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Take the Pledge

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Energy Campaign kicks off April 15, seeks 2,000 individual conservation pledges

Pledges, practices, and projects are the focus of Dartmouth’s new Energy Campaign, which kicks off on Wednesday, April 15, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Collis Center. All Dartmouth students, faculty, and staff are invited to learn about the College’s energy programs and sign the energy conservation pledge.


Marissa Knodel ’09, student organizer of the energy pledge. (Photo by Joseph Mehling ’69, design by Jermaine Johnson and Jennifer Hopkins)

“The campaign tackles energy use on all fronts,” says Sustainability Manager Kathy Lambert ’90, noting that it promotes conservation through individual pledges, energy-saving practices, and major energy efficiency projects.

The goals are to reduce annual electricity consumption by 5 to 10 percent, cut annual greenhouse gas emissions by 3 to 5 percent, and collect 2,000 energy conservation pledges during April and May. The campaign supports the broader effort to reduce Dartmouth’s greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2015, 25 percent by 2020, and at least 30 percent by the year 2030. President James Wright announced these targets in fall 2008.

Make the commitment: The energy pledge is an individual commitment to reduce energy use by taking 8 to 12 actions (see sidebar below). Pledges can be taken at the kickoff event or online starting April 15. “We selected actions for the pledge that we can all directly control,” says Marissa Knodel ’09, student organizer of the energy pledge. “We hope that students, faculty, and staff will take the pledge because together, small actions can have a measurable impact.”

Energy Campaign Kickoff

Wednesday, April 15, in Collis Center

3-6 p.m.:  Information tables, pledge signing, and refreshments

3:30-4:45: Speeches by: Marissa Knodel '09, President James Wright, College Energy Engineer Steve Shadford, and Computer Science Professor Lorie Loeb

4:45-5:30: Performances by student a capella groups

Take the energy pledge starting April 15 at the kick-off event, or online.

I pledge to take 8 to 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 light

Wash my clothes in cold water

Bring back the tap

Cut my shower time

Adjust thermostats

Keep my windows closed in winter

Use a fan instead of air conditioning

Track campus energy use

Dartmouth will allocate $5 for each pledge (up to 2,000 pledges) for a renewable energy project on campus. Students will also distribute energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs at the kickoff event and at pledge tables throughout the campaign. Pledges will be tracked online, with an animation of Baker Tower designed by Kate Schnippering ’10.

To help students measure the impact of their actions, the energy monitoring project GreenLite Dartmouth will be expanded to additional student residences. Started in the McLaughlin Cluster residence halls in 2008, the project motivates behavioral change through real-time feedback on energy consumption. It was developed by students, with support from faculty in computer science and digital arts.

Putting it into practice: Another component of the campaign is expanding energy-saving practices for offices, classrooms, and laboratories. Examples include reducing reliance on water coolers, setting computers to automatically power down, and promoting the use of Energy Star-rated appliances. These initiatives are being developed in cooperation with Dartmouth’s Resource Working Group, a campus-wide committee that identifies energy- and cost-saving opportunities.

Constructing solutions: The campaign also involves infrastructure projects already underway, such as more efficient lighting for the West Gym and other athletic venues, reconfiguring fume hood controls in Steele Hall, and improving the heating and air conditioning systems in the Hopkins Center.

“These projects might be largely invisible, but they are critical to meeting the College’s greenhouse gas reduction goals,” says Dartmouth’s Energy Engineer Steve Shadford. “Our program is based on an energy audit of the buildings that use the most energy.”

As the campaign continues through April 2010, progress will be tracked via energy meters in buildings across campus and reported online

The campaign is organized by an alliance that includes the student Environmental Conservation Organization; Student Assembly; Residential Life; the Dartmouth Sustainability Initiative; and Facilities, Operations and Management. Additional support is provided by GreenLite Dartmouth; Computer Science; the Neukom Institute; and the Institute for Internet Security, Technology, and Society.


Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.

Last Updated: 4/9/09