In September 2008, I was pleased to underline Dartmouth’s environmental commitment by announcing that the College will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30 percent by the year 2030. The Board has approved a $12.5 million investment to upgrade existing facilities’ energy efficiency, decreasing our energy consumption. In keeping with our master plan, new facilities have been constructed to allow as much green space as possible, and we have continued to construct new buildings according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. These more recent buildings have consistently achieved LEED silver or gold ratings.
Institutionally the College has committed to helping staff and faculty live “green” by supporting regional and local transportation, providing shower facilities for those who bike to work, and helping employees begin car- and vanpools. Since 1904, Dartmouth has co-generated its own electricity, and currently the College produces more than 40 percent of its own power. By investing in triple-pane windows and efficient heating systems, we have also substantially decreased our energy consumption. Our sustainable woodlands management at the Second College Grant is an increasingly important model for how to balance habitat protection, recreation, education, and forestry.
The Dartmouth community has also embraced sustainability in a variety of ways: students practice sustainable agriculture at the Organic Farm, and we provide local and organic foods in dining halls. Since 2005, students have taken cross-country trips in a retrofitted school bus, called “The Big Green Bus,” that uses waste vegetable oil—conducting educational programs and raising awareness of climate change along the way. In fall 2008 we opened a Sustainable Living Center in a residence hall. Students residing in the center not only practice “green” living but also help educate the campus community about sustainable living. Of course the Dartmouth Outing Club, which will celebrate its centennial in 2009, fosters a deep sense of appreciation of and responsibility for the natural world, beginning with First Year Trips. Our history of academic exploration in environmental science and our commitment to policies and practices that support sustainability have established the College as a leader in this increasingly important area.