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WIND TURBINE: The University of Maine at Presque Isle was the first university in Maine to install a mid-size (600 kW) wind turbine on campus. The $2 million project was unveiled in May 2009 with fanfare (and paper balloons). It has not been without controversy, to the point where you might think it was a smokestack belching pollution instead of an energy-generating device. Hardly unexpected when you build something with public dollars, including campus reserves and a $50,000 grant from the Maine Public Utilities Commission, especially given the opposition to wind power. That’s a minority in Maine, but a vocal one, opposing wind power on grounds that range from bird deaths, noise and aesthetics to suspect performance. UMPI’s wind turbine has not yet lived up to its projected potential of producing 700,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually; between July 2012 and Sept. 15, 2014, for instance, it had produced 1.196 million kWh. The wind turbine was supposed to be the equivalent of taking 123 cars off the road every year. It’s close but not quite there (yet). Meanwhile, the College of the Atlantic recently built a small wind turbine (2.4 kW) on its campus. Return to map

SOLAR: Bowdoin began installing a 1.6 million kWh solar project over the summer, the largest solar array in the state. There are more than 4,300 panels spread out over multiple locations, including a 3-acre parcel of the former Navy base lined with ground-mounted towers. The roofs of the hockey rink (see No. 7), the Farley Field House, are now covered with photovoltaic panels and a nearby dorm will also feature solar. The project is expected to supply Bowdoin with 8 percent of its annual electricity usage, reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by 33.4 million pounds in the next 20 years. But Thomas College in Waterville was slightly ahead of the game, installing its Alfond Array in May 2013. Generating 175,000 kWh annually, the Alfond Array supplies Thomas with 10 percent of its electricity needs. Thomas’ Chris Rhoda, vice president for information services and chief investment officer, pointed out that Thomas’ solar provides proportionally more of its campus needs than Bowdoin’s will. (Not that anyone is counting.) Other schools have some solar panels, including UMPI, Unity and the College of the Atlantic. And still others have solar on their wish lists, pending funding. “One option I have been looking at is covered parking with solar panels as a like a tent system to go over parking lots,” said the University of Maine’s sustainability coordinator Daniel Dixon. Return to map

BIOMASS BOILER: Since Colby’s major new venture into green living, a biomass boiler, went online in 2012, practically every sustainability coordinator in Maine has been to Waterville to take a peek. Most have been green with envy. “Very impressive,” said Bowdoin’s sustainability coordinator Keisha Payson. “It’s really beautiful,” said University of Maine’s Dixon. Patricia Whitney, the director of the Colby’s physical plant, said about 80 percent of the steam-heating system on campus is now being produced by wood. “Last year, if we had not been using wood we would have used 920,000 gallons of oil,” Whitney said. That’s $1.5 million in savings. By October, Colby will replace that 20 percent of oil-generated steam with natural gas. Among the pleasant surprises she’s encountered: “We estimated using 22,000 tons of wood,” she said. “And we’re using more like 14,000 tons.” All of it sourced within 50 miles of campus using sustainable forestry practices. Since the plant went online, Colby has discovered – you’ll be jealous of this if you have a yard full of pine trees you can’t burn in your fireplace – the system can handle carefully doled-out amounts of soft wood. Colby has learned a lot, said sustainability coordinator Kevin Bright. “And now we’re trying to pay it forward.” Return to map

HARNESSING WATER FROM SEA AND LAND: Southern Maine Community College in South Portland used maritime engineering technologies to construct a $1 million ocean-based geothermal system in its Lighthouse Building on the shores of Casco Bay. The work on it began in 2009 and construction was completely in early 2011. The building is both heated and cooled by the closed loop system – before it was installed the building used 2,000 gallons of oil annually and had no air conditioning. SMCC says this system is four times as efficient and the college expects a return on the investment in 7.9 years. The project won a 2013 Sustainability Award from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Of course, not every college or university campus is located on the ocean, but as they say, when in Rome. And speaking of geothermal wells, you can find them on campuses all over Maine. Colby, Thomas and Bowdoin all use them in limited capacity. The University of Maine Farmington has 142 wells, 80 installed in the last year on the main quad, Mantor Green, to improve efficiency in heating and cooling in several buildings. “We’ve saved several hundred thousands of dollars a year in terms of heating cost,” said Lucas Kellett, UMF’s sustainability coordinator. Return to map

HEIRLOOM APPLE ORCHARD: In the spring of 2011, Tyler Kidder, assistant director for sustainable programs for the University of Southern Maine, oversaw a project on the Gorham campus to plant an orchard of heirloom apple trees behind Robie-Andrews Hall. The placement was very deliberate; there had been an orchard on campus at the turn of the century. This spring, the fledgling trees were moved from their nursery-style planting to classic orchard-style spacing. Eventually the orchard should be a food source to students or anyone else who wanders by, but Kidder says “the big picture is to expose students to the agricultural history of Maine and to permaculture themes.” To that end, the trees are surrounded by comfrey and either walking onions or mouth garlic, also planted. The comfrey provides healthy mulching, and the members of the alium family act as pest confusers (“smelly and weird and the plants don’t like them,” Kidder says). The project fits right in with USM’s Portland Food Forest off Forest Ave., where the understory of an existing tree canopy was planted with edibles (blueberries, rhubarb, and pear trees). Kidder had to spell reality out to a university official who worried that people would steal from it. “You can’t steal from it,” she said. “It’s public…we are a public institution and we are here for the public good.” Return to map

BIKE THIS WAY: Carbon-free, two-wheeled transportation gets a boost at Maine colleges through a variety of means. The University of Maine redid and expanded its bike paths in Orono with green materials in 2011. They wer in severe disrepair, according to Dixon, the university’s sustainability coordinator, but the broader goal was to encourage more students to keep fit while cutting back on carbon emissions (UMaine’s goal is to be carbon netural by 2040). At Bowdoin, students borrow bikes through what’s called Yellow Bike Club program, which helped earn the college silver status as a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists. At Bates in Lewiston, they’re called Green Bikes. Either way, the bikes are loaned out, either by the day or for the whole semester. The college helps with general maintenance and in some cases issues warnings to make sure the bikes are locked. (Theft can be a problem.) Colby has a similar program, started in 2008 and dubbed iBike, which loans 15 bikes to students and staff. Return to map

RINKS, POOLS AND FITNESS: In 2009 Bowdoin was the first in the nation to open a newly constructed (versus retrofitted) environmentally-friendly hockey rink. How did a massive user of energy like a hockey rink get green? The Sidney J. Watson arena features low-flow showers and toilets, an infrared camera that tracks the ice temperature, reflective roof material to minimize the need to cool the facility. Thirty percent of the building products were pre- and post-consumer recycled material, and 40 percent of the building materials came from within 500 miles. Dixon, the sustainability coordinator for UMaine, said the recent $4.85 million renovation of the Orono campus’s Alfond Arena has brought it up to LEED standards. Meanwhile, at the University of Maine Farmington, the campus swimming pool is heated by geothermal wells. A major effort to revamp the lighting system for increased efficiency at USM included a tuneup to the athletic facilities. “They did this control board so that the coaches can hit a button and light the field the way they need it,” said Kidder, the sustainability coordinator at USM. “Not only are the lights more efficient, but they are on a lot less.” Return to map

DORMS OF THE FUTURE: There are LEED-certified residence halls at several Maine schools, including Bowdoin, the University of Maine Farmington and Colby, where 1 in 5 students or faculty live in them. The College of the Atlantic has four residences with recycled cellulose insulation, passive solar energy, wood pellet boilers and composting toilets. But it’s hard to top Unity College for forward thinking when it comes to dorms. The college was the first in the nation to build a residence hall that adheres to the Passive Standard (translation: a well-insulated, airtight building primarily heated by passive solar gain). Not all that surprising for a college founded with the mission to emphasize the environment and natural resources. But check out these numbers: The Terrahaus, which at 2,100 square feet is the size of an average Maine home, cost $214 to heat last winter. That’s about the cost of 60 gallons of oil (although the heat is generated from an electric air source heat pump). You know, what you used on Jan. 12 and 13 last year, at the height of the Polar Vortex. We’re going to let Unity’s sustainability coordinator, Steve Kahl, boast about Terrahaus because frankly, the numbers have left us faint with jealousy. “We turned the heat off in Terrahaus for 20 days in January,” he told us. “At the end of 20 days, the temperature was still 60 degrees.” Terrahaus cost only about 7 percent more than a standard home to build, according to Kahl. Unity is just finishing work on a new 70-bed resident hall constructed to LEED Silver standards. Return to map

PERMACULTURE: At UMaine, Terrell House serves as Maine higher education’s only Permaculture Living & Learning Center. What does that mean? Everyone who lives there is part of an intentional community built around permaculture ethics. There’s a community garden, workshops, skill-sharing sessions, the occasional permablitz and an overarching principle that residents will live within the model of a natural ecosystem. “It’s a showcase,” said Dan Dixon, UMaine’s sustainability coordinator. The house originally belonged to Professor Carroll F. Terrell, a poet and founder of the National Poetry Foundation, who wanted  a house that would combine structural longevity with energy efficiency. Local contractor R. W. Estella designed and built the house for Terrell and Professor C. Hill, a mechanical engineer and energy innovator regularly monitored and recorded its energy efficiency. The professor lived there until his death in 2003. It served for several years as a residence for other faculty but was sitting empty in 2012 when the decision was made to turn it into a living and learning center. The first new residents (shall we call them permaculturers?) moved in late that summer. Return to map

HOOP HOUSES: Community gardens are great and many colleges have them. Bowdoin used leased space for its organic garden but now has a big garden near the campus (and convenient to the kitchen of the main dining hall, which puts the produce to use). But Maine colleges are also building greenhouses or high tunnels to extend the growing season. At UMaine, a campus group called UMaine Greens operates a business growing greens and grains in two high tunnels, 26 by 96 feet, that extend the growing season and allow them to sell produce back to the University (salad at the Bear’s Den!). The hoop houses are located conveniently close to the composting facility (see No. 15) and pay for themselves, according to sustainability coordinator Dixon. At Unity, the college received a major donation in 2013, Half Moon Gardens in Thorndike, a sizable greenhouse operation (five greenhouses, one hoop house) located just five miles from campus. Colby’s student gardeners have been growing vegetables and fruits in a campus garden since 2007; they have a greenhouse, but it’s used only for getting seedlings started in the spring. At UMPI, students are exploring building hoop houses. Return to map

FARMS: It used to be that parents and students toured campuses checking out the size of the library and the equipment in the fitness center. In Maine these days, a campus tour is as likely to include a look at the campus farm. They’re practically a requirement. St. Joseph’s in Standish has owned the Pearson Town Farm since 2010, and out in the barn the college’s nursing students might be found coaxing baby goats into the world. Kennebec Valley Community College has opened its new Harold Alfond Campus on the site of the former Good Will-Hinckley School, which includes a 120-acre farm that will serve as a teaching facility for KVCC’s sustainable agriculture students. Meanwhile, at Unity College, the school’s barn is home to San Clemente goats, Delaware chickens, Katahdin sheep and Silver Fox rabbits, all used as part of the experiential learning process. Of course, farming has always been a part of the curriculum at UMaine, a land grant college from its beginnings. Both Rogers and Witter Farms near the Orono campus serve as research and teaching facilities. Return to map

SUPER FARM: There are campus farms and then there are farms at the College of the Atlantic. All organic Beech Hill Farm provides fresh produce (and heirloom apples) from six acres for the campus, for locals through its farm stand, and for donations to food banks in the Mount Desert Island region. Students have souped it up as part of their course of study, project-managing the addition of solar panels, a small wind turbine (2.4 kWh) and a drip irrigation system as well as heat pumps for the farmhouse and a secondary structure on the farm. The whole campus is moving toward carbon neutrality without buying offset credits but Beech Hill in particularly is steaming toward that goal. A second farm, Peggy Rockefeller Farms, which was donated to COA in 2010, is even bigger and includes livestock and hay production, market gardening and a 62-acre woodlot. Return to map

FOUR-WHEEL DRIVING: The modern-day version of the carpool is obviously the Zipcar. Students at Bates, Bowdoin and Colby have access to the national chain’s short-term rentals, generally hybrids, available for annual membership costs of $35 and hourly and daily rates. Bates has six electric utility vehicles for campus services and Bowdoin acquired an electric Chevy Volt to add to its fleet this year. But the College of the Atlantic might trump all. Students there have built an electric car (they call it Lil’EV) and purchased a full-sized van (goes by the name of Evan) to run students between the Bar Harbor campus and COA’s nearby farms (see No. 12). There is a charging station on campus. Lil’EV has been known to do double sustainability duty, shuttling the compost between the cafeteria and the compost area on campus. Instructor Anna Demeo, who oversaw the construction of Lil’EV – from a kit – describes the 10-week building process as “almost like a reality show.” The schematics were sparse, no one had built a car before, but “everybody rolled up their sleeves,” she said. And the thing runs. “It was an incredible learning experience.” Return to map

TRAYLESS DINING: Remember that time you took like three puddings with your plate of bad dining hall spaghetti, just because you could and your tray was big? Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find a tray in a campus dining facility in Maine. From Bates to St. Joseph’s to Thomas College, students take what they want without using a tray to hold it all. Take less, waste less. This sounds like a little thing, but sustainability coordinators swear by it as a savings measure on multiple levels. “We reduced our waste by 30 percent or something like that on the trayless thing,” said Thomas College’s Chris Rhoda. Thomas is known not as a “green” college but as a business college, he added. As such, keeping costs, and thus tuition, down for the 1,000 students, provides huge incentives. Like many others, Rhoda made it clear that going green saves greenbacks. At St. Joe’s, there’s also a new take on takeout. “A fabulous thing we did early on was we got rid of all the disposable to-go containers in the dining room,” said sustainability coordinator Jeanne Gulnick. That was 2008, when she said there were cast-off Styrofoam shells “everywhere” on campus. Now students purchase a reusable Tupperware container, take it home with them and the next time they come in the cafeteria – or let’s be rational, they’re college students, how about the next month? – return it and help themselves to a clean one. Return to map

COMPOSTING: Eco-conscious Unity and the College of the Atlantic do it (naturally) but so do Bowdoin, Colby and public schools, including UMF and UMaine, which recently purchased an advanced composting system called an “Earth Flow” (the size of a long thin garage) that aerates its waste into rich compost for campus use in 51 days flat. But Bates is the recognized forerunner in this ultimate form of food recycling, serving as one of the EPA’s examples of best management practices for colleges and universities. The college implemented a new food program in 1994 to cut back on solid waste bound for Lewiston’s landfill and wastewater bound for Maine rivers. (Bates calculated about 4,000 pounds of food was being wasted a week. Running it through a garbage disposal used excess energy and water, plus the remnants of food decreased river water quality). Now Bates sends the food scraps to a local pig farmer and items like its unbleached 100-percent recycled paper napkins (15,400 pounds a year) and fruit and vegetable peelings (211,600 lbs a year) to a nearby farm in Lisbon to be composted. Return to map