Middlebury

National Wildlife Federation honors Middlebury for carbon reduction efforts

April 16, 2009


The following news release was issued by the National Wildlife Federation on April 15.

Middlebury Wins National Award for Campus Innovations to Curb Effects of Global Warming

WASHINGTON (April 15) - Middlebury College in Vermont has been honored by National Wildlife Federation as a winner in the annual competition Chill Out: Campus Solutions to Global Warming. This award program honors U.S. schools that are advancing creative solutions to global warming on their campuses. Middlebury is one of eight winning schools that were chosen from a national pool of entries.

As a result of student activism, Middlebury College set an ambitious goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2016. The campus chose to reduce its carbon footprint by building a biomass gasification plant fueled by local, sustainably-harvested woodchips. Projections show that the new plant will pay for itself about halfway through its 25 year life expectancy.

"Every one of our Chill Out winners deserves an Oscar for the example they have set," says Julian Keniry, Director of Campus and Community Leadership for the National Wildlife Federation. "Campuses nationwide are demonstrating that we can combat global warming, protect habitat, and save money at the same time. These campuses are actually doing what the science says should be done to reduce the threat of global warming."

The prestigious award was given to Middlebury for its efforts to address climate change by implementing exciting real-world solutions toward carbon neutrality. The school's new biomass plant will help the campus cut its carbon dioxide output by 40 percent, and reduce fuel oil use by 50 percent. The plant will use 20,000 tons of chips per year, and Middlebury has worked to source chips from local suppliers within a 75-mile radius.

With brightly colored machinery and a glass curtain-wall covering the entire front of the building,
the biomass gasification plant is uniquely designed to attract the attention of a campus audience and to allow people to view how woodchips become energy for the campus.

Other winning schools in the contest include: California State University Chancellor's Office, California State University Northridge, Humboldt State University (Arcata, CA), Massachusetts Maritime Academy (Buzzards Bay, MA), Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH), Longwood University (Farmville, VA), and the University of California, San Diego.

Young adults across the nation are speaking out about the need for greenhouse gas reductions, and Chill Out is the third event this school year that demonstrates how they are making their voices heard. The National Teach In, held on February 5, 2009, engaged campus and community members at 750 colleges and universities around the country in a teach-in on global warming solutions. This event brought members of Congress face-to-face via video conferencing with their constituents to discuss global warming solutions. National Wildlife Federation is also a member of the coalition behind PowerShift, the youth-led movement that brought 12,000 young activists to Washington, D.C to express their message of bold, comprehensive and immediate federal climate action to Capitol Hill.

For all these impressive efforts, National Wildlife Federation will feature the winning colleges in the Chill Out: Campus Solutions to Global Warming webcast on April 15. The colleges will also receive a monetary award from the National Wildlife Federation to continue exploring innovating global warming solutions. The 2009 Chill Out campaign was shot by world-renowned cinematographer Eric Adkins (Sky Captain & The World Of Tomorrow), directed by Melissa Balin (Green Means Go), and produced by Melinda Esquibel of Mundo Maravilla, Carey Stanton of National Wildlife Federation, and Balin.

The webcast is a low footprint production, going well beyond the industry's sustainable filmmaking guidelines, and has been recognized by the Environmental Media Association's Green Seal Program for using the film industry's best environmental practices. The production used the Red Camera - a 4K camera system that is filmless and tapeless, cabling directly into a hard drive, eliminating wasted film, tape, and chemicals. The lighting was Lite Panels' LED system, and the lights and production were powered by solar energy thanks to a solar generator provided by Pure Power Distribution and a portable solar-capturing tent from FTL Solar. Even the teleprompters were made from recycled materials! Campuses around the country are encouraged to host events on their campuses to watch the green webcast. The program will be part of Earth Day-related events scheduled on more than 175 college campuses.

Visit www.campuschillout.org to register for and view the free webcast.

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