The Sustainability Task Force is a group of students, faculty, and staff appointed by President Phil Hanlon ’77 to spend a year identifying institutional targets for conservation, efficiency, and the continued reduction of carbon emissions, as well as environmental targets in other areas. The Task Force will build on progress the College has already made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and work toward a transition to renewable sources of energy to heat campus buildings. Since 2011, Dartmouth has added 300,000 square feet of building space while reducing its consumption of fuel oil by close to one third. This was accomplished in part through an energy conservation program that has installed more efficient equipment, lighting, and recommissioned heating and ventilating systems. In addition, new and renovated spaces are about twice as efficient as the older spaces they replaced. Also under review is the management of food, water, transportation, and waste.
The Dartmouth Organic Farm, run by the Office of Sustainability, is a place where students get their hands dirty while learning about such things as birding, beekeeping, permaculture, maple syrup production, and fish farming. Located three miles north of campus, the farm has about three quarters of an acre in production, with 25 different flowers, herbs, and vegetables ranging from certified organic sweet corn to radishes. Produce from the farm goes to a local food bank and to a summer farmers market inside the Collis Center for Student Involvement and to other locations on campus. The produce is also is harvested and eaten by the students who grow it. The farm is an area for faculty and student projects, including a project to develop solar-powered portable toilets that convert waste into fertilizer.
The Dartmouth Sustainability Project is the home for sustainability innovation by students and faculty. It supports faculty in applied projects, and tackles projects, such as new ways to recycle and bicycle repair. Sustainability efforts have a history at the College, and many have their roots in student projects. In 1988, a group of students in an environmental science class made Dartmouth an early adopter of campus-wide recycling. In 2010, students developed a proposal for a revolving loan fund that drives energy efficiency on campus. Today the sustainability project partners with programs to engage the community in reducing waste, conserving resources, and researching energy production and consumption.
The Dartmouth Energy Program is making progress toward a goal set in 2008: to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30 percent by 2030. The fuel oil and electricity required to power campus buildings make up most of the College’s greenhouse gas emissions. This makes the Dartmouth Energy Program a critical tool in lowering the College’s environmental impact. Equally important is progress toward making existing buildings more energy efficient. New construction (include the forthcoming Irving Institute building) meets high-performance standards. For example, the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center became the first LEED Platinum laboratory building in the U.S.