stories; Ecological Thought in Latin American Literature; Ecological Recovery of Maine’s Coastal Ecosystem; Perspectives in Environmental Studies; and Introduction to GIS. The McKeen Center for the Common Good provides opportunities for volunteering with local organizations such as Habitat for Humanity’s weatherization program, and at local farms. The Environmental Program offers a “Sustainability” and “Environmental Justice” fellowship that provides students with the opportunity to work directly with organizations and communities in these areas. In addition, the ES Program manages a summer fellowship program that funds students to work with Maine communities and nonprofits. Past projects have included development of a strategic plan for farmland conservation, updating community Climate Action Plans, researching opportunities for off-shore wind development, and working with organizations on the passage of energy legislation. The Environmental Studies Program also works closely with the community in the development of co-curricular programming that addresses local issues. As mentioned earlier, this past year’s focus has been on the sustainability of local agriculture and Gulf of Maine fisheries. In addition to the fellowships provided by the Environmental Studies Program, Bowdoin College provides opportunities for students to receive funding to work throughout the world within both the nonprofit and the private sector. Examples of recent outreach activities funded through the Career Planning Center include working on sustainable water systems in Haiti, working with Green Businesses in Philadelphia, and working on local fisheries in South Africa.
Does your institution participate in community climate change and or sustainability partnerships?see STARs report for Bowdoin College
Has your institution advocated for federal, state, and/or local public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance your goal of climate neutrality?see STARs report for Bowdoin College
Energy Efficiency Projects
Number of Energy Efficiency Retrofit Projects planned, but not yet implemented:22
Number of Energy Efficiency Retrofit Projects completed since signing the ACUPCC:77
Number of buildings that have received a green building certification since signing the ACUPCC:2
Number of green buildings planned or scheduled for completion in the next 2 years:1
For all buildings, the green building certification/rating used is:USGBC:LEED
Annual output (in kWhs) for each renewable energy system utilized by Bowdoin College
- Solar output: 86302 kWh
- Annual renewable energy purchased: 13900 kWh
- Other GHG mitigation efforts:
During the summer of 2011 Bowdoin added cogeneration to its central heating plant. It is estimated that once it is operating (winter 2011/2012), the 630-kilowatt back-pressure steam turbine generator will generate 1.65 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, nearly 10 percent of the College's annual electricity consumption.
Has your Climate Action Plan and/or related sustainability efforts saved your institution money so far, e.g. by reducing operational expenses?yes
Amount spent on CAP projects:$1-10M
Financial resources (dollar amount) secured from outside sources to support mitigation efforts related to the Climate Action Plan (grants, gifts, etc...) :454609
Additional information on secured outside funding:The majority of outside funding has come from the Efficiency Maine Trust. Since 2009, the College has received more than $150,000 from the Efficiency Maine Trust's rebate programs. Included in this total were two $50,000 grants for solar hot water installations. The remaining $50,000 plus was awarded in the form of rebates for energy efficiency projects. In addition to rebate program funding, Bowdoin received a $400,000 grant from the Efficiency Maine Trust to help fund the central heating plant’s new cogeneration system.
for the second solar installation grant press release.
- Financing Methods utilized for Mitigation or Renewable Energy Projects:
Many energy conservation or carbon reducing initiatives with a payback of 0 – 3 years have been funded within the existing annual operating budget. From FY09 through FY11, the College’s annual operating budget has contributed more than $800K in funding. In addition, the major maintenance and capital renewal budget has funded energy conservation projects totaling more than $600K through FY11.
For more information about Bowdoin College's climate & sustainability efforts please click here