The University of Maine at Farmington is committed to environmental stewardship. Recently, UMF added biomass to its existing geothermal commitment to further diversity its energy portfolio — a huge step toward the University becoming nearly fossil fuel-free.
As an educational institution, the University of Maine at Farmington is a recognized leader in promoting the sustainable use of the Earth’s resources. UMF demonstrates by its policies and practices that sustainable practices are an integral part of the campus culture.
- The new UMF Biomass Central Heating Plant is the largest single biomass hot water heating plant in Maine
- It heats 83% of the campus with approximately 4,500 tons of hardwood chips per year
- It uses Maine wood chips sourced within a 50-mile radius of the University as its fuel source
- It replaces 390,000 gallons (95%) of the heating oil formerly used to heat buildings on campus
- It decreases the University’s carbon emissions by 4,000 tons per year
- The UMF Biomass Plant was recently featured in College Planning & Management magazine
In addition, beneath the University’s beautiful campus green lies a sophisticated infrastructure of geothermal wells that use the natural passive energy of the earth to help heat many of the campus’s buildings.
Additional geothermal wells in other campus locations also heat the UMF Fitness & Recreation Center and the LEED-Certified Theo Kalikow Education Center — two of the largest facilities on campus.
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a national rating system from the U.S. Green Building Council. It is designed to promote and accelerate the development and implementation of green building practices.
Opened in 2006, the Kalilow Education Center earned UMF’s second LEED Green Building Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Previously, Francis Allen Black Hall, the University’s newest residence hall, received UMF’s first LEED certification.
The University is careful in the management and operations of building and renovating, in reducing pollution and waste, in using appropriate energy resources and materials, and in protecting and incorporating the native environment in campus spaces.
“A Top Green College” 2014
— Princeton Review Guide to 332 Green Colleges
The Princeton Review’s Guide to 332 Green Colleges profiles institutions of higher education in the United States and three in Canada that demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities, and career preparation. It is the only free, comprehensive, annually updated guide that focuses solely on colleges that have demonstrated a notable commitment to sustainability.
Princeton Review evaluates colleges and universities on their environmentally related policies, practices and academic offerings. Specifically, the Princeton Review Green Rating considers:
- Whether students have a campus quality of life that is both healthy and sustainable.
- How environmentally responsible a school’s policies are.
- How well a school is preparing students for employment in the clean energy economy of the 21st century as well as for citizenship in a world now defined by environmental concerns and opportunities.
A 2014-15 “50 Great Affordable Eco-Friendly College”
— Best Choice Schools.com
The University of Maine at Farmington was named a 2014-15 “50 Great Affordable Eco-Friendly College” by Best Choice Schools.com, a noted college search website. It reviewed more than 300 universities across the U.S., and selected just 50 fifty it believes to be the very best eco-friendly schools under $25,000 a year. Best Choice Schools recognized UMF to be among a number of colleges that have proven themselves as dedicated to the idea of sustainable living.
Best Choice Schools.com noted UMF’s two new LEED-certified campus buildings (Frances Allen Black Hall and Education Center). It also mentioned the UMF Sustainable Campus Coalition, a campus orgnization that initiates a number of projects to encourage campus sustainability. The website singled out one popular UMF Sustainable Campus Coalition project — its annual Recycled Sledding Contest, brings students together to create sleds out of recycled materials.
Learning by doing – the UMF Sustainable Campus Coalition
At UMF, students learn about sustainable environmental practices — making environmental benefits apparent to students, faculty, staff and the community. Here, environmental issues are studied throughout the curriculum.
The Sustainable Campus Coalition, an organization of students, faculty, staff and community members, actively promotes environmental sustainability on campus and in the area community.
The mission of the Sustainable Campus Coalition has broadened to include public education, collaborations with community organizations, municipalities and schools, assessment and mitigation planning associated with greenhouse gas emissions, improvement of recycling on campus, development of a campus organic garden and orchard, encouragement of local food and institutional composting, and reduction of automobile idling.
Goals of the Sustainable Campus Coalition:
- To reduce the environmental impact of the campus
- To educate ourselves, the campus, and the community about environmental sustainability in order to encourage everyone to reduce their impact
- To promote collaboration, camaraderie and a bond among students, faculty, staff and the community
- To have fun pursuing the first three goals.