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Green Mountain College Becomes Cow Power Campus

Poultney, Vermont (October 26, 2006)- In a state where it’s often theorized there are more cows than people, Green Mountain College believes it may now be the nation’s first cow-powered campus. The sustainably-focused liberal arts college of 750 students has just announced its enrollment in Central Vermont Public Service’s Cow PowerTM program, through which the utility delivers energy created from burning methane from cow manure on Vermont dairy farms.

This initiative helps the college do its part to address global warming by reducing its carbon emissions by 3500 metric tons, or the equivalent of removing 758 passenger cars from use for a year.

The College has committed to designate 50% of its main campus as Cow Power and 100% on all its other accounts, which include the president’s house, the college farm, the college inn and alumni house, and an off-campus residence hall in Killington, VT. Total Cow Power enrollment will be approximately 1.2 million kilowatt-hours annually.

“This is a great step for us toward a sustainably-powered campus,” said Provost Bill Throop during a tour of the Blue Spruce farm in Bridport, VT Thursday. “We are very happy to be supporting not just renewable energy, but also the regional economy and the family farms that are so important to the Vermont way of life. It is a good fit with our mission, and departments across campus are supporting the project from their own budgets because they feel it’s a priority.”

College officials were drawn to the idea that, unlike standard renewable energy certificates (also known as “green tags”), which simply ensure that renewable power is produced somewhere, Cow Power has the added benefit of being a regional program where students and employees can actually see the farms where the power is being generated and learn about the process. “We want our students learning how to support sustainable communities right here in Vermont and this helps us lead by example,” Throop says.

Other air and water quality issues are also significant. Farm methane that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere is 20 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Additionally, the methane digestion process removes harmful pathogens from the manure making it much safer in the event of an accidental spill into a body of water.

Cow Power is the College’s latest effort in a string of projects aimed at making the 172-year-old campus more environmentally-friendly. In 1999, the College completed a campus-wide overhaul of its lighting and plumbing fixtures, earning the designation of EPA Energy Star Showcase Campus.

CVPS Cow Power™ directly links consumers and farmers. CVPS customers can choose to receive all, half or a quarter of their electrical energy through Cow Power, and pay a premium of 4 cents per kilowatt hour, which goes to participating farm-producers, to purchase renewable energy credits when enough farm energy isn’t available, or to the CVPS Renewable Development Fund. The fund provides grants to farm owners to develop on-farm generation. Farm-producers are paid 95 percent of the market price for the energy sold to CVPS in addition to the 4-cent premium.

About Green Mountain College
Founded in 1834, Green Mountain College is a private liberal arts institution that takes the environment as a unifying theme across the curriculum. The college offers 25 majors to its 750 students as well as an online M.B.A. in Sustainable Business and an M.S. in Environmental Studies. Green Mountain students hail from most of the United States and from 20 foreign countries. For more information about the college, visit or call 800-776-6675.


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