Did you know that Hobart and William Smith Colleges produce less carbon per student than several of the top liberal arts colleges in the country? In fact, the Colleges emit approximately 7.99 tons of carbon per student compared to Smith College’s 11.59 tons per student and Middlebury’s 14.5 tons per student (HWS Greenhouse Gas Inventory, 2007). Still, if you figure that HWS currently enroll 2,099 students, based on our 2007 per student emission level we are talking about 16,771 tons of carbon equivalent annually – a lot of CO2e!
The Colleges have, however, made steady progress toward reducing this number. Between the 2009 and 2010 academic years HWS achieved a 9 percent reduction in overall energy consumption leading to an estimated 6 percent reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions. Reductions were achieved through a wide array of initiatives happening all around campus. For example, 80 percent of the boilers on campus have been replaced with high efficiency boilers, a 68-70 degree heating set-point has been established to balance energy efficiency and comfort in buildings, and more than 95 percent of campus lighting has been switched to high efficiency variety – the Colleges are even trying out cutting-edge L.E.D. technology.
Sustainability Coordinator Jamie Landi believes that the next big emission reduction will stem from ‘front end’ energy conservation — students, faculty and staff doing the easy things such as turning off lights, keeping windows closed, and shutting down computers. Landi explains that building occupants have significant control over energy consumption and can, with very little effort and often times added comfort decrease the emissions that the building systems produce.
To that end, the HWS Goes Green Program launched the Issue of the Month Campaign. The issue of the month program was designed to “get out the word” about greenhouse gas reduction and the Colleges’ commitment to eliminate emissions by 2025. In October they tackled the issue of electricity with a capstone light bulb exchange event. November’s “Issue” was campus heating, and focused on the Colleges’ first student energy inventory. December’s Issue of the Month focused on alternative transportation and included a ZipCar questionnaire designed to assess the viability of the car share program at HWS. In addition, December’s alternative transportation encouraged the Colleges’ RideBoard Program and HWS supported shuttle services.