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Clean Energy in Our Community: Allegheny College and Meadville, Pennsylvania

September 20, 2012 - 1:32pm


Find out how a school of 2,100 students is changing their local economy.

In the third edition of DOE’s “Clean Energy in Our Community” video series, Allegheny College shows us that size doesn’t matter. Even with only 2,100 undergraduate students, Allegheny is successfully incorporating sustainability into its culture, operations, and curriculum – helping to grow the local green energy economy both on and off its Meadville, Pennsylvania, campus.

By working with students, faculty, staff, and local partners, the campus has created a composting facility that processes between 800 – 900 pounds of food, compostable paper, and plastic each day. The result is a soil-like, nutrient-rich material that helps to replenish the campus’s lawns, gardens, and flowerbeds without using chemical fertilizers.

The campus is well on its way to achieve its goal of climate neutrality by 2020. Earlier this year, Allegheny committed to purchasing 100 percent of its electricity from wind generated sources, a change that immediately eliminated over 50 percent of the institution’s carbon footprint. Through investments in energy audits and campus-wide energy retrofits, the campus is using Energy Star appliances and EPEAT certified computers to increase energy efficiency. In addition, all new construction on campus building will be LEED certified Silver, and historic buildings are in the process of becoming LEED certified.

Allegheny isn’t just focused on its campus. Staff and students engage in innovative approaches to economic and environmental development for the local city of Meadville, Pennsylvania. Students go into the local community to help save the city $10,000 annually by collecting food grease to create biodiesel for fleet trucks. But they’re not stopping there – they’re helping to create a full clean energy economy in Meadville.

Through Creek Connections, local public school students get hands-on field and laboratory experience in their natural science classes. PA Home Energy – a former Allegheny and Meadville project that has grown into a statewide independent program – helps Pennsylvania consumers reduce their home energy use by focusing on green home design. And students and faculty are partnering with a local wind manufacturer as part of a wind feasibility study.

Watch our video to learn more about Allegheny’s commitment to creating a local clean energy economy. And be sure to stay tuned for more “Clean Energy in Our Community” videos.