The Green Fund
In 2007, in a student-initiated ballot, 82% of the student population voted for the adoption of a Green Fund, which requires each Centre student to pay a $20 surcharge on tuition that goes toward purchasing renewable energy credits from the local Mother Ann Lee Hydroelectric Station. This endeavor was unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees in fall 2008 and was implemented in fall 2009. Centre is the first educational institution in Kentucky to support the local production of green energy.
How does it work?
Centre buys 345 blocks of renewable energy credits per month at $6.50 per block. The College purchases directly from Soft Energy Associates, the owners and operators of the Mother Ann Lee hydroelectric station. Revenue generated from the sale of the RECS to Centre helps Soft Energy Associates maintain the generating station, and the RECs help Centre reduce its carbon footprint by supporting clean energy with no associated carbon emissions.
For the 2011-12 academic year, Centre has contracted to purchase 4,140 RECs, which is equivalent to 4,140,000 kwh of electricity. This will represent approximately 30 percent of the College’s anticipated use.
About Mother Ann Lee
The local Mother Ann Lee Hydroelectric Station is a 2,040 kwh run-of-river hydropower plant located at Lock and Dam 7 on the Kentucky River in Shakertown, Kentucky, just a few miles from Centre’s campus in Danville. The project is one of only a few dozen hydropower plants nationally to have received “Low Impact” certification from the Low Impact Hydro Institute. Visit the Hydroelectric Station’s website for more information about its origins and current initiatives.
Current Sustainability Practices
• Each year Centre pursues energy efficiency rebates from its electricity provider in order to deepen the financial savings the College reaps when it invests in energy efficient equipment.
• Centre currently uses Circon, a state-of-the-art energy management system, in 90% of all campus facilities to allow technicians to read and control the temperature in any building, as well as set schedules that reduce energy use.
• 75% of windows on campus are dual pane, which reduces heating and cooling waste. This percentage is rising consistently.
• All cooling systems on campus have been replaced by low-energy systems.
• All chillers on campus use CFC-free refrigerants. In addition, fountains on campus are winterized with biodegradable antifreeze, which can be more difficult to acquire but is much less destructive to the environment.
• The College is currently looking into replacing several standard light fixtures on campus with LED (light-emitting diode) Can Retro Fit lights, which use only 14 watts but produce the same lumens as a 150-watt bulb. Each LED unit would last 20 years.
• Each winter break, Centre reduces the temperature of the swimming pool in Boles Natatorium from 85 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit and cuts the temperature of boilers in buildings back from 180 degrees, where applicable. Savings to the campus in energy use are valued at $8,000 over the three-week period.
• Facilities Management and Public Safety have replaced many gas-powered vehicles with electric golf carts.
• When toilets need to be replaced, it’s with models that use half the amount of water per flush.
• Mineral spirits, used to clean paintbrushes during annual touch-ups and new painting in campus buildings, are reused through a basic filtering process. A 55-gallon drum of mineral spirits will last two years before being disposed of using the proper agents.
• The Air Travel Mitigation Fund allows students and faculty to purchase carbon offsets, contributing money toward carbon-reducing initiatives that counterbalance emissions that cannot be reduced or avoided (such as those generated via plane rides to study-abroad locations). Students studying abroad are asked to contribute varying amounts based on the air miles they travel.
•Since 2003, the College has had a full-time Recycling Coordinator who organizes campus recycling pick up and promotional activities. There are containers for community members to recycle aluminum, cardboard, paper, and steel cans on campus. We recycle glass in the LEED buildings and 1 and 2 bottleneck plastic.