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Dartmouth's energy campaign targets pledges, practices, and efficiency projects

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 04/13/09 • Media Contact: Susan Knapp (603) 646-3661

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Energy CampaignMarissa Knodel '09, student organizer of the energy pledge. (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69, design by Jermaine Johnson and Jennifer Hopkins)
THE PLEDGE: I pledge to take 8-12 of the following actions to reduce my carbon footprint and conserve energy.
  • Put my computer to sleep
  • Ban phantom loads
  • Share a fridge
  • When in doubt, turn lights out
  • Switch to a compact fluorescent lamp
  • Wash my clothes in cold water
  • Bring back the tap (water)
  • Cut my shower time
  • Adjust thermostats
  • Keep my windows closed in winter
  • Use a fan instead of air conditioning
  • Track campus energy use

Pledges, practices, and projects are the hallmarks of Dartmouth’s new Energy Campaign, which kicks off April 15 from 3-6 pm at the Collis Student Center on the Dartmouth Campus. The program aims to conserve energy through individual pledges, energy-saving practices, and major energy-efficiency projects.

“The campaign tackles energy use on all fronts,” says Dartmouth Sustainability Manager Kathy Lambert, a member of the class of 1990. The campaign goals are to reduce annual electricity consumption by 5 to 10 percent, reduce greenhouse gas emissions annually by three to five percent, and collect 2,000 pledges. The Energy Campaign contributes to helping the institution reach its greenhouse gas reduction goals as set out in September 2008 by Dartmouth President James Wright. The College aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30 percent by the year 2030, starting with a pledge to a 20 percent reduction by 2015.

PLEDGES: Lambert explains that the most visible part of the campaign is the individual energy pledge, an online commitment that students, faculty, and staff can take to reduce energy use (see list of actions to the right). Starting April 15, the pledge is at

“We selected actions for the pledge that we all directly control,” says Marissa Knodel, a member of the class of 2009, and the student organizer of the energy pledge. “We are hoping that at least 2,000 people will take the pledge and make these changes, because together, these small actions can have a measurable impact on our energy consumption.”

As incentive to join, Dartmouth will allocate $5 for each pledge (up to 2,000 pledges) to a renewable energy project on campus, and students will hand out energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs as they gather pledges. Pledges will be tracked on-line using an animated Baker Tower by Kate Schnippering, a member of the class of 2010. GreenLite Dartmouth, an energy monitoring project developed by Lorie Loeb, a research associate professor of computer science, and her students will also be installed in more student residences to provide real-time energy feedback and motivate behavioral change.

PRACTICES: The second component of the Energy Campaign focuses on expanding energy-saving practices for offices, classrooms, and laboratories – initiatives that have been outlined in cooperation with Dartmouth’s Resource Working Group, a campus-wide committee dedicated to indentifying energy- and money-saving programs. Examples include reducing reliance on water coolers, setting classroom computers and public terminals to automatically power down, using timers on office equipment, and promoting the use of Energy Star-rated appliances.

PROJECTS: The third component of the Energy Campaign involves large infrastructure projects underway across campus, such as redesigning the lighting for the West Gym and other athletic venues, reconfiguring fume hood controls in Steele Hall, and addressing HVAC issues in the Hopkins Center. “These projects might be invisible to most people, but they are critical to meeting the College’s greenhouse gas reduction goals,” says Energy Engineer Steve Shadford, with the Department of Facilities, Operations and Management. “We are implementing an extensive energy efficiency program based on an energy audit of the buildings that use the most energy on campus.”

As the pledges, practices, and projects continue throughout the year, progress will be reported online at

The Dartmouth Energy Campaign is organized by a cross-campus alliance that includes the student Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO), the Student Assembly, the Office of Residential Life, the Dartmouth Sustainability Initiative, and the Department of Facilities, Operations and Management with additional support and participation from GreenLite Dartmouth, the Computer Science Department, the Neukom Institute for Computational Science, and the Institute for Internet Security, Technology and Society.

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

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