FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington has been named a Green College, once again, by the Princeton Review in the 2024 edition of its annual Guide to Green Colleges. The Guide is a resource that has been published since 2010 for college applicants wanting to attend schools that foster a culture of environmental responsibility.
According to the Princeton Review, the schools that were selected for the Guide to Green Colleges all have exceptional programs, policies, and practices related to sustainability and the environment. The Guide features profiles of 522 schools.
“Environmental sustainability is woven into the fabric of Farmington, a leader in the region and an early adopter of energy saving practices including recycling, renewable energy, and academic programs in earth and environmental science. We are proud to be recognized by the Princeton Review for our dedication to an environmentally sustainable future,” said Joseph McDonnell, UMF president.
UMF’s formal commitment to environmental sustainability began with the creation of the UMF Sustainable Campus Coalition in 2001. It’s Green Vision Statement in 2006 provided the foundation for sustainable practices to be an integral part of campus management leading to the construction of several LEED certified campus buildings, signage of the American Colleges and Universities Presidents’ Climate Commitment, and recognition by the U.S. House of Representatives for UMF’s efforts in making a clean energy campus a reality.
In 2016, UMF completed a biomass heating plant that burns locally sourced wood chips to heat close to 85 percent of the campus with renewable biomass. The UMF heating plant is projected to recoup construction costs through energy savings in the first 10 years of operation and is reducing the University’s carbon emissions by 4,000 tons per year.
A second biomass boiler was added to the UMF Biomass Plant this summer to heat campus hot water during the warmer months in late spring, summer and early fall. Both units will continue to use locally sourced Maine wood chips in place of fossil fuel and in support of the local economy.
UMF also entered into a contract with Trane, a leader in energy solutions, and its Energy Savings Performance program to increase the energy efficiency of campus facilities and lower campus operating costs.
The 18-month, $11 million energy project is being financed and paid back with energy savings and rebates generated by a series of sustainability-focused campus upgrades. Those upgrades will help the University achieve a 97 percent free-from-fossil-fuel target and are estimated to save the University $400,000 every year beginning in 2024.