President Wright spoke at the Sept. 27 dedication of the Sustainable Living Center, new eco-conscious student housing in North Hall. (Photo by Kawakahi Kaeo Amina '09)
President James Wright has announced that Dartmouth will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30 percent from 2005 levels by the year 2030. The College also will invest $12.5 million over the next five to seven years in energy-saving upgrades to existing buildings.
"There is no doubt that energy, sustainability, and climate change will be the defining challenges of this century," Wright says. "Dartmouth, which has a long tradition of leadership on environmental issues, is proud to make this pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." The plan was recommended by the Energy Task Force, co-chaired by Ken Packard, assistant director of engineering and utilities in Facilities Operations and Management (FO&M), and Matt Purcell, associate director of Planning, Design, and Construction.
FO&M energy engineer Steve Shadford, also a member of the task force, will oversee many of the renovations and upgrades. Shadford explains that the plan combines demand-side energy reductions, supply-side efficiency improvements, and high-performance new building and renovation design. For example, a 50-year-old boiler in the heating plant is being replaced with a modern one that will operate more efficiently. Other planned upgrades include illuminating work areas more efficiently, upgrading single-pane windows to double-pane, automating energy meters in many campus buildings, and modifying HVAC systems to optimize the use of outdoor air for ventilation.
"When fully implemented, we project annual savings of over $2 million, with a payback in the range of four to five years," says Shadford of the $12.5 million investment. "With highly volatile energy prices, it is hard to predict day-to-day economics, but it is easy to recognize this program as an exceptionally good financial investment."
Sustainability Manager Kathleen Lambert '90 and Steve Shadford of FO&M will lead implementation of the emissions reduction strategy (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)
The plan calls for an initial 20 percent reduction in emissions by 2015 and a subsequent 25 percent reduction by 2020. Sustainability Manager Kathy Lambert '90 adds, "The plan requires that we evaluate each milestone as it approaches to determine whether it is possible to set a more aggressive target. This is an important feature as we will learn a lot about energy use on campus during this process and new technologies may become available."
Lambert and Shadford also stress the importance of energy conservation. "Technology and efficiency upgrades are important, but to reach these goals we need to work together to decrease our collective energy use," says Lambert. "The small things we all do to help save energy can make a big difference in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions."
By SUSAN KNAPP
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Last Updated: 12/17/08