News | May 16, 2019

Bates College Achieves Carbon Neutrality Ahead Of 2020 Goal


Bates College announced today that it has achieved carbon neutrality one year ahead of its own commitment. From its baseline year in 2001, Bates reduced its campus carbon emissions by 95 percent and will account for its remaining footprint through the purchase of carbon offsets.

Out of some 700 U.S. colleges and universities to sign a carbon neutrality pledge in 2007, Bates is one of only seven to date that have reached that goal. Accomplishing neutrality early is a measure of the college’s commitment to environmental sustainability and its leadership in combating climate change.

“This achievement shows Bates at its best,” said President Clayton Spencer. “Our mission statement calls for responsible stewardship of the wider world, and at this point in our history on this planet, there is no higher need than addressing climate change. More important, we have met this goal through shared effort, commitment, and creativity by the entire college community with students leading the way.”

Bates has worked on three fronts to shrink its carbon footprint: reducing energy consumption through efficiency measures; strengthening the culture of sustainability on campus and changing behaviors in concrete ways; and switching to renewable energy sources — specifically, Renewable Fuel Oil (RFO), a wood-derived liquid that serves as the primary fuel for the college’s central heating plant.

Bates is the only U.S. educational institution using RFO for heat, and one of only three U.S. institutions of any kind that heat with the fuel.

Noting the college’s use of RFO, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education ranked Bates fourth in the world for its clean energy program in 2017.

Full information about Bates’ path to carbon neutrality is available here.

About Bates College
Located in Lewiston, Maine, Bates is internationally recognized as a leading college of the liberal arts, attracting 2,000 students from across the U.S. and around the world. Since 1855, Bates has been dedicated to educating the whole person through creative and rigorous scholarship in a collaborative residential community. Committed to opportunity and excellence, Bates has always admitted students without regard to gender, race, religion, or national origin. Cultivating intellectual discovery and informed civic action, Bates prepares leaders sustained by a love of learning and zeal for responsible stewardship of the wider world.

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