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News Releases from Region 01

EPA Recognizes Bowdoin College for Energy Efficiency Efforts

Contact Information: 
Dave Deegan (deegan.dave@epa.gov)

BOSTON - Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine is being recognized by EPA with a 2015 Energy Star Combined Heat and Power (CHP) award. CHP technology produces electricity and useful heat simultaneously from a single energy source, such as natural gas, oil, or biomass. For hospital systems and universities, CHP systems can also provide reliability benefits which ensure that these facilities' operations can continue in the event of power outages.

"We are very proud to recognize Bowdoin College for their forward-thinking commitment to maximizing energy efficiency, thus saving money and reducing carbon dioxide and other emissions from their electric power supply system," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "The Energy Star CHP program provides powerful tools and analysis to help institutions save money and better protect our health and climate."

"Bowdoin is grateful for this recognition from the EPA because it underscores a college-wide commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship," said S. Catherine Longley, Bowdoin's senior vice president for finance and administration and treasurer. "As the College moves closer to our goal of carbon neutrality by 2020, we will continue to seek innovative approaches to energy conservation and efficiency, and to take meaningful action to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels."

Using CHP can make reliable power cost-effective and clean. CHP systems typically achieve operating efficiencies of 69 to 75 percent, much higher than the efficiency of separate production of electricity and thermal energy (typically less than 50 percent). Bowdoin's system has an efficiency rating of approximately 87 percent.

This award recognizes Bowdoin College for the superior efficiency of its CHP system that produces 630 kW of electricity and steam that provides space heating and hot water to 1.4 million square feet across 56 campus buildings. Bowdoin's CHP system, designed by RMF Engineering, includes an oil or natural gas-fired boiler and a 630 kW steam turbine manufactured by Dresser-Rand and Turbosteam. With an operating efficiency of nearly 87 percent, the CHP system requires approximately 12 percent less fuel than grid-supplied electricity and conventional steam production. The system also avoids emissions of air pollutants, including an estimated 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually, equal to the emissions from the generation of electricity used by nearly 130 homes.

The college reports that the CHP system was smoothly integrated into plant operations in March of 2012, and campus energy managers were able to successfully operate and maintain the equipment with minimal training.

Bowdoin College is a distinguished liberal arts college in coastal Brunswick, Maine. Established in 1794, it is praised as a leader in sustainability for taking numerous measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2007, Bowdoin President Barry Mills signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment-a pledge by leaders of 685 colleges and universities to increase sustainability and achieve carbon neutrality at their respective campuses. Bowdoin immediately began working on a strategy to reduce its carbon footprint. The final plan outlined the college's path forward and included the installation of a CHP system which would not only reduce carbon emissions, but also reduce electricity costs and upgrade Bowdoin's century-old district heating system.

Using CHP, Bowdoin College has improved its energy efficiency, increased the reliability of its electricity supply, and reduced carbon pollution. EPA is proud to recognize the outstanding pollution reduction and energy efficiency qualities of this project by presenting Bowdoin College with a 2015 ENERGY STAR CHP Award.

The U.S. EPA's CHP Partnership is a voluntary program that seeks to reduce the environmental impact of power generation by promoting the use of cost-effective CHP. The Partnership works closely with energy users, the CHP industry, state and local governments, and other clean energy stakeholders to facilitate the development of new CHP projects and to promote their environmental and economic benefits.

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