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MHC Receives EPA Award February 9

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 idle.

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 Room.

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 170-year history.

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.

Center for the Environment
Talcott Greenhouse South
50 College Street
Mount Holyoke College
South Hadley, MA 01075
Phone: 413-538-3091

Copyright © 2006 Mount Holyoke College. This page created and maintained by Center for the Environment. Last modified on April 16, 2006.