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Connecticut College continues to offset energy usage

NEW LONDON, Conn. - Connecticut College's commitment to sustainability is literally blowing in the wind. The College has purchased wind renewable energy certificates (RECs) to offset an estimated 100 percent of the college's annual electricity consumption. This marks the third year Connecticut College has offset electricity consumption by nearly 100 percent.

At the Dec. 12 meeting, the college's Environmental Model Committee voted unanimously to support the purchase of RECs, and the Student Government Association approved the purchase at its Jan. 29 meeting. The college began purchasing RECs seven years ago after the student-run Renewable Energy Club asked students if they would support a $25 increase to the college's comprehensive fee to start a Renewable Energy Fund. The proposal passed, and since then, students have contributed to support renewable energy on campus through that fund and in accordance with the college's Renewable Energy Policy. This policy authorizes the college to use the funds to purchase renewable energy either through RECs, directly from a source of generation, through a local utility, or by establishing renewable energy sources on campus.

"The purchase of RECs provides support for renewable energy such as wind, adding these energy sources to the national electric grid," said Amy Cabaniss, Campus Environmental Coordinator. Connecticut College Vice President for Administration Ulysses Hammond said the purchase of the certificates fits with the College's commitment to environmental stewardship. "The purchase of RECs to offset 100 percent of the college's annual electricity consumption is an aggressive demonstration of Connecticut College's commitment as a leader in environmental sustainability," said Hammond.

While the college is purchasing wind RECs to offset electricity usage, faculty, staff and students continue to work to reduce campus electricity use. Patrick Wallace '09, the Student Government Association's environmental representative said, "It's important that we all do the little things like turning off lights when they're not in use and encouraging others to do the same."

Concert from Conservation, a student initiative intended to reduce consumption in the residence halls, is one of the largest energy conservation initiatives. A percentage of the money saved by conserving energy in the residence halls is used to sponsor a concert on campus.

The comprehensive campus Environmental Sustainability Baseline Assessment, which took place at the end of October 2008 and will be released in the coming weeks, provides recommendations on ways the college can continue to decrease energy consumption. A renewable energy assessment for the campus is also being considered to further the college's on-site generation. Currently the college has a 10 kW array of solar panels atop Park residence hall.

February 25, 2009