Because tomorrow’s world will flourish or fail due to the environmental choices we make today, our focus on the future means acting now — when it counts.
It means we lead, so others will follow. Learning new ways to create sustainability on campus has been a central priority here since we declared our environmental mission in 1995. And we’ve set big goals for the future through our strategic plan Sustainability 2020, including our commitment to adopt 100% renewable energy by the end of this decade. And it’s also why we were first to reach climate neutrality through an innovative blend of efficiency, clean energy, and local carbon offsets. We’re the first in the nation to be named an EPA Energy Star campus, and earned a Gold Rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. GMC was named the #2 school in Princeton Review’s Green Honor Roll this year and is a consistent top ten finisher in Sierra Magazine’s annual “Cool Schools List.”
What’s revolutionary about our culture of sustainability is that it’s you — the student — who is often the engine of change, the source for bold new ideas. Like a biomass facility that generates 85% of the heat used on campus. A solar array and windmill conceived and strategized by students and recent graduates. And joint community projects such as Poultney Thanks & Giving, which build social capital, foster goodwill, and interweave the fabric of our college with the town life of Poultney, Vermont.
The future happens now at Green Mountain College. Join us.
Ten years ago, students in an honors seminar investigated ways to reduce Green Mountain College’s ecological footprint. The class identified the biggest source of carbon emissions–the college’s heating plant, which burned fuel oil.
The semester ended, but the ideas the class generated were very much alive.
Students persuaded their peers to use student funds for an engineering study, which recommended converting GMC’s heating plant fuel from oil to a renewable energy source—woodchips harvested from local forests. Approvals from the College administration and board of trustees followed.
Five years ago, the college unveiled a new $5.8 million biomass plant. Today it generates 85% of our annual heating needs.
The biomass facility is an example of how we draw inspiration from each other and put ideas into action. Biomass is a big factor in how GMC became the second college in the nation to reach carbon neutrality.
Now we’re working toward our goal of meeting all our energy needs on campus with 100% renewable energy by the year 2020.