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Middlebury Signs White House Climate Pledge

November 20, 2015

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Joining more than 200 colleges and universities across the country, Middlebury signed the American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge, an effort announced by the White House as part of the November 19 White House and Higher Education Climate Day of Action. The White House event was an opportunity for higher education institutions to demonstrate support for strong climate action by world leaders at the Climate Change Conference in Paris from November 30-December 11.

Middlebury and the other institutions that signed the pledge have already taken significant steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase campus sustainability and resilience, and incorporate environmental action into academic curriculum. More than 100 of the schools that signed the pledge have also set goals to become carbon neutral within the next few decades. Middlebury’s plan is to achieve this goal by 2016.

Below is Middlebury’s pledge, which was signed by President Laurie Patton and sent to the White House November 10. 

For more information on Middlebury’s sustainability efforts, visit

White House American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge

Middlebury College Pledge  

Middlebury College applauds the monumental progress already made to promote clean energy and climate action as we seek a comprehensive, ambitious agreement at the upcoming United Nations Climate Negotiations in Paris. Although we are optimistic that world leaders will reach an agreement to secure a transition to a low-carbon future, we recognize the urgent need to act now if we are to avoid irreversible costs to global economic prosperity and public health. Today, our institution reaffirms its commitment to accelerate the transition to low-carbon energy while enhancing sustainable and resilient practices across our campuses.   

We put forth our pledge as follows.

Middlebury College has already:

• Pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2016. As of today we have reduced our emissions of greenhouse gases 50 percent from our 2007 baseline of 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents and are on track to achieve 100 percent neutrality by the end of 2016.

• Signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment to achieve carbon neutrality and to integrate climate change and resilience into our curriculum, research and campus operations.

• Constructed a $12 million biomass gasification combined heat and power system for the campus, which uses local, renewable wood chips sourced within 75 miles.

• Partnered with local developers to install solar farms on and off campus, which currently provide 5 percent of the electricity used on campus.

• Invested $1.14 million in efficiency projects over ten years that have reduced demand for electricity by 3.4 million kWh/year. 

• Competed twice in the US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon competition with student-led projects to design, build, operate and occupy single-family residential homes that operate solely on solar electricity and heat, finishing in 4th and 8th places. These homes now serve as student residences with a mission to demonstrate and educate the greater community of the benefits of solar energy. 

Building on our existing renewable energy actions and progress, we further commit to:

• Displace our remaining use of fuel oil (approximately 650,00 gallons per year) with carbon-neutral biomethane gas from a manure digester on a nearby dairy farm.

• Continue exploring ways to add new sources of renewable, carbon-neutral electricity sources to power the campus.

On behalf of Middlebury College this 10th day of November, 2015:

Laurie L. Patton, President

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