MHC Receives EPA Award
Student-owned computers at Mount Holyoke are now powered by clean
wind-generated energy. The green power is being purchased to celebrate
and reward participation in the Million Monitor Drive, which resulted
in more than 1,300 students pledging to let their computers "sleep" when
Members of MHC's Million Monitor Drive Coalition will be honored
for their achievements and presented with a certificate from the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at the President's Community
Breakfast February 9 at 8 am in Blanchard Campus Center's Great
Representatives of the EPA will be on hand, along with energy
manager Todd Holland and director of facilities management John
Bryant, to present the award to President Joanne V. Creighton and
Environmental Action Coalition (EAC) cochairs Tracy Zhu '08 and
Emily Wheeler '08.
As an incentive for student participation MHC agreed to purchase
210,000 kilowatt-hours of wind-powered renewable energy certificates
(RECs), also called green tags, through the Massachusetts Renewable
Energy Purchasers consortium, if the students met their MMD participation
goal. This zero-emissions wind energy is enough to power all the
MHC student computers, or light 170 average homes, for a year.
"This is an example of how a coalition of campus groups and
offices, as well as individual student action, can make a huge
difference in campuswide energy conservation and energy policy
decisions," said Wheeler and Zhu, the leaders of the student
Million Monitor Drive campaign that led to the historic award.
This is the first purchase of renewable energy in the College's
Mount Holyoke, by making this joint purchase with Smith and Amherst,
joins other Massachusetts colleges and universities including Harvard,
UMass Lowell, and Williams in purchasing electricity generated
from renewable resources. "I am very impressed with the students'
commitment and initiative, demonstrating that simply not using
energy in the first place is often the greenest thing you can do," said
director of facilities management John Bryant.
Making the green energy purchase contingent upon participation
in the Million Monitor Drive demonstrates an important fact: The
environmental benefits from reducing the energy used by idle computers
actually outweigh those from the green energy purchase. By enabling "sleep
mode," the students will offset 200 tons per year of carbon
dioxide, a greenhouse gas. Running all the computers on wind-generated
renewable energy will save another 150 tons. The total carbon reductions
are equivalent to planting 94 acres of trees, according to figures
from the EPA.
Members of MHC's Million Monitor Drive Coalition are the Center
for the Environment, the Environmental Action Coalition (EAC),
Facilities Management, LITS, and Safety and Environmental Affairs.